Favorite things in life, in order:
And one thing that has been known to elevate the tacos in my life is juicy, tender, savory, fall-apart pork that is both massively flavorful (garlic, spices, and just a hint of tangy lime) and juuust browned and crispy enough to keep me snacking on little bites of it while prepping my taco ingredients.
Yes, you know it. We’re talking about crockpot carnitas.
In my life, I give bonus points to any recipe that is idiot-proof easy to make and can be popped in the slow cooker or Instant Pot to cook while you manage your normal life things. More bonus points for recipes that can be frozen, prepped ahead, or kept easily as leftovers. And let’s just say that this carnitas recipe is racking up the bonus points right now.
Are you so into this right now? I AM SO INTO THIS.
This recipe is absolutely my go-to for “entertaining” aka “hey you guys should come over and watch the game and we’ll eat something yummy while sitting on the couch.”
You can prep all your beautiful extras (guacamole, fresh cilantro and lime, sour cream, cotija cheese, radish, red onion, tortillas, pico de gallo) in advance, and maybe even run a few errands (oops, forgot the drinks, and the dog could probably use a walk, and have I showered yet today?), all while the meat does its delicious thing, needing no supervision whatsoever.
When it’s time for friends to arrive, you shred that meat, you brown it up under a broiler (THIS IS ESSENTIAL DO NOT SKIP), and you plate it up nice and pretty and let everyone compliment you for this delicious, juicy, colorful spread.
Juicy, tender, saucy and simultaneously crispy carnitas. Truly a thing of beauty.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE OUR CROCKPOT CARNITAS (1 MIN):
These easy crockpot carnitas are simple enough for anyone to make! Broiling them just before serving gives a browned, crispy crust to the meat. SO good!
- 4–5 lbs. pork shoulder
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (optional)
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 12 ounces beer (a standard lager works great for this!)
- 1/2 cup salsa (I like to use a less chunky one)
- Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Roughly chop the garlic and place in the slow cooker (I actually kind of rubbed it onto the meat to get as much garlic flavor as possible, but you could just toss it in, too).
- Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork.
- Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Shred meat with two forks directly in the slow cooker (or take out, shred, and replace in sauce). It should fall apart easily.
- Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.
- Serve on tortillas with fresh cilantro, avocado, and lime juice.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican
Want to make these in the Instant Pot? Follow the video below!