Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) Con Ancho Chiles | Poblano Peppers smothered in so much flavour, you won’t be able to put your forks down! Yes, I sound like an infomercial. After having tried different types of recipes, this is the most incredible Carnitas recipe we tried! Carnitas literally means ‘little or small meats’. It’s usually taken as a cute way of saying ‘carne’, which in Spanish is meat. So: cute little small meats, I guess is the translation. May sound odd in English, but to those of us native spanish speaking gente (people), it completely makes sense. And sounds delicious.
And in this recipe, I’ve included TWO methods to cooking this pulled pork! One is in a slow cooker, and the other is slow cooked in your OVEN!
Now, although I’m not Mexican, (being half Colombian and half Uruguayan), the language we all speak is the same. We may have different dialect and few words have different meanings, but there’s ONE thing that unites all latinos…besides music and dancing. And that one thing is food. Comida. Good in both languages.
When I saw Poblano Peppers, known as Ancho Chiles in spanish (translated means wide chillies), I KNEW a Mexican-inspired recipe was coming. I felt it in my bones. Having tried authentic Carnitas at many food festivals here in Melbourne over the years, and over in L.A when travelling to my original home town, New York, the time came for me to attempt to make a lower fat, but just as delicious version, in my appliance lover — my slow cooker.
I say lower fat version, because most Carnitas are made in lard. They’re crispy and tender, and worth every single calorie. BUT. Sometimes, you want the best of flavours without worrying about the new pair of jeans you just bought and fitting into them tommorow.
Searching through recipes, a lot of them call for orange juice mixed with lime juice. Well, we tried those recipes. Honestly, I have to say no. Not for us. Not to say others won’t enjoy carnitas in orange juice. We just. Well, we couldn’t do it. Not even the smell was enticing us while they were cooking. They just smelt, and tasted, wrong? You know when things just don’t really go together?
Anyway, I threw all of those recipes out the window and settled for my own version, trusting myself to come up with something absolutely incredible rather than copying what everyone else is doing.
¡Oh diosito! The aroma sifting through my kitchen while these were cooking was mouthwatering! I kept peeking through the glass waiting, with my fingers tapping on the kitchen bench, for what I would find inside. And I wasn’t disappointed in the least!
As with other slow cooker recipes, these are extremely easy to make. Simply rub the pork in Mexican inspired spices we love so much. Pour in crushed tomatoes.
Add in sliced, fresh Jalapeños and garlic with chopped onion…..
And rub it all together for the best marinade you may ever try on pork.
After 4 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low setting, carefully lift the pork out of your cooker pot (I say carefully, because it melts through your spoons and falls apart so deliciously almost before hitting your skillet).
Pull it apart with your forks and you can either fry the Carnitas in a skillet OR place them on an oven tray and broil (or grill) under your oven broiler until they crisp up and became the best tasting Carnitas you’ve ever tried. And if you’ve never tried them? Well, now’s your chance!
Steaming hot and super crispy!
Pour over a little extra sauce from your slow cooker…
These can be served in tacos (one of the most popular way of eating them), or burritos. But! I’ll be posting a lower carb version on Monday! Keep your eyes peeled for that!
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with crispy, tender, falling apart pork smothered in so much flavour, you won’t be able to put your forks down!
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Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 4 pounds (2 kg) boneless pork shoulder (pork butt), trimmed of any excess fat
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika (sweet or smokey)
- 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons sea salt flakes OR 1 tablespoon table salt (adjust to your tastes)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 onion , coarsely chopped
- 6 large cloves garlic , sliced in half
- 1 jalapeno , deseeded and ribs removed, chopped
- 1 x 14-ounce (410g) can crushed tomatoes
- Juice from 2 limes (1/4 cup lime juice)
- 2 ancho chiles (poblano peppers), deseeded, ribs removed and sliced
Slow Cooker Method:
- Rinse and dry the pork shoulder with paper towel. Place the pork in slow cooker bowl and add in the oil, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and brown sugar on the pork. Rub seasoning all over pork; top with the onion, garlic, and jalapeno.
- Add in the tomatoes and squeeze the lime juices over the pork. Mix everything together until well combined.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.
- Once the meat is fork tender and falling apart, remove from slow cooker and allow to cool slightly before pulling apart with 2 forks.
- Place the carnitas (shredded meat) onto a baking tray; drizzle with sauce from the slow cooker; add the ancho chiles (poblano peppers) and allow to grill/broil in a preheated oven on medium-high settings until golden and crispy. Alternatively, place shredded pork into a skillet and fry until crispy with the chile slices over medium-high heat.
- Preheat oven to 120°C | 250°F. Place an oven rack in the lower-middle part of your oven.
- Coat pork in spices and sauces as above. Put the pork in a roasting pan and cover pan tightly with foil. Bake for about 6-8 hours, or until falling apart, basting it in it's own juices after three hours or so. Add in the ancho pepper strips during the last hour of roasting (if including).
- Shred as above.
I made this last week for my wife and myself and all i can say is AAAAmazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
made Burritos out of it Im making it this friday for my mom,dad,sister and husband
Andrew Tucker says
Would this still taste good with no brown sugar?
Tricia F says
I just made this today and it was delicious! I actually added a bit more more that was called for on the brown sugar and it was a bit too much. I think the amount she states is perfect. Just that hint of sweet was outstanding with the tomatoes and onions and spices. Just make sure to pour some of that delicious juice on the meat!
Can I put back in crockpot to serve at a party?
Absolute best carnita recipe out there, I make this all the time for family and friends and it is constantly requested
This was excellent! My family loved it!
One addition that I made was to fry a spicy cheese blend until fully melted, then cook a raw flour tortilla on it.
Next, I’m going to try your chili lime chicken salad!
OMG! This recipe is awesome. Makes me feel like a great cook!
I never found the “low carb version”
This is the lower fat version since most of the meats cooked like this are cooked in lard. This recipe is not like that. Hope that you enjoy it!
The recipe isn’t posted any more! Can someone please share it?
Hi! I’m so sorry about this. It seems to be a technical issue on mobile only and we are working on it right now. The recipes are on desktop if you need them urgently! Hopefully we will have all recipes up again soon! Thank you for your patience! Karina X
I made these in the slow cooker today, paired with home made tortillas. They look great, taste amazing, and ingredients were cheap. Thanks for the great recipe! This will become a regular dish at my house.
I am so glad it turned out so well for you! Thank you so much for sharing and following along with me! XO
Sounds as if this could be a nice family meal. Can this be made in a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker?
Yes, you are welcome to try it with a pressure cooker. I have not tried it yet. Let me know how it turns out!
derek barrios says
what is the nutritional facts of this dish?
Christopher Glenn says
By way of an “FYI,” If you go to a place that sells Chilies, the Poblano’s are green and usually quite mild. (They can be hotter, it is always a good idea to do a taste test with a “small” piece! The Ancho Chili peppers are the dried version of the Ripened or fully matured Poblano chilies. They will be very shriveled, look black and are a whole lot hotter than the green poblanos!
Tis, by the way, not intended to be a lecture, or “Snarky! The only reason I’m going into this is if you go to a restaurant and
order something listing ancho chilies as an ingredient…be prepared for hot! (Pretty much the same as something with Chipotle as an ingredient!) & What makes the heat levels of chilies so variable, is very hot weather and lack of water, as in growing conditions!
Candice Taube says
Hi Karina, this recipe looks amazing and I really want to try it but we don’t eat pork. Is there another cut of meat I can substitute? Thank you so much.
First of all Thank you so much for your awesome recipes! I make them all the time. My question is: can I use bbq sauce instead of the can tomatoes?
This was AHHHHHMAZING to say the least. My hubby could not stop eating them. Definitely a favorite for sure!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!
Yvonny I’m so happy to hear this! You’re very welcome! Thank you for stopping by to share your feedback 😉
Since I do not have a slow cooker, do you suppose I can use a multicooker instead? Put it in the “stew” regime for about 3 hrs?
Amazing! My family is Mexican and we usually make fried beef tacos per a family recipe. We wanted to mix it up and this is so good!
We usually serve on corn tortillas with red cabbage and pineapple for a street taco feel, but we have this about once or twice a month it makes for delicious leftovers. Everything I’ve tried from your website is always good. 🙂
I’ve made this recipe twice now, and it’s been my only foray into cooking pork other than a pork tenderloin. Man girl, you nailed it on this recipe! Thanks for an AMAZING and easy way to prepare for multiple dinners and then some!
Thanks Karina for the nice recipe for pork carnitas.
Made this today for Sunday dinner and it was out of this world delicious!! The only thing I did was use 1/2 cup of canned diced tomatoes ( all I had) then added chicken broth to make up the difference….I used smoked paprika and cooked a 6.4 lb roast in the crock pot on night for 2 hours then low for 2.75 hours. The meat fell off the bone and it was super moist. Definitely will make again!! Thank you!!
If I am cutting the recipe in half, do I also cut the time it cooks in half? (I am doing the oven method)
Hi Aubrey! I would say at the half way mark during cooking, check the meat first to make sure it’s soft and pulls away. If it’s at the consistency then yes! It may need a little longer than half the cook time 🙂
Karly Campbell says
Cannot. Stop. Drooling. These look incredible! And I love the option of slow cooking in the oven- what a great idea!
Haha aw thanks girl!
Julia @ Bavarian Epicure says
Now I’m hungry! It looks so yummy, definitely on my list!
This looks absolutely amazing! My mouth may or may not be drooling on my desk right now. I was just wondering if you think I would be able to get away with using a tenderloin rather than the shoulder because that is what I have in my freezer right now.
Thanks so much!
Hi Andrea! Your comment made me laugh so hard, so thank you! I hope your desk is okay 😉 I wouldn’t suggest tenderloin as it can dry out. You could try it, but I would make it with the shoulder. Shoulder has m ore fat which makes this recipe super moist and juicy. I hope that helps?
Rhonda Robbins says
Karina, this recipe was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!! We loved it so much ~ served it taco-style and will be using the remainder in hoagies…can’t wait to have it again! Your recipes are fabulous! We also loved your Lasagna Soup…both of these will be in our regular rotation and we can’t wait to try more of your creations. Many thanks to you from the Robbins family!! Xoxo
Rhonda! Here you are! Thank you so much for your feedback! I usually miss them over on Instagram, so I’m really glad I caught yours! I’m so happy you all liked the Soup too. Ah! What a great message to read this morning, thank you! Makes all the work worth while 🙂
Delicious! Tried these tonight, my first experience with carnitas, and I gotta say they were EXCELLENT. Even my mother (who ate with us, and usually hates new things) loved them.
That’s AWESOME Terran! My mother is the SAME! So I completely understand where you’re coming from 🙂
These carnitas look fantastic! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Derek! They were amazing if I do say so myself 😉
Looks delish! Will definitely be trying this one out. Thanks! : )
You’re very welcome Heather! I hope you do and equally hope you enjoy it!
mary beth says
I def. want to try this! What size was that can of crushed tomatoes? Thank you! Mary Beth
Hi Mary Beth! I’ve just updated the recipe. Thank you for picking that up! It’s a 410 gram can or 14 ounce 😉
Love your blog and recipies! I would love it even more if there was an instruction to make this without a slow cooker or a le cruset… Do you think it is possible to make this in the oven with silverfoil??
Hugs from Camilla in Denmark!
Hi Camilla! I’ve just updated the recipe now to include a slow cooker oven version 🙂 Definitely possible to make with foil! If you try it, please let me know how you go! It’s one of our favourite methods of slow cooking pork when the slow cooker isn’t available 🙂