Pork carnitas are Mexico’s version of pulled pork and they’re absolutely delicious! They are made from pork shoulder that has been seasoned with some simple spices, slow cooked, shredded and crisped up just before serving.
Crispy pork carnitas (slow cooker Mexican pulled pork)
Carnitas are really versatile. You can use them to fill tacos, stuff burritos, add to nachos or even use as a salad topping. We love them in nachos with a simple tomato and raw onion salsa and a drizzle of mojo verde.
How to make crispy pork carnitas
Traditionally, carnitas are made by slow cooking pork submerged in lard – a pork confit if you will. You’ll be glad to hear this recipe doesn’t use any lard and you can still achieve gorgeous crispy pork carnitas without it.
We use coke in this recipe which tenderises the pork along with the lime and orange juice. You basically pop all the ingredients in a slow cooker, kickback, relax and wait for your succulent pulled pork to become tender, juicy and full of flavour. Don’t worry if you don’t have a slow cooker, use a dutch oven on a low heat instead.
Once the meat has been cooked and shredded, pan fry the pork on a high heat until golden and crispy. We recommend doing this in 3 or 4 batches so not to overcrowd the pan. With each batch, add some of the remaining liquid from the slow cooker for a hit of extra flavour.
Crispy Pork Carnitas
- Slow cooker or dutch oven
- 2 kg boneless pork shoulder
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 onion peeled and cut into quarters
- 8 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- 2 limes juiced
- 200 ml orange juice
- 200 ml coke original or diet
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- Fresh oregano optional
- Rinse the pork and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Add the pork, dried herbs, cumin, onion, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, coke, salt and pepper to the slow cooker.
- Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 5-7 hours.
- Remove the pork (do not discard the liquid). Allow to rest for 15 minutes before shredding with two forks.
- To crisp the pork, add 1 tablespoon oil to a large frying pan on a high heat. Add the pork in two or three batches and sear until just beginning to crisp.
- Add 3 tablespoons of leftover liquid from the slow cooker and continue cooking until the juices reduce and the meat is crispy.
- Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh oregano leaves.
Need some more main meal inspiration? Check out more of our recipes here.