Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas

This easy and delicious slow-cooker recipe will impress any taco lover. While it's an extra step, crisping up the shredded meat in a skillet before serving adds extra flavor and creates the crunchy bits that are typical of carnitas. And don’t skip the pickled red onions! They complement the richness of the pork.




2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Small pinch ground cloves
Kosher salt
1 medium white onion, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup lard
Soft corn tortillas, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for serving
Sliced jalapenos, for serving
Pickled red onions, recipe follows
Pickled Red Onions
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
Kosher salt


  • Add the chicken broth, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, cloves, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a large slow cooker and whisk to combine. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaves and stir to combine. Add the pork and toss to coat. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. 

  • Transfer the pork to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves, onion, and garlic. Shred the pork into bite-size pieces with 2 forks, leaving some larger chunks, and season with salt and pepper.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the lard in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the shredded pork and press down into an even layer with a spatula. Cook, pressing occasionally with a spatula, until crisped and browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons lard and shredded pork.
  • Serve with tortillas, cilantro, jalapenos and pickled red onions.


        Pickled Red Onions

  • Put the sliced onions in a medium heatproof, nonreactive bowl. Put the vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, bay leaves, sugar, coriander and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the red onions and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.
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