As simple as Crockpot Pork Carnitas seems, you will not believe how much flavor it has!
I made this on a Sunday, with intentions of using it for Pork Carnitas Sheet Pan Nachos for dinner the next day.
(I plan ahead for weeknight meals so I don’t turn into psycho mom trying to do too much)
Seriously my husband and I could NOT stop eating it plain, and we kept going back for more even after I put it in the fridge.
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Even though it’s not the traditional way of preparing this Mexican dish, it is very simple and VERY flavorful.
Fun Fact: Carnitas by definition means “little meats”, it’s traditionally prepared by simmering pork in lard or oil and then shredded to be used in tacos or burritos.
How to Make Crockpot Pork Carnitas
I am not about to simmer anything in lard or oil, so I used beer instead.
I cut a 4 pound pork loin into large chunks (I think I had 6 total) and placed them in my crock pot.
Juice of one lime and one orange (I just threw in the wedges that I squeezed for extra flavor), garlic, onions, bay leaves, along with my seasonings.
I put a good amount of each: chili powder, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, kosher salt and pepper.
About half a can of beer and just turn the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.
You want to talk about the most amazing smell…THIS!
Oh. My. Gosh.
They really should make a scented Pork Carnitas candle or something because I would make this again just to smell it!
Do NOT skip this next part…it’s what makes the carnitas caramelized and crispy.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
With a pair of kitchen tongs or two forks carefully take just the pork out of the crockpot and place on the baking sheet.
Don’t throw away the liquid, we will be using that shortly.
With the tongs or forks, shred the pork and lay it evenly on the baking sheet.
It falls right apart.
Spoon about half of the liquid in the crockpot over top of the pork.
The onions, orange, and lime wedges you won’t use, just the liquid.
Place in an oven with the broiler turned on high, but on the middle rack.
Cook 5-7 minutes, remove the baking sheet, toss the pork around, and put the other half of the cooking liquid from the crock pot.
Back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until they are perfectly golden brown and caramelized like this!
This Crockpot Pork Carnitas taco is given a BIG thumbs up by my sweet nephew!
Try these recipes too…
and Pork Carnitas Nachos!
Crockpot Pork Carnitas
A nontraditional, but very easy and delicious way of preparing pork carnitas!
- 3-4 pound pork loin
- 1 orange
- 1 lime
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp each chili powder, paprika, and cumin
- kosher salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 can beer
Cut pork loin into 6-8 large pieces and place in crock pot. Cut orange and lime into 6 wedges, squeeze the juice of each over the pork and place the wedge into the crock pot over the pork. Peel onion, cut into large pieces and place over the pork. Add garlic, bay leaves, chili powder, paprika, cumin, kosher salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Pour half a can of beer into the crock pot, turn on low for 6-8 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. With tongs or two forks carefully place just the pork pieces on the baking sheet. Shred the pork and spread evenly on the baking sheet.
Spoon about half of the liquid in the crock pot over top of the pork (not the onions, orange, and lime wedges…just the liquid). Place in the oven on the middle rack and turn the broiler on high for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet, toss the pork around, spoon the rest of the cooking liquid on top and back into the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more chili powder, paprika, cumin, kosher salt, pepper, and/or crushed red pepper flakes if needed.
Serve as is, or use as a filling for tacos, burritos, or for nachos.