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Pork carnitas in a teal bowl with pico de gallo.
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5 from 1 vote

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas has juicy, flavorful meat that gets seasoned with an easy homemade rub before slow cooking to delicious tender perfection! Tuck the finished meat inside tortillas and pile on the toppings to create incredible Pork Tacos that everyone will love!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Mexican Inspired
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 382kcal


  • Slow Cooker
  • Cutting board
  • Skillet



  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together brown sugar, ground cumin, oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. Stir in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Pat the roast with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Rub the seasoning mix all over the pork butt, then place it in the slow cooker, fat on top.
  • Deseed and slice up the jalapeno pepper. Dice the onion. Add them to the slow cooker on and around the roast.
  • Halve the orange and lime and squeeze the juices over the roast, add the juiced halves to the slow cooker.
  • Slow cook the roast on high for 8 hours.
  • Remove the roast from the pot and place it onto a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Then shred using meat shredders or 2 forks.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over high heat.
  • Caramelize the pork by frying it (in batches- so as not to crowd the meat). Place about ¼ of the shredded pork and about ¼ cup of the juices from the crockpot in the skillet. Press the meat onto the bottom and allow it to sear. Continue this until all of the meat has been seared until slightly crisp.
  • Place the seared meat into your serving container. Serve the meat drizzled with some of the remaining juices from the crockpot if desired.


  • How To Store: Carnitas can be stored for 3 to 4 days when kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also store the meat in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Do I Have To Sear The Meat After It’s Cooked In The Crockpot? I personally wouldn’t skip this step as searing the meat in a pan makes a huge difference in the flavoring of the meat. Since it’s traditional practice when making carnitas, not doing it makes it just pulled pork.
  • Can I Use A Pork Loin Instead Of A Pork Butt Roast? No, pulled pork requires a cut of meat with higher fat content. Pork loin is too lean but you could try using a pork shoulder.
  • Does It Matter If I Use A Bone-In Or Boneless Roast? Not at all, either one will work just fine in this recipe!
  • Should I Brown The Meat Before Putting It Into The Slow Cooker? If you’d like to you certainly can, however, I find that if you sear the meat in a skillet after shredding it you get a really nice crisp to the meat. Making it so you really don’t need to brown the meat ahead of time.


Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 733mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 4mg