Authentic Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker Recipe – “Tender Mexican” – Easy To Make!

Today I want to share a shredded meat recipe from Mexico, slow-cooked pork carnitas. When we were traveling through Mexico tender shredded pork carnitas was one of my favorites to buy from the street markets pulled fresh from the cooker.

Typically there would be a large pot of pork carnitas meat next to a grill. When a customer ordered a pork taco, the cook would scoop the most delicious shredded pulled pork meat from the pot and place it on a hot grill.

Crispy Pork Carnitas

Cooking on the grill would create delicious crispy bits of pork and give the meat a slightly smoky flavor.

Mexican Pork Carnitas Shredded
Mexican Pork Carnitas Shredded

When the shredded pork was sufficiently browned it was placed between two soft tortilla’s. We would then be able to add our own sauces from the salsa bar.

Even the most humble street vendor had an impressive range of sauces.  We found eating from these stalls a real learning experience.

What To Do With Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas is a very versatile recipe, you can add the shredded meat to:

  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Serve in a bowl with lime or lemon and sour cream
  • Non traditionally ad to bread rolls
  • Sandwiches
  • Top an omelet
  • Experiment
  • Cover with a variety of sauces

By trial and error, we discovered that the tomatillo salsa verde was usually slightly milder than the red sauces and perfect for our taste buds over our pulled pork carnitas.

Mexico Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Mexico Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Even with our friend’s local knowledge we never quite knew how hot each of the homemade salsa’s would be.

I’m sure the locals loved seeing tourists add too much hot sauce to their pork carnitas, and then turn red in the face, whilst gasping for breath.

Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas on a plate
Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas

If there is one thing I enjoy more than eating local food when I’m on holidays it’s learning to cook local food.

The recipe for slow cooker pork carnitas (or Mexican shredded pork) I’m sharing today is one that I brought back from Mexico.

It’s really simple and the use of a slow cooker means that it requires no input or attention during the cooking time.

Ingredients For Authentic Mexican Pork Carnitas

  • 2.5 kg pork shoulder bone removed rindless
  • 1 whole onion chopped
  • 3 whole red chili I like birds eye – hot chili but you can use large mild chilies
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 whole oranges juiced
  • 1¼ tbsp table salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Rub
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin

The ingredients for your pork carnitas recipe is readily available from most stores no matter where you are in the world.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

 

How To Make Authentic Mexican Pork Carnitas In The Slow Cooker

  1. Rub
  2. Combine the cumin and oregano for the meat rub
  3. Wash the pork shoulder
  4. Rub the pork all over with the rub
  5. Put the meat into a large slow cooker with the fat side up. The fat will flow through the meat as it cooks
  6. Add the onion, chili, garlic, salt pepper and orange juice to the slow cooker
  7. Set the slow cooker for 9 to 10 hours on low
  8. When the meat is tender and can be pulled into stands, it’s ready
  9. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and reserve the juice
  10. Shred the pork with two forks. Put the meat aside while you make the sauce
  11. Sauce
  12. Place the cooking liquid in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil
  13. Stir occasionally as you reduce the liquid to a sauce
  14. Serve
  15. This recipe makes a lot of Pork Carnitas. I usually split the meat in half. Half I pack away for another meal. The over half gets crisped up ready to be served
  16. Add oil to a heavy-based frying pan
  17. Add enough pulled pork to cover the base of the pan
  18. Cook without turning the meat until the bottom is crisp
  19. Remove the pork from the pan and serve dressed with some of the sauce. I only ever pan fry the pork we are eating at the current meal. I want to keep it moist and delicious
How To Make Slow Cooked Mexican Pork Carnitas
How To Make Slow Cooked Mexican Pork Carnitas

To make the process even easier prep the pork carnitas the night before and refrigerate.  

Next morning all that’s left for you to do is put the dish into the slow cooker and turn it on before you leave for work.

When you get home you will be greeted with the most amazing food aroma’s form your delicious Mexican pork carnitas.

Pork Carnitas Plate

Authentic Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker Recipe - "Tender Mexican" - Easy To Make!

Slow cooked Pork Carnitas is an authentic "Mexican Pulled Pork" recipe. They taste exactly the same as a market stall in Mexico! 
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 269kcal
Author: Julie

Ingredients

  • 2.5 kg pork shoulder bone removed rindless
  • 1 whole onion chopped
  • 3 whole red chilli I like birds eye - hot chilli but you can use large mild chillies
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 whole oranges juiced
  • tbsp table salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Rub

Instructions

Rub

  • Combine the cumin and oregano for the meat rub
  • Wash the pork shoulder
  • Rub the pork all over with the rub
  • Put the meat into a large slow cooker with the fat side up. The fat will flow through the meat as it cooks
  • Add the onion, chili, garlic, salt pepper and orange juice to the slow cooker
  • Set the slow cooker for 9 to 10 hours on low
  • When the meat is tender and can be pulled into stands it's ready
  • Remove the meat from the slow cooker and reserve the juice
  • Shred the pork with two forks. Put the meat side whilst you make the sauce.

Sauce

  • Place the cooking liquid in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil
  • Stir occasionally as you reduce the liquid to a sauce

Serve

  • This recipe makes a lot of Pork Carnitas. I usually split the meat in half. Half I pack away for another meal. The over half gets crisped up ready to be served
  • Add oil to a frying pan
  • Add enough pulled pork to cover the base of the pan.
  • Cook without turning the meat until the bottom is crisp
  • Remove the meat from the pan and serve dressed with some of the sauce
  • I only ever pan fry the meat we are eating at the current meal. I want to keep it moist and delicious

Nutrition

Serving: 250g | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 988mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 0.3% | Vitamin C: 2.6% | Calcium: 2.7% | Iron: 12%

I usually serve the pork carnitas with homemade soft corn tortillas. If you’re in a rush, you could always use store bought tortilla’s.  I find tortilla making very therapeutic. 

Mexican Tortilla
Mexican Tortilla

While you’re at the shops buy a “dry slaw” add lime juice and fresh coriander (cilantro) for a fresh salad to accompany the pork carnitas.

Then if you want the meal to be extra special, whip up my 5 minutes Mexican Guacamole.

The combination of flavors such as lime, coriander, and citrus gives a very fresh Mexican feel to the shredded pork. It could easily be served in Summer or Winter.

Until I can return to Mexico, I will have to be satisfied with making these pork carnitas myself. I will continue to dream about watching the carnitas meat cooking at the street market. I loved smelling that rich meaty aroma, and trying to make a wise salsa choice!

Mexican Pork Carnitas Recipe
Mexican Pork Carnitas Recipe

Make sure you pin this Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe for when you next crave a pulled or shredded Mexican meat feast.

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