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4.94 from 15 votes

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

Crispy, tender, falling apart pork smothered in so much flavour, you won't be able to put your forks down!
Servings: 6 -8
Author: Karina - Cafe Delites


  • 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.

Oven Method:

  • 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.