Home Pork Recipes Carnitas Recipe: Authentic The Best Pulled Pork Carnitas Tacos
Pork Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Recipe: Authentic The Best Pulled Pork Carnitas Tacos

by Helen
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Slow Cooker Authentic Mexican Carnitas Recipe

For the best pork carnitas, brown them in a skillet in their juices and make a carnitas taco.  Also, browning the Pork Carnitas is what makes them delicious.  Therefore, be sure not to skip the browning of the Pork Carnitas recipe!  Furthermore, this is the key to making the best Pork Carnitas you will have.  Traditionally, the best Pork Carnitas are made by marinating pork carnitas meat in fresh orange juice and deep-fried in lard. I'd say not so healthy.

I love the flavor of carnitas!  The juicy and tender pork, seasoned perfectly with spices and citrus, is my favorite.  I love to pile it high on a warm tortilla with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.  It's the perfect meal for any occasion and always a crowd-pleaser.  Whether you're hosting a party or looking for a delicious dinner, carnitas can't go wrong.  

Cooking once and eating all week is a great way to save time and money while still enjoying delicious and nutritious meals. By planning ahead and prepping ingredients in advance, you can easily create various dishes that the whole family can enjoy throughout the week. Whether you're looking to meal prep for work or want to streamline your cooking routine, this strategy is definitely worth trying. So why not give it a shot and see how much easier and more enjoyable mealtime can be with some planning and preparation?

What Makes These The Best Carnitas?

These pork carnitas are just as good as the traditional carnitas I grew up eating, and that's hard to find.  If you think you've had excellent carnitas before but haven't tried browning them in a skillet, this will change how you cook carnitas from now on.  Slow-cooked pork butt becomes moist and shreds quickly.  I like preparing food in my slow cooker because I can cook large meals for meal prepping, and I don't have to stand there while cooking.  I try to buy organic, grass-fed, and free-range proteins as they are healthier without added hormones.  

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What to serve with Pork Carnitas

When I think of the best Pork Carnitas, I think of Tacos de Carnitas (Pork Carnitas Tacos) with pico de gallo, Mexican rice, and homemade pinto beans.  Additionally, this Pull Pork is so good and juicy you can use them to make Chiles Rellenos (stuffed peppers), Sliders, Burritos, and Enchiladas.   

Cooking for Meal Prepping Or Cooking Once Eat All Week

  • Freeze and maintain quality.
  • Place your pork in a stasher bag, freeze it, and eat later.

How to Make Pulled Pork Tacos Carnitas Recipe

These pork carnitas are a flavourful, juicy, and crisp combination. 

The Secret To Making These The Best Slow Cooker Carnitas (Slow Cooker Pork) is to fry the carnitas just enough until the ends get a little crispy.  For some reason, frying the pulled pork carnitas gives it a good flavor.

Pan-frying will give you golden bits that make this recipe the best.  For an authentic meal, feed them warm corn tortillas and make carnitas tacos.  Read my review of FarmFoods MarketIt is slow-cooked pork butt that you can make into different meals.  Use pork shoulder meat for carnitas; it can be bone-in or boneless.


  • 4 lb pork shoulder meat (pork butt from Farm Foods Market) or skinless, boneless 5lb bone-in (Buy Here)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (2 oranges)


  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder


  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the Rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
  3. Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, minced garlic (don't worry about spreading it), and squeeze over the juice of the oranges.
  4. Slow Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 7 hours or 12 hours on low. 
  5. The pork should be tender enough to shred. Remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred using two forks.
  6. Optional: Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard.

When done cooking your carnitas, if you have a lot more than 2 cups of juice, then reduce it down to about 2 cups. The liquid will be for the pork. Set liquid aside – don't bother straining onion, etc, it's super soft.

Best Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker
Best Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker

To Crisp And Add More Flavor

  • In a large stainless steel skillet or well-seasoned cast iron skille over high heat.  Spread pulled pork carnitas in the pan and drizzle over some juices.  Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom is golden brown and crusty.  Turn and briefly sear the other side – you don't want to make it brown all over because it's too crispy and needs tender, juicy bits.
  • Remove pork from the skillet.  Repeat in batches (it takes me four batches) – don't crowd the pan.

Recipe Notes:

  1. The Pork: Use pork with the skin removed but leave some fat caps on.  The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas – and excess fat can be skimmed off later.
  2. Taco Fixings: Diced avocado or authentic Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Restaurant Style Salsa, sliced tomato, grated cheese, or sour cream.
  3. Other Ways to use Carnitas: Burritos (switch for the beef), Make slow cooked pork sliders instead of tacos.  Skip the crisping step and add some barbeque sauce.
  4. Freeze the pork carnitas meat in a stasher bag and freeze the juice separately.  Pour the liquid over the carnitas pork meat to rewarm and warm it in a stainless steel pan.

If you liked this recipe, try the Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions and Apples Recipe

I love carnitas, especially when paired with some delicious sides! Some of my favorite options include black beans or pinto beans, rice, and avocado. I also enjoy some fresh salsa and a side of chips for a little crunch. If I'm hungry, I may add some roasted vegetables or a salad. The possibilities are endless for creating the perfect meal with carnitas sides. What are your go-to options for pairing with carnitas?

Credit: RecipeTinEats

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