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 3 4 5
  1. Brianna — July 21, 2016 @ 12:58 pm (#)

    I know you commented before that a lager would work best. Is there a specific one that you use for this? I never know which to use with so many brands to choose from out there.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 21st, 2016 @ 9:28 pm

      Hey Brianna — we like Modelo Especial! :)

  2. IFortuna — July 22, 2016 @ 9:00 am (#)

    Where are the tomatoes in your pico de gallo? We also use scallions, just the green part to avoid an overly onion taste.
    Pork roast does not need that much liquid to cook. It makes its own. Some cooks don’t use any at all. Traditionally, we do not put spices for cooking the pork. We like the natural flavor of the pork with only pico de gallo and corn tortillas.
    After the pork is cooked. instead of putting it under the broiler, you can put it in a dry frying pan and crisp it up that way. Using this method allows you to easily turn the pork so all sides get brown and crisp. : )

  3. IFortuna — July 22, 2016 @ 9:02 am (#)

    BTW, carnitas refers to pork only, not beef.

  4. Becky — July 22, 2016 @ 8:16 pm (#)

    I will be making these this week! I love making  carnitas and needed a new recipe to try. This one sounds and looks amazing! One question, where do you later use the juices? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 22nd, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

      Hi Becky! It says in the third paragraph: 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.

      We hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  5. Shannon — July 24, 2016 @ 8:12 am (#)

    I’ve made this- delicious!  Although this time I accidentally bought a bone in pork roast!!  I’m just cutting the bone out…Do you think it will be ok??? 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 24th, 2016 @ 4:47 pm

      Hi Shannon! Yes, we think if you’re cutting the bone out it should be fine. We hope you enjoy!

  6. Brooke — August 1, 2016 @ 11:28 am (#)

    I’ve made these before and they were fabulous! I’m going to make several batches for a party this time and need to do some work ahead. Do you think the best way to do that would be make the crock pot part day before, store in fridge, and then broil right before serving? Or do all the steps day before and just warm up before serving?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 3rd, 2016 @ 11:41 am

      Hey Brooke! We would definitely make these before, store in the fridge, then broil right before serving. We hope it’s a hit! :)

  7. Gina — August 1, 2016 @ 9:45 pm (#)

    Love your recipes and cannot wait to try this one!  You’re from Wichita?!  We just moved here.  Can you tell me the favorite Mexican restaurant you mention?  Or any other favorite local places?

    • Ali — October 12th, 2016 @ 5:59 pm

      Sure thing — we love El Paisa! :)

  8. Mardi — August 2, 2016 @ 10:21 am (#)

    Do you freeze excess before or after browning and crisping? Made this once before but wanted to know best way to save the leftovers. Thanks for FANTASTIC recipes all of the time!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 3rd, 2016 @ 2:05 pm

      Hi Mardi! Hmmm, we would try freezing and then browning and crisping after you’ve thawed the meat and are reheating it. Otherwise we worry it won’t retain that crispness after been frozen. We hope that helps!

  9. Rehana — August 3, 2016 @ 8:52 pm (#)

    Can I make this with boneless chicken, we don’t eat pork?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 4th, 2016 @ 8:21 am

      Hi Rehana! Yes, we think that should be fine. We hope you enjoy!

  10. Elizabeth — August 6, 2016 @ 8:55 pm (#)

    Im excited to try this for a party. But I want to make it the day before to take to a party. Would I do still do the broiler day before? Will it heat up just as good?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 7th, 2016 @ 6:17 pm

      Hi Elizabeth! You can definitely make this the day before. Just reheat in the oven at a low temp for a few minutes and then do the broiler (all right before serving). We hope you and your friends enjoy!

  11. Doris — August 9, 2016 @ 7:22 am (#)

    My son adores carnitas and I will surely make this for him but I have one question—every recipe I have seen for carnitas has orange juice or the whole orange in it. Just curious as to why you do not use this —-the beer substitutes for orange? Can not wait to try this out!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 10th, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

      Hi Doris! We love orange but we thought beer would be fun to try instead and we loved it! Feel free to use orange juice if you’d prefer (or a mix of the two). We hope you enjoy!

  12. Jennifer — August 9, 2016 @ 12:22 pm (#)

    Now I’m hungry! It looks so yummy, definitely on my list!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 10th, 2016 @ 8:26 am

      Thanks Jennifer — we hope you enjoy!

  13. Brenda Munger — August 10, 2016 @ 9:03 pm (#)

    This looks absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 11th, 2016 @ 9:20 am

      Thanks Brenda — we hope you enjoy! :)

  14. Jamie — August 14, 2016 @ 7:45 pm (#)

    I’ve never made carnitas before.  This recipe is AMAZING!  I could hardly wait to try them, the house smells so good!  Meet turned out perfectly moist and crispy.  Used chicken stock instead of beer.  Followed directions as written, wouldn’t change a thing!  Thank you for a wonderful recipe!!!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 15th, 2016 @ 9:10 am

      Thanks for your sweet compliment, Jamie! We’re so happy you e enjoyed these! :)

  15. Taylor Johnson — August 22, 2016 @ 9:52 am (#)

    This recipe was awesome! My mom loves carnitas, so I thought I would give it a try. SOOOO yummy, the meat was super tender and flavorful

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 22nd, 2016 @ 10:58 am

      Thanks for sharing, Taylor — we’re so glad you enjoyed them!

  16. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — August 28, 2016 @ 10:48 am (#)

    Looks amazing! The idea of putting the meat under the broiler is a clever trick!

  17. Ashley — August 31, 2016 @ 8:52 pm (#)

    These were awesome! So flavorful! Will definitely be making this again!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 1st, 2016 @ 1:01 pm

      We’re so glad to hear you enjoyed them, Ashley!

  18. Sarah Hall — September 8, 2016 @ 2:49 pm (#)

    These pics are wonderful. It looks so delicious! I’m trying it next sunday, I bet the family will love it. And we’re totally going to eat it for three meals on the weekend, hahahah. Thank you so much for the post!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 8th, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

      Thanks, Sarah — we hope you and your family enjoy!

  19. 2pots2cook — September 9, 2016 @ 8:17 am (#)

    Oh Lord,

    This looks good ! I organize a party within a few days. This beauties are going to be number one. I’ll add some more chili powder into it and it will definitely rock the crowd !

    Thank you,
    2pots2cook

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 9th, 2016 @ 8:50 pm

      Thank you – we hope you and your guests enjoy! :)

  20. David — September 11, 2016 @ 11:27 am (#)

    oh I have tried it before but it doesn’t taste as good as i hope. haha and thanks for your recipe i found that i didn’t use chipotle powder and beer. i’ll try it again with this help, it’s gonna be tasty for sure. ( and i suggest serving it with salads and a glass of lemonade, perfect combination for a powerful day)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 12th, 2016 @ 7:48 pm

      Hi David! We hope you enjoy this recipe — definitely let us know how it turns out for you! :)

  21. Pat C.Wilson — September 12, 2016 @ 11:55 pm (#)

    seems like i can smell it while seeing your pictures haha carnitas is always the best for breakfast ( i think so) xD
    thanks for sharing, it makes me feel hungry.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 13th, 2016 @ 9:50 am

      We hope you enjoy, Pat!

  22. Sabrina Zaragoza — October 3, 2016 @ 8:10 pm (#)

    Yummy! Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.So informative and detail instruction. I will try to make these.

  23. Leslie — October 5, 2016 @ 11:11 pm (#)

    Looking for a recipe that I can make at an all day tailgate in my slow cooker.  I came across your carnitas recipe and it made my mouth water!  Decided to make this on Saturday for our tailgate but didn’t read the directions until just now.  I will not have any way to broil this in an oven at the end.  Do you have any other ideas of how I can make this…or should I just find another recipe?  I’m using a generator for electricity.  Thanks for your help!  

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 7th, 2016 @ 8:39 pm

      Hi Leslie! Broiling at the end isn’t essential (it just helps add a nice crispiness to the edges of the meat). You should still be able to make this work. We hope you enjoy! :)

  24. Robert Wille — October 8, 2016 @ 11:35 pm (#)

    This recipe is the best. Best carnitas I’ve ever had, and I lived in Mexico for two years!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 10th, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Robert — that’s certainly a high compliment! We’re happy you’re a fan! :)

  25. Laura — November 17, 2016 @ 6:56 pm (#)

    Do you think this can be made with pork tenderloin?  Or is that too lean of meat? I made it with pork butt and it was amazing!! I have 2x tenderloins and want to make it again for the second time this week!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 21st, 2016 @ 7:35 pm

      Hi Laura! We’re afraid pork tenderloin might be too lean, but we haven’t tried it. If you try it though, definitely let us know how it turns out!

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