Crispy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooked Pulled Pork) is a winner! The closest recipe to authentic Mexican Carnitas WITHOUT using lard!
Crispy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooked Pulled Pork) is SO tender and juicy on the inside, while deliciously crisp and golden on the edges! Giving you TWO options to get that perfect crisp finish, and PERFECT for your Cinco De Mayo parties!
Carnitas are so versatile, you can fill any burrito, taco, quesadilla OR use them as a topping for Nachos! Include them in a salad like this Chipotle Carnitas Salad! Serve them with the typical onion/cilantro topping typically seen served on Mexican food trucks OR a good Guacamole or Pico De Gallo!
This recipe is a NO FAIL recipe, and extremely forgiving! Set it…forget it….and your lunch or dinner is ready in minutes! Because WHO doesn’t love crispy pulled pork?!
How to make Crispy Pork Carnitas
I have to admit, it has taken me so many failed attempts and trying a huge variety of different recipes before finally setting on this one. I read, researched, tested, failed, tested again, failed, researched AGAIN, tested and failed THREE more times. Pulled pork coming out of our ears!
The ingredient we use in this carnitas recipe is Coca Cola. If you can find a cane sugar based coke (coke in ‘original’ glass bottles, for example), well, EVEN BETTER. It’s the closest to Mexican Coke, which is what many Mexicans cook their Carnitas in when not cooking in lard (the authentic recipe), and really lifts these carnitas to bolder and better flavours!
The orange juice and lime juice combo tenderises them to incredible fall apart tenderness, while the natural sugars in the juices and the coke combined turn what would be just another pulled pork recipe, into crispy heaven with every mouthful.
- We used 4 teaspoons of salt. Use less if desired.
- Coke with cane sugar instead of corn syrup (check the ingredients list) is ideal, however you can use any coke. Alternatively, substitute with chicken broth (chicken stock).
- If you don’t like the sound of this particular carnitas recipe, try my tomato based crispy pulled pork!
WATCH HOW WE MAKE CARNITAS RIGHT HERE! TURN UP YOUR VOLUME TO HEAR THAT CRISPY CRACKLE IN THE PAN!
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- 4 pounds (or 2 kg) skinless, boneless pork butt (or shoulder)
- 3-4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or Mexican oregano)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 large brown or white onion , cut into wedges
- 8 cloves garlic , smashed
- 2 limes , juiced
- 2 large oranges , juiced (or 3/4 cup natural orange juice)
- 3/4 cup coke (Original or Mexican coke is ideal)*
- 2 bay leaves
Rinse and pat dry pork with a paper towel.
In the bowl of a 6-quart slow cooker, add pork, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, onion, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, coke, and bay leaves.
Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours, or high heat for 5-6 hours (until the meat falls apart).
Remove pork and shred with two forks (DO NOT DISCARD THE LIQUID!)
Transfer the pork to a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (or lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper).
Pour 1 ladle full (about 1 cup) of the liquid from the slow cooker over the pork to season. Broil for 5-10 minutes on high heat until the meat becomes golden browned and crispy on the edges.
Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a non stick pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, add pork in batches of two or three, and sear until just beginning to crisp. Ladle over about 1/2 cup of left over liquid, and continue cooking until the juices begin to reduce down and the meat is nice and crispy!
Season with a little extra salt and pepper if desired. Pour over more of the slow cooker juices once the meat has crisped for added flavour, just before serving! Serve in Tacos, Burritos, or in a salad!
*Coke with cane sugar instead of corn syrup is ideal, however you can use any coke. Alternatively, substitute with chicken broth (chicken stock).
**If you don't like the sound of this particular carnitas recipe, try my tomato based crispy pulled pork!
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