Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

Oh my goodness, people.  I’ve stumbled upon a new way to make crispy pork carnitas.  But instead of spending hours upon hours babysitting your carnitas in the oven, turning them countless times to get the crispies, and adding in tons of extra oil (or lard – eek), these delicious and crispy carnitas can be made in your slow cooker!

Are you ready for the secret?!?

It’s fabulously easy.

You just let the slow cooker do all of the work of preparing your tender and oh-so-flavorful pork.  (And get ready – your home is going to smell amazing!)  Then once the pork is ready, you shred it and lay it out on some baking sheets, and then briefly pop them under the broiler, giving them a quick turn and an extra dose of broth as they cook to keep them moist.  BRILLIANT.

And to top it all off, I thought that the seasoning combo I tried for these carnitas turned out fantastic!  Loved all of the Mexi spices, and I also threw in a bottle of a favorite (Kansas City!) beer for the cooking broth, which was fab.  Definitely a delicious recipe everyone will love on tacos, burritos, salads, sandwiches, or whatever carnitas dish your heart desires.  I know this one will definitely become a staple in my house!

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

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

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 (4-5 lb.) lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 8 oz. beer
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle powder (or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

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

Add remaining ingredients, and give the mixture a careful stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 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 it out evenly in a single layer. Reserve the remaining broth from the slow cooker.

Place one sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin crisping up. Remove the sheet, and use a spatula or tongs to carefully toss the pork. Then ladle about 1/4 cup of the remaining slow cooker broth over the pork. 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! Or cover and refrigerate or freeze.

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

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Comments

  1. Cat — May 3, 2014 @ 7:30 pm (#)

    These are absolutely bloody delicious. We eat the meat in small corn tortillas with cheese, salsa, tomatoes, greens, chopped onions — all the usual suspects. The meat is so good. I’ve made this twice now and I think next time I might double the liquid; my slow cooker cooks a little hot and I find there’s barely any broth left at the end. But they’re so good I don’t care.

  2. Laura G — December 2, 2014 @ 12:57 pm (#)

    Just ran to the grocery store and home over lunch so I could get this in the crockpot for dinner tonight. Can’t wait!!

  3. Andrew C — December 13, 2014 @ 9:16 pm (#)

    Cut the ingredients in half, except for the beer. Turned out great! 

  4. Ryan — December 30, 2014 @ 4:32 am (#)

    Making this for the 2nd time as we speak. I didn’t broil the meat after slow cooking, rather I pan seared in small batches throughout the week as needed, also adding back the reserved broth from the crock pot. I also slow cooked for 10hrs on low. I found a great white sauce and served topped with that and some extra hot Valentina as well as the diced onion and cilantro, with white corn tortillas. They are fantastic. I can’t wait till tomorrow when my next batch will be ready. You can have all the toppings in the fridge ready to go and make up quick batches of tacos in minutes.

  5. Jarrett — January 6, 2015 @ 11:29 am (#)

    This looks fantastic!  But I don’t need to make that much food.  Anyway you could make another version with smaller portions?

  6. Kim — February 6, 2015 @ 12:06 pm (#)

    I was so excited to try this. I wish I didn’t cube the meat and cook it on each side before I put it in the crock. It’s only been on low for 4 hours and my meat is tough. I didn’t overcook it either. Hoping I can somehow ressurect my meat. 

  7. Kim — February 6, 2015 @ 4:25 pm (#)

    I came back to apologize for my earlier comment. If I would have just been patient then I would have realized that my pork would turn tender in the crock. This was a great recipe
     Thank you! 

  8. Cheri — February 24, 2015 @ 5:15 pm (#)

    I’ve made these a few times and they are fantastic, even with some slight modifications. I don’t drink beer or ever have any in the house, and my Zevia is too expensive to use (Ha Ha!) so I just used water and they taste fine. Also, I don’t stock Chipotle powder and wanted to make them immediately after first finding this recipe, so I left it out the first time and didn’t have a complaint about their taste. I’ve continued to make them in my limited ingredient way and they have been fabulous, so I encourage anyone who loves carnitas, but may not have all the ingredients not to be discouraged. This is a great dish and can withstand some modifications. Thanks Gimme Some Oven, for such a great recipe!! Love it!

  9. Olivia — March 13, 2015 @ 3:59 pm (#)

    Hi Ali! 

    Could I substitute chicken broth in place of the beer? 

    Thank you!

    Olivia 

    • Ali — March 13th, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

      Sure thing!

  10. Kim — March 30, 2015 @ 5:41 pm (#)

    Just made these and they were amazing! Do you think the leftover meat would freeze well?

  11. blake smith — April 3, 2015 @ 4:12 pm (#)

    They look good, but the taste was absolutely TERRIBLE! I had to add bottled sauce to continue eating it. I strongly suggest another recipe.

  12. Nicole — April 24, 2015 @ 8:29 pm (#)

    These look great! But I do have a question, what cut of pork do you recommend? I have a sirloin tip pork roast in my freezer but I wasn’t sure if this was too lean of a meat for the slow cooker? Thanks!

    • Ali — May 1st, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

      Hey Nicole! I like to use pork shoulder. Hope you enjoy!

  13. Kimberly — April 27, 2015 @ 6:54 am (#)

    This recipe was the truth!  I loved using the beer, and the meat came out super tender. I also added a jar of salsa, left out the chipotle (didn’t have any) and added lime juice. But what I took away most from this recipe was the broiling at the end. That was magic. Nice, crispy texture. Even added a bit of smoky flavor, I thought. I will definitely be using this recipe again!

    • Ali — April 30th, 2015 @ 8:15 pm

      Thanks Kimberly, so glad you liked it! : D

  14. Amy — June 27, 2015 @ 1:01 pm (#)

    Everything I’ve read says don’t brown pork shoulder or whatever cut you want to use for pulled pork. Also, most people like to brine the pork, hmmm…

  15. christina — August 13, 2015 @ 9:53 pm (#)

    Made this tonight it was a hit with the hubby. Not much flavor just added a packed of taco seasoning 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 14th, 2015 @ 10:31 am

      Thanks for giving the recipe a try Christina, we’re glad it was a hit with your husband!

  16. Allison — September 9, 2015 @ 6:51 pm (#)

    I made these and used a pork tenderloin–perhaps the pork shoulder would provide more liquid? Cooked for 8 hours on low and there is barely any liquid at the bottom, so I added beef broth. Tastes great though and since we’re in a rush, I think we’ll just eat from the crock pot without broiling (also, since there isn’t liquid left for that step) since the meat has so much flavor! 

    • Ali — November 4th, 2015 @ 4:10 pm

      Ah, yes the shoulder has more fat which yields more liquid. Glad the tenderloin still turned out for you though! :)

  17. George Rex — September 11, 2015 @ 5:30 pm (#)

    I’ve made this recipe several times for my family and we absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 14th, 2015 @ 7:54 am

      Thanks George, we’re happy you and your family are fans! :)

  18. Jess M — October 2, 2015 @ 8:46 pm (#)

    I just made this and served with tortillas, pickled red onion and peach salsa. It was delish! (I did not use the beer simply because i forgot and it was still good).

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 2nd, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

      Awesome Jess, we’re happy you liked it (and we think that peach salsa sounds amazing)! :)

  19. Christie — October 20, 2015 @ 7:03 pm (#)

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight. It was very good.  I followed the recipe exactly the way it was. I used Chipotle peppers adobe sauce the flavor was excellent. My picky 13 year old even liked it. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 20th, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

      Thanks Christie, we’re happy you enjoyed it!

  20. Tara — November 21, 2015 @ 9:25 pm (#)

    I made this tonight almost exactly to the recipe. The only thing I changed is that I added 8oz of chicken broth in addition to the 8oz of beer only because I bought lean pork tenderloin and later read comments that said shoulder was better due to the fat content and would produce more liquid, and tenderloin wouln’t yeild enough liquid to drizzle over the pork at the end. It came out absolutely perfectly. I don’t know what other commenters are talking about when they said there was no flavor. I have never been more excited about eating anything I’ve made before. Easy and delicious. This will be in regular rotation from now on.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 23rd, 2015 @ 10:40 am

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this Tara, thanks for sharing with us! :)

  21. K-munoz — December 28, 2015 @ 7:03 pm (#)

    Made this tonight and it was a hit. This even impressed my mexican firefighter husband and family. Instead of beer i used chicken broth and once i shredded the pork, i squeezed half of a lime into the crockpot. Also, instead of chipolte powder, i used half of a can of chipolte peppers in adobo sauce. Using the whole can would have been too spicy. My husband likes this recipe enough to make it for the guys at the firestation. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 29th, 2015 @ 10:01 pm

      Thanks for sharing, we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed these! :D

  22. Ellen — January 16, 2016 @ 12:16 pm (#)

    Just made last night – I have had the cut up Boston Butt in the freezer pre-seasoned with the sauce spices for a while. Freezing the meat helps me chop the recipe into more “me-manageable” chunks of time. I may have had carnitas once or twice in a restaurant that were better, but not often. I am a carnitas NUT, and these were just amazing. We didn’t want to add them to anything, they were awesome straight up. I’m going to make a little pickled onion for them tonight. I would say absolutely to use a Boston Butt though with this. The whole point of carnitas is their rich yumminess. Pork tenderloin is another animal – good, but just not made for this recipe. Oh, and if folks want to make smaller quantities of this, there is a cut of meat at the stores around here they like to call “boneless country style ribs.” They usually run whatever the butts are running (or close to it) and you can get the amount you want that way. A butt is always going to be 3 pounds, and sometimes the smalles you’ll see if 5 to 7. 
    So many recipes flooding us now with “quick and easy” and pretty pictures are nothing but promises to get a “click.” This is the real deal, and because of it I will be trying more of your recipes. Thank you very much already though for this one. A keeper all day long!!!!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 17th, 2016 @ 9:57 pm

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share Ellen – we’re thrilled that you enjoyed this! :D

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