Slow Cooker Carnitas

Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine originating from the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender.

Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 4 hrs | Servings: 12


4 lbs pork butt roast
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and cut into eighths
1 cup orange juice
1 lime, juiced
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed or minced
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp regular chili powder
1 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Using a paper towel, oil the bottom of a large slow cooker. 
  2. Add orange juice, juice of 1 lime and next 7 ingredients to slow cooker and stir to mix.  Cut the pork into large chunks removing any bone or large sections of fat and place inside the slow cooker. Then add onion chunks and try to submerge all pork chunks and onion pieces.
  3. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high for 4-5 hours. Once the pork is fork-tender, use 2 forks to shred the meat.  use a slotted spoon to remove onion pieces and add shredded pork back into the juices.  Cook on high for an additional 1 hour.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the meat out of the juices and spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet(s). Place on the upper oven rack and broil for 5-8 minutes, until darker crispy edges form. Watch closely as broiling times vary and you can burn the carnitas quickly. Serve over rice as a burrito bowl, in a tortilla or in a taco.


12, 6-oz servings


Adapted from recipe by A Spicy Perspective

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