These Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Carnitas will create a tasty busy day fiesta. Assemble the ingredients in advance and let your slow cooker do the cooking while you go about your day. Bonus, the house smells heavenly, too!
Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Carnitas Recipe
We love our chopped and pulled pork barbecue in North Carolina and generally it's best when cooked low and slow. Slow cooked, succulent, pulled pork has far more uses aside from classic barbecue and can go in many other flavor directions depending on your meal. Slow cooked pulled pork for carnitas, is a fantastic low stress and inexpensive way to cook for and serve a crowd. If you're slow cooking in the summer to keep the kitchen cool, or if it's football season, and your guests just want to graze, these carnitas are the way to go.
How to Make and Serve Pulled Pork Carnitas
One of the best things to love about slow cooking this cut of meat is; the juicy fall apart texture of the pork butt. It really takes to the slow cooking process and the south of the border inspired seasonings in this recipe. This recipe skips the classic flavor profile for pork butt barbecue transforms it into the perfect foundation for your favorite taco toppings.
- What is pork butt? It's actually from the shoulder of the pig and when cooked low and slow it becomes even more flavorful, juicy and fall apart tender. That's one of the reasons it's so popular to be used for smoking. It comes boneless and bone-in depending on the butcher.
- The simple spice rub lends flavor overall.
- I use my 6 quart oval slow cooker for this recipe, but rest assured you can use whatever shape of slow cooker that you have. When choosing the pork butt, consider the shape of the appliance you plan on using at home.
- How to top carnitas: You can finish these with a drizzle of crema or sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, queso fresco, fresh cilantro, hot sauce and beyond. There's no wrong way to top carnitas, pile them high with your favorites!
- While we most often eat these pork carnitas on warm corn or flour tortillas, you can also go beyond that and enjoy this pulled pork on a salad or over rice.
- If there are low carb eaters at your table, try serving it in lettuce wraps with my cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
- It can also be enjoyed on toasted hoagies topped with barbecue sauce and cilantro lime cole slaw for a Mexican inspired torta.
- Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, it's bound to become a family favorite and a terrific addition to your favorite crockpot meals.
- You may also like this recipe for Mexican torta from Tastes Better from Scratch.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Onion/Vegetable Chopper
- Serving Set
- Insulated Slow Cooker Travel Case and Carrier
Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Carnitas
Servings: 20 servings
- 1 5-6 lb pork butt/shoulder
- 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes & chilies [such as Rotel Chili Fixins']
- 1 large sweet onion halved, thinly sliced/diced
- ⅓ cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste plus additional as needed
- 20 corn tortillas
- Paste rub:
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 chipotle in adobo chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 3 tablespoon taco or fiesta seasoning [i.e. McCormick's or Weber]
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder or paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- salt & black pepper to taste
- Assorted toppings: Shredded lettuce queso fresco, Pico de Gallo, sour cream
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour the tomatoes on the bottom. Sprinkle the chopped onion and cilantro on top.
- Mix together all of the ingredients for the paste. Rub the pork on all sides liberally using all of the paste.
- Season with salt & black pepper to your taste.
- Center in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour then on low for 7-8 hours.
- Remove from the slow cooker, shred the pork and remove the bone.
- Use a large spoon to skim the fat drippings from the top of the sauce. [Tip: If preparing in advance. remove the pork butt from the sauce and chill. The fat will solidify and rise to the top, and can easily be removed]
- Thicken the sauce with 3 tablespoon of tomato paste, more if desired. Adjust the seasonings., salt and pepper to your taste. Return the shredded meat to the sauce.
- Simmer on high for 15-20 minutes. Keep warm until serving.
- Serve with warm corn tortillas and your favorite toppings.
Depending on the amount of liquid released by the pork, you may need more than 3 tablespoon of tomato paste for thickening. Use your best judgment and thicken as needed.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 426mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!
Hi Lisa, that's a great question. You can use 1 tsp of ancho or paprika. I was thinking that some may not have ancho handy and would need something instead. Paprika would also yield a milder flavor, if that's a concern. I hope you enjoy! ~ Melissa
This looks delicious! I have a question about the ancho chili powder/paprika...is is one teaspoon each or 1 teaspoon of either? Thanks!
Hey Linda, I love these for football gatherings. Just line up the fixins' and let everyone graze. ☺
This looks fabulous Melissa, and I'll give it a try on my stovetop. I know it will be a crowd pleaser, especially during football season.