Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

Happy Monday, friends!!

I hope that you all had a lovely Easter weekend, and that it filled your spirits with some extra hope and joy, and that you got to share some good time around the table with those you love.  I ended up making a last-minute decision to drive home to Wichita to see my family for the weekend, with a fun little detour tucked in there to go see Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anais Mitchell all share the stage on Saturday evening in Hutchinson (of all places), which was absolutely delightful.  Then Sunday morning we celebrated a snowy Easter at the church where I grew up, followed by a big traditional brunch afterwards, where my mom surprised me by making this spring veggie egg casserole that I posted last week.  So fun!

That said, though, it wouldn’t have been a trip to Wichita without a trip out for some of our favorite Mexican food for lunch on Saturday.  Which my friends and I promptly followed by another Mexican dinner in Hutch that evening.  Which I then followed up, upon returning home last night, by warming up some frozen leftovers of my favorite 5-Ingredient white chicken chili for dinner.  Because who doesn’t want to have Mexi food three times in 48 hours, right?!

Well.  To continue the Mexican streak, I thought I’d re-share an old recipe on the blog today that still continues to be one of my all-time favorites.  I made again for the hundredth time last week, and snapped some new photos along the way so that you could see the step-by-step process.  And yet again, I was blown away by how ridiculously easy and delicious it was.  And the thanks all goes to my magical slow cooker (and, oh, a few minutes under the broiler).

So guys, if you haven’t already tried these, it’s time.  It’s time to try my Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas.

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

I first posted the recipe for these crispy carnitas when I first figured out how to make them in the crock pot back in 2012.  (That’s one of the few old photos I posted up there.)  And my initial post gushed and gushed about how easy they were to make in the slow cooker — because I couldn’t believe how easy they were to make in the slow cooker.

Years before, one of my friends from Mexico taught me how to make carnitas the authentic, traditional way.  And while I remember them being delicious, I mostly remember standing around for hours in the kitchen, babysitting the meat on the stove and then after turns upon turns upon turns in the oven.  Definitely gave me a new appreciation for the carnitas I’ve enjoyed at restaurants for so many years — and admittedly had me eating them “out” much more than taking the time to cook them myself.

But.

This slow cooker method became a total game changer.

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

Turns out that if you just brown the meat beforehand on the stove, and then add it to the slow cooker with a handful of tasty seasonings (which I cut up while the meat is browning, to save on time)…

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

…the meat is extra-juicy and tender and flavorful.  Then you just shred it up with a fork, and toss it in the juices.Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

And, well, you could just stop right there and eat it.  But this is where the “crispy” trick comes in.

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

To get all of those browned, crunchy, deliciously crispy burnt ends on your carnitas, simply spread them out in a single layer on a foil-covered baking sheet (or two, you want the pork in a single even layer).  Then pop it under the broiler for 5 minutes until the ends get nice and crispy, take it out, toss it with some of the leftover juices in the slow cooker.  Pop it back under the broiler for 5-ish more minutes, toss it with some more juices (and I added a handful of chopped cilantro)…and then voila.

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

This deliciousness is ready to serve.

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

It goes perfectly in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, salads, this freaking amazing soup
Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

…or hey, no one’s stopping you if you want to just dive in with a fork and eat it plain.  ;)
Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

However it’s served, I’m convinced that this shortcut method tastes just as delicious as the traditional method for making crispy carnitas.  And bonus — you get to know exactly what goes into it, you can customize the recipe to make it as spicy or mild as you’d like, and this recipe makes a good-sized batch for a party or for leftovers.  So you can stretch it out for many a delicious meal.  :)Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

So grab a big crock pot, and give it a try!

And if you end up eating this Mexican treat for three meals in a weekend, know that you’ve got my full support.  ;)

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

A flavorful and easy way to make tender, juicy, and crispy carnitas using your slow cooker!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (4-5 pound) lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 1 cup beer (or chicken stock)
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder (or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side until browned (about 1-2 minutes per side). Transfer pork to the slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, and give the mixture a stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork.

Once the pork is cooked, preheat your broiler to high heat and prepare two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Use a fork to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, and then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the prepared baking sheets, spreading the pork in an even layer and leaving the juices behind in the slow cooker.  (Don't discard the juices, we're going to use them later!)

Place one sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin browning and crisping up. Remove the sheet from the oven, then ladle about 1/4 cup of the juices from the slow cooker evenly over the pork, and then give it a good toss with some tongs.  Broil for an additional 5 minutes to get the meat more crispy. Then remove and ladle an additional 1/4 cup of broth over the crispy pork.

Repeat with the other baking sheet of pork.

Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever sounds good to you!  This pork can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas -- This favorite Mexican pork recipe is surprisingly easy to make in the crock pot, and it's perfectly tender, juicy, crispy, and SO delicious! Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and more. | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. Becky Kelly — April 24, 2016 @ 4:26 pm (#)

    I  just saw you recipes  today and jion ypur group.  I  love these Slow  Cooker  Recipes.  Especially the Pork Carnitas. I  love  Mexican  Food.  It’s  funny you mention  Hutchinson in Wichita Kansas I’m from Hutchinson but living in Tampa Bay Florida now. In 2008 I  was in Wichita  and went to eat Mexican  food  at South of the Border. It was cook Mexican food.  In Hutchison  we ate Mexican  next day at restaurant  on Main Street. Can’t  remember  it name we eaten there  quite a bit was I was in Hutch.  It’s  by Fair Grounds.  I  love your blog. God Bless you and your family. 

  2. Danielle — April 25, 2016 @ 10:03 am (#)

    I made these carnitas this weekend and they were so good! The only change that I made was adding a small can of diced green chilis to the crock pot. I served it with avocado, black beans, and the usual Mexican fixings. Delish! And I didn’t have to heat up the house with the oven like I did with the other carnitas recipe I’ve used!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 25th, 2016 @ 5:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing Danielle — we’re so glad you enjoyed these! :)

  3. Lauren V — April 25, 2016 @ 11:20 am (#)

    Made these for a Game of Thrones premier party last night.  5 lb roast fed 11 people 2-3 tacos each with almost 1/2 of it leftover!  I would definitely recommend doubling or tripling up on the chipotles in adobo sauce because that is a LOT of meat to season, and you really need a lot to notice the taste & spiciness.  Also – I used the beer to deglaze the pan that I seared the pork in & poured in all of the yummy crispy bits & liquid into the slowcooker.  Overall came out delicious!  Served with crumbled queso fresco, warmed corn tortillas, and a really yummy pico de gallo that I made the night before so it had time to marinate in the lime juice.  Everyone went nuts for these!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 25th, 2016 @ 10:52 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us Lauren — we’re glad these were a hit! Awesome call deglazing the pan with some beer — we’ll totally have to try that next time! :)

  4. Tia Welch — April 26, 2016 @ 3:41 am (#)

    It’s look very tasty! I have to try it!

  5. Laura — May 1, 2016 @ 6:30 pm (#)

    Would’ve added more chipotle. Meh.

  6. Patrick — May 3, 2016 @ 8:34 pm (#)

    It’s been too long since I’ve had some real carnitas.  Your mouth-watering photos are the next best thing to having some in hand.  Cheers……

  7. Gabriele Fox — May 5, 2016 @ 6:33 am (#)

    Can you recommend me some kind of sauce for this amazing recipe?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 5th, 2016 @ 8:21 am

      Hi Gabriele! You could try some of the sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo, and whisk it with a little sour cream and lime juice — we think that’s super yummy! Or, you could top it with regular sour cream/salsa/Mexican hot sauce/whatever fixings you like. We love being able to taste the meat though, so you might not want a sauce that’s overpowering. We hope this helps! :)

  8. Natalie Day — May 6, 2016 @ 3:40 pm (#)

    Hi there! We LOVED your Carnitas and they will forever be on our favorite recipe list. We had a ton of meat leftover after our Cinco De Mayo fiesta and were hoping to make enchiladas with it. Do you have a Carnitas Enchiladas recipe?

    Thank you,
    Natalie
    Seattle

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 6th, 2016 @ 9:52 pm

      Thanks Natalie, we’re so glad to hear that! We don’t have a carnitas enchiladas recipe, but you could just use the carnitas instead of chicken in this recipe! :)

  9. Georgia — May 7, 2016 @ 6:07 pm (#)

    Yummy recipe! Can you clarify whether you use a pork loin (basically no fat) or a pork shoulder (marbled with fat)?  Thanks!

    • Ali — May 24th, 2016 @ 8:47 am

      I’ve actually made this recipe with both before, and they were both great! The more fat, the more flavorful and juicy these will be. But that said, I generally go with the lower-fat option, and the recipe still turns out delicious and juicy!

  10. Hafsa — May 9, 2016 @ 7:47 am (#)

    Thanks for sharing such a nice recipe I really like your blog :) 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 15th, 2016 @ 5:34 pm

      Thank you — we’re so happy to hear that! :)

  11. Natasha — May 9, 2016 @ 8:17 am (#)

    Looks tasty! Cannot wait to try it out! Just the name ‘The Crispy Carnitas’ makes me hungry lol! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 15th, 2016 @ 5:34 pm

      Thanks Natasha! We hope you enjoy! :)

  12. Rachael — May 11, 2016 @ 10:42 am (#)

    Do you post calorie count anywhere for your recipes? I recently made this recipe, which was a hit, but I was curious about the calorie content. Thanks!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

      Hi Rachael! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  13. The Pontificator — May 15, 2016 @ 8:47 am (#)

    In Bourdain-speak, I’m all over that! This recipe for carnitas looks awesome!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 2:51 pm

      Haha! Yay, we hope you love it! :)

  14. Oma — May 16, 2016 @ 7:17 pm (#)

    I have not made your recipe yet for carnitas. I recently made another one. My husband heavily seasoned a pork roast before grilling it. The flavor was fabulous. I then cooked it in the slow cooker until it was fork tender. After having tacos, I added seasoned black beans and made empenadas. Some I baked right away, others I froze before baking and we are having them for dinner tonight. The rest of the mixture I froze and am contiplating making an enchilada pie.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 9:19 pm

      That sounds delicious! We hope you can give this recipe a try sometime!

  15. Ashley — May 19, 2016 @ 7:48 pm (#)

    This recipe is amazing, I used a peach ale for the liquid and it was incredible. I am super excited to try different variations of this as well. The crisp is the best part and you really do just need a little onion and cilantro to complete it. I will be making this recipe for my family when they visit!

    • Ali — May 19th, 2016 @ 9:10 pm

      So happy you like it Ashley! And that peach ale sounds amazing!

  16. Lindsey — May 24, 2016 @ 2:57 pm (#)

    Would you say you have to brown the meat beforehand or will it be fine to throw in the slow cooker as is? I’m thinking one less pan to clean… :) Looks delicious though, can’t wait to try it!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 25th, 2016 @ 10:58 am

      We strongly recommend browning the meat beforehand, as it brings so much awesome flavor to the dish! :) We hope you enjoy!

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