Crispy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos are richly flavorful and simple to make. This recipe makes enough for plenty of leftovers that you can use throughout the week or freeze.
These slow cooker carnitas are seriously one of my favorite meals of all time. We like them so much around our house that I served them this last Thanksgiving, right along side the turkey. At the end of the day, we had tons of leftover turkey, while only a few lonely pieces of carnitas remained. That tells you something.
Besides being SO good, this recipe is also SO easy. Put a pork roast in your slow cooker, dump all the other ingredients on top, and go about your day, letting the slow cooker turn the roast into richly flavorful, fall-apart pieces of pork taco heaven.
The trick to making carnitas in the slow cooker is shredding and broiling the meat before serving. You could, of course, eat it straight from the slow cooker, skipping this final step. At the very least, you’ll find yourself nibbling on pieces the second you remove your roast from the pot.
But, the process of dousing pieces of shredded pork roast with the cooking liquid and then placing them under the broiler for a few minutes, infuses the meat with even more flavor and creates all those crispy edges that turn a simple pork roast into Carnitas.
This recipe makes a lot of Carnitas – on purpose.
You’ll notice that the recipe below calls for 8-10 pounds of pork roast, which really is a lot of meat, unless you’re feeding a crowd. (Like on Thanksgiving. I’m telling you. This year, I might not even bother with the turkey.)
You can, of course, cook a smaller pork roast. But, if you’re making this as a part of one of the Weekly Meal Plans, chances are the leftovers will get used later in the week.
Another great reason for cooking so much Carnitas at once is that the meat freezes really well. Simply place in a freezer zip top bag, pour a bit of the cooking liquid over the the meat, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months. This will make you SO happy on those nights when no one wants to cook, but everyone wants to eat.
Weekly Meal Plans that include Slow Cooker Carnitas:
Used in this recipe:
Recipes that include Slow Cooker Carnitas:
- Green Chili Baked Burritos
- Spanish Potato Soup
- Loaded Baked Potatoes
- Quinoa Veggie Carnitas Bowls
- Taco Salad
This carnitas recipe will take advantage of your slow cooker, filling it to the brim with flavorful pork roast that is fall-apart tender. The recipe calls for a large pork roast with the intention of creating plenty of leftovers – some to use throughout the week, and some to freeze for a rainy day when no one feels like cooking.
For the Slow Cooker Carnitas:
- 1 large, or 2 small boneless pork shoulder roasts, 8-10 lbs total
- 2 cups beer or chicken stock (use any kind of beer except “light”)
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 chipotle in adobo peppers, minced (If making this as a part of Winter Meal Plan #5, reserve remaining peppers for Green Chili.)
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp ground oregano
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp salt
For the Tacos:
- Corn tortillas
- About 1/4 cup corn oil
- Sautéed red peppers and onions
- Crumbled Queso Fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Chopped cilantro
- A few slices of fresh limes, for squeezing over the meat
- Sour Cream
Make the Slow Cooker Carnitas:
- Put the pork roast into your slow cooker.
- Dump all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl, whisk to combine, then pour over the pork roast.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 6-8 hours, until the roast is extremely tender and falling apart.
- Remove the pork roast from the slow cooker to a large platter or cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle.
- Pour the liquid in the slow cooker through a strainer into a bowl and reserve.
- Place a rack in the top position of your oven and preheat the broiler. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.
- Using a couple of forks, shred the pork roast and lay the pieces in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Drizzle about 1 & 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid over each sheet of shredded pork roast. Sprinkle with about 1 tsp of salt.
- Place one pan under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes, until the edges of the pieces of pork begin to brown and crisp. Remove from the oven, and toss pieces around on the sheet using tongs. If there is little to no liquid on the bottom of the pan, douse with a bit more. Spread out into an even layer and put the pan back under the broiler for another 5 minutes until more of the pork edges are brown and crispy. Repeat the process with the other sheet of pork roast.
- Taste a pice of meat and sprinkle with salt if desired.
*Reserve remaining cooking liquid. If you are making this as a part of Winter Weekly Meal Plan #5, you’ll use it for Green Chili. You’ll also use the reserved cooking liquid if you freeze any of the leftovers (see note below).
Assemble the tacos:
- Brush both sides of a corn tortilla with a light coating of corn oil and place in the center of a damp paper towel. Brush only one side of a second tortilla with a light coating of corn oil and place oil side up on top of the first tortilla. Continue with however many tortillas you plan to serve. Cover with a second damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and feel into the center of the stack to see if it’s warm. If not, microwave for a bit longer.
- Serve tortillas and carnitas along side the rest of the taco topping ingredients, letting each person build their own tacos.
Slow cooker pork carnitas can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place some of the meat in a freezer zip top bag. Douse with a bit of the reserved cooking liquid, seal, and place in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or by placing the bag in a bowl of cold water and letting it sit for a couple of hours.
Keywords: carnitas, pork roast, slow cooker, crock pot, easy recipe, tacos, pork tacos, homemade carnitas