April 8, 2020

Crispy Pork Carnitas

Crispy pork carnitas that are absolutely delicious! They’re made with a few simple ingredients and can easily be made in a dutch oven or your slow cooker. The perfect recipe to make when you need to hit the easy button on dinner. This healthy recipe is also Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 compliant!

Crispy Pork CarnitasCrispy Pork Carnitas

Crispy Pork Carnitas Perfect for Taco Tuesday

There are few things better than a hearty slow cooked meal and these slow cooked crispy pork carnitas are exactly that. 

These carnitas are made from tender, slowly cooked, pork that has been seasoned with just the right spices and then crisped up right before serving. 

The best part about this recipe is that it can easily be made in a dutch oven or in your slow cooker. Both ways are simple, easy, and will give you flavorful crispy carnitas. 

Crispy Pork CarnitasCrispy Pork Carnitas

What Kind of Meat Do You Use For Carnitas? 

The base of any carnitas recipe is pork. For this particular recipe, you’ll use a boneless pork shoulder which is often called a “boston butt”. You’ll need two and a half pounds of pork shoulder for this recipe.

You can ask your butcher to cut your pork shoulder to the desired weight or you can easily make a double batch of this recipe if you have more pork. 

To make things easier, and to get a good sear on the pork, I like to cut the pork into large chunks before searing.

The Ingredients For Flavorful Carnitas

seared pork with onions, spices, and bay leaves in dutch oven

The key to flavorful carnitas is a flavorful braising liquid and the key to a flavorful braising liquid is simple yet flavorful ingredients. Here is what you’ll need: 

  • Orange juice

  • Lime juice

  • Chicken broth 

  • Spices like cumin, dried oregano, and paprika

  • Bay leaves

  • Garlic 

  • Onion 

How To Make Crispy Pork Carnitas

braised pork in dutch oven

Step One: The trick to getting the most flavorful carnitas, is to sear the pork before allowing it to braise for hours. 

First, season the pork with a liberal sprinkle of salt and then sear the pork pieces on both sides until golden brown in avocado oil. Browning the meat helps to develop a rich deep flavor.

Step Two: Next add the orange juice, lime juice, chicken broth, and spices to the pot, stir until well combined and then cook for three hours at 300 degrees. 

If you are using a slow cooker, once the pork has been seared, remove it from the pan and add it to the slow cooker. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook the carnitas on high for 4-6 hours or until it is fork tender. 

Step Three: Once the pork is tender and shreddable, remove it from your dutch oven or slow cooker and transfer the meat to a sheet pan. 

Use two forks to shred the meat and then pour the braising liquid back over the meat. 

Then, broil the carnitas in the oven until browned and crispy before serving!

Crispy Pork Carnitas on dark sheet pan

Need Some Ideas For Leftover Carnitas?

  • crisp it in a skillet for breakfast and serve with scrambled eggs and roasted sweet potatoes

  • use it instead of the ground pork for an easy breakfast hash

Meal Prep Tips for This Recipe

This slow cooker crispy carnitas recipe is a perfect recipe to add to your weekly meal prep. To make things even more simple for you here are a few of my favorite meal prep tips:

  • Prep the pork over the weekend or a day in advance of when you plan on eating it

  • Chop your taco toppings like tomatoes, radishes, or red onion in advance so you can easily assemble your tacos at a moment’s notice

  • Turn your tacos into a salad! Place your carnitas over a bed of mixed greens and veggies for a delicious salad. You can add cilantro lime white rice or cauliflower rice to make a delicious burrito bowl!

Crispy Pork Carnitas on a sheet pan

More Mexican Inspired Recipes to Love

Print

Crispy Pork Carnitas

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top / Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top / Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Heat a dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. While the dutch oven is heating, sprinkle the pork pieces liberally with salt. Once the dutch oven is hot, add in a tablespoon of avocado oil and then add the pork. Sear for 4-5 minutes on each side until browned.

  3. Add the garlic, onion, orange juice, lime juice, chicken broth, salt, bay leaves, and spices to the pot. Stir until well combined, cover with a lid, and the braise for 3 hours at 300 degrees.

  4. If you are using a slow cooker, once the pork has been seared, remove it from the pan and add it to the slow cooker. Next, add the remaining ingredients and cook the carnitas on high for 4-6 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

  5. Once the pork is tender and shreddable, remove it from your dutch oven or slow cooker and transfer the meat to a sheet pan. Use two forks to shred the meat and then pour the remaining braising liquid back over the meat. Broil the carnitas in the oven on high until browned and crispy. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: Whole30 crispy pork carnitas, Whole30 carnitas, carnitas, crispy pork carnitas

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