Plate of shredded pork carnitas ready to serve.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

We originally published this pork taco filling recipe during a heat wave that hit New York one summer. Rather than turn on the oven, we touted the virtues of using a slow cooker on a hot day. Normally thought of during the colder months, the slow cooker is actually a great way to cook when it’s too steamy to turn on the stove, and you’d rather be outside swimming or running through the sprinklers than tending a pot for dinner. What’s more, this taco filling will serve the crowd of neighbors who come in dripping wet from the pool party.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Cinco de Mayo, crockpot, easy, keto, low carb, party food
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 15 people
Calories 286kcal


  • 1 boneless pork butt (6 to 8 pounds; also called pork shoulder)
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 4 chipotle peppers canned or dried
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 cup orange juice

For serving

  • Corn tortillas warmed
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Chopped red onion
  • Lime wedges


  • Trim excess fat from the meat and discard. In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub the mixture all over the meat. Place the pork butt in a large slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mix together the garlic, chipotle peppers, tomato juice, and orange juice. Pour the liquid over the meat and cook on LOW for 8 hours. The meat is done when it is fall-apart tender.
  • When the meat is cool enough to handle, lift it from the juices and place it in a large bowl. Remove the bone, if there is one, then shred the meat. Skim the fat from the juices in the slow cooker, and add 1 cup of the liquid to the meat. Keep the remaining juices as a medium for reheating the pork.
  • For carnitas tacos, reheat the meat and serve it in warmed corn tortillas with sour cream, cilantro, red onion, and lime wedges.



Reprinted from The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking . Copyright © 2014 by Apartment Therapy LLC. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Leela Cyd. Property of Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 1114mg | Potassium: 903mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 12.2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2.5mg