Seasoned pork shoulder perfectly slow cooked then pulled and crisped under the broiler, carnitas is the perfect filling for tacos, burritos, and more!
There's tacos, and then there are carnitas tacos. Once I'd discovered them, I truly couldn't get enough! I'm a true believer that you can make everyone happy with tacos, but if you really want to impress your friends make them carnitas.
If you aren't familiar with the magic that is carnitas, let me break it down for you. You take a pork shoulder or pork butt, slather it in spices, slow cook it with some stock and citrus juice, then shred it and broil it to finish.
The result is:
- juicy but crispy pieces of meat
- melt in your mouth tenderness
- perfectly spiced and seasoned
- SO easy to make
I make my carnitas in the Instant Pot on the slow cook function. You *can* use it on the pressure cook function to make these in a quicker time, but from my experience truly slow cooked carnitas are much more flavorful and tender then pressured cooked.
This recipe cooks for 14 hours. If you're looking around the internet, you'll see a lot of recipes for carnitas that slow cook for 10 hours. I've tried slow cooking these at several different times, and I have found that although 10 hours does work, giving the recipe the extra 4 hours definitely brings much more softness to the pork - truly melt in your mouth!
How to make it
First, gather up your spices: chili powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt and ground pepper.
Mix the spices together in a bowl, then rub them all over the exterior of the pork including any nooks any crannies - you want to get the flavour everywhere.
Place the pork shoulder in your Instant Pot (or slow cooker) the add the chicken stock, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, and quartered onion.
Place the lid on the cooker, and slow cook for 14 hours at normal temperature.
When your pork is cooked, remove it from the cooker and place it on a large cutting board. Using two forks (one in each hand) gently pull the pork into shreds and place them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Remove the onion from the juices left in your cooker, then drizzle it all over the pork on the baking sheet.
Heat the broiler of your oven to high, then place the sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes - or until the tops of the meat have crisped and browned.
How to eat it
Other ways you can enjoy carnitas include:
- as a filling for enchiladas
- on top of nachos
- in a burrito bowl
- as a taco salad
Want to see more recipes like this?
If you like this recipe for pork carnitas, you might want to check out some of our other Mexican recipes!
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Carnitas (Slow Cooked Mexican Pulled Pork)
- 3 lbs pork butt roast - or pork shoulder
- 2-3 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3⁄4 Tablespoon oregano
- 3⁄4 Tablespoon cumin
- 1⁄2 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1⁄2 cup orange juice
- 1 lime - juice of
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock
- 1 onion - quartered
- Mix together the salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder then rub it all over the top and sides of the roast.
- Place the roast in your Instant Pot (or slow cooker) then add the orange juice, lime juice, chicken stock, onion, and garlic.
- Set the function to slow cook and set the temperature to normal. Set the timer for 14 hours.
- When the pork is cooked, pull it out of the instant pot and use two forks to gently pull the meat into shreds.
- Remove the onion from the juices in the instant pot.
- Place the shreds on a large baking sheet and spread out in a single layer, then drizzle the juice on top of it all.
- Turn on your oven broiler to high then broil the carnitas for about 5 minutes, or until the top of the meat crisps and browns.
- Serve with tortillas and toppings for tacos, or use for burritos, burrito bowls and nachos.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.