May 5, 2014

Crock Pot Carnitas

True carnitas cook in lard like a confit but ain’t nobody got time for that. Or, maybe I should say ain’t nobody got 2 gallons of lard for that. I think cooking the pork in the crock pot without water comes pretty dang close to the real thing since the roast puts out its own fat and then slowly cooks in it. Then, to get the crispy bits, you just chop up the meat, drizzle some of that fat over it and broil it until it gets good and crispy.

Boom. Done.

This is one of my go-to recipes for entertaining. As a matter of fact, I’ve made this many, many times and become too distracted with my guests to remember to take photos! This might have something to do with the cold beer and margaritas that usually accompany this meal :o)

I usually make guacamole, pico de galo and salsa, set out a giant bowl of tortilla chips and call ‘er done. You can feed a lot of people with this with very little effort.

Authentic pork carnitas made easy in the crock pot. Perfect for soft tacos!

Crock Pot Carnitas
1 6-7 pound boston butt or pork shoulder roast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lime

Combine salt and spices in a small bowl and mix well. Rub the roast with oil then coat with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate roast to marinate in the spices overnight (8-10 hours).

Cook roast (without adding water) in crock pot on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

Remove roast from crock pot and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour rendered cooking liquid into a measuring pitcher and let sit until liquid and fat have separated. Spoon fat off and set aside.

Roughly chop roast into chunks and spread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cut lime into wedges or chunks and squeeze juice all over pork. I tossed the squeezed lime pieces into the pan with the pork for extra flavor.

Drizzle 1/3 cup of the rendered fat over the pork. Place baking sheet on the middle oven rack and broil on high until pork pieces begin to sizzle and crisp up. Remove from oven and serve.

Serve carnitas as-is or assemble into soft tacos using heated soft flour tortillas. I usually top mine (as-is or as a taco) with diced onion, chopped cilantro, avocado slices and fresh squeezed lime juice.


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  1. Looks delicious! I've never made pork carnitas. I need to fire up the slow cooker!

  2. I just watched your cookbook presentation on QVC. I can't wait to receive mine!! Isn't David V. awesome? You made him do his happy dance LOL. I'm printing this recipe right now and have a pork shoulder in the freezer. We happily have a smoker.

  3. These are in the broiler now! I'm going to top them with cheese, pickled red onions and sour cream. Can't wait!

  4. family favorite - I often take out of the freezer before bedtime and cook slow until/for dinner the next day . . . never seems to miss any tastiness by not marinating. :)

  5. We made this recipe and it was delicious! Hubby really like it. The whole family did! We will definitely be making these again and again. Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. Can you make this with pork belly instead of shoulder or butt? Or would having more fat in the meat alter the dish in some way? I have a lot of pork belly in the freezer but not a lot of shoulders, and the butt roasts I use for pulled pork instead.

    1. I use whatever I have on hand that has that fattiest meat, since the long cooking in lard is what makes it so amazing.

  7. This looks amazing! I do have two questions a) approximately how long do you broil the meat? b) Is the rendered fat the part that you skim out of the pitcher or the part that remains? Thank you for sharing with us!

  8. This is the absolute best, easy, delicioso!!!

  9. looks like minced BBQ

  10. Thank you for developing this recipe. It has become a huge family favorite; we make it about once a month! I really appreciate the flavors that develop from the rub.


Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy

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