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June 1, 2020

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) Paleo, Whole30

These juicy pork carnitas are slow-cooked until tender and broiled in the oven until crispy on the edges and perfectly golden. Serve it in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, burritos, bowls, or other Mexican dishes. It’s so easy to make and insanely delicious! Paleo, and Whole30 too!

Slow cooker pork carnitas in bowl topped with cilantro and limes

Why You’ll Love This Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Recipe:

  • It’s the most delicious Mexican pulled pork with just the right amount of juicy, tender and crispy flavors!
  • It’s so versatile! You can serve this meat with any of your favorite Mexican dishes. The options are endless: tacos, lettuce wraps, salads, rice bowls, burritos, etc.
  • Just 5-10 minutes of prep time, then let the slow cooker do the work.
  • Perfect to make for a large family gathering or party. You can make a large batch of pork carnitas with a 3-8 pound pork butt. It stays fresh and tasty for hours after cooking.
  • Pork carnitas are excellent to freeze. Once the meat is cooled, just throw it in a freezer-safe glass container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat it, thaw it out in the fridge overnight.
  • Pork carnitas are paleo friendly and Whole30 compliant. You can serve the mexican pulled pork in a salad packed with greens, in grain-free Siete tortillas, with roasted veggies, guacamole, or cauliflower rice.
Two forks shredding pork carnitas on baking sheet

How To Make Pork Carnitas

  • Slow Cooker: You’ll need a slow cooker to make the carnitas. I use this one.
  • Pork butt or pork shoulder: For the best Mexican pulled pork that falls apart easily, and has the right amount of fat, I recommend choosing a pork butt or pork shoulder. Make sure it is skinless, and preferably boneless. I recommend buying pasture-raised pork for the highest quality meat.
  • The rub: pat the pork dry with paper towels and rub a mixture of oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Adding flavor: Place the pork in the slow cooker and top with onion, garlic, and diced jalapeño. Then, pour the juices from the limes and orange over the pork.
  • Slow cook for 8-10 hours (cooking times will vary based on the size of pork butt) or until pork shreds easily and is tender. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and shred the pork using two forks.
  • Make it crispy:
    • To broil in the oven- Broil the pork in the oven for 5-10 minutes (I found 5 minutes was a perfect time to crispen the pork without drying it out. Make sure there is 1/4-1/2 cup liquid in the baking sheet with the pork before broiling it.
    • To crisp on the stove top- heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the pork in the pan along with some juices from the slow cooker. Pan fry on one side until the juices have evaporated and the pork is crispy to your liking.
Slow cooker pork carnitas crisped in the oven on baking sheet
Crispy pork carnitas in bowl with limes, cilantro, and orange

What To Serve With Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas are incredibly versatile and you can use the meat to make any of your favorite Mexican recipes like pork carnitas tacos, a simple salad, cauliflower rice, lettuce wraps, or bowls (with pork carnitas, lots of veggies, greens, avocado/guacamole, tomato, etc.)

My favorite is pork carnitas tacos. Just fill the soft taco shell (I use Siete Grain Free Tortillas) with the pork carnitas, then top with diced red onion, sliced avocado, and fresh chopped cilantro for a super easy dinner that everyone will love.

More Mexican Recipes You’ll Want To Try:

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Slow cooker pork carnitas in bowl topped with cilantro and limes

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Paleo, Whole30)


  • Author: Abbey Blackwell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These juicy pork carnitas are slow-cooked until tender and broiled in the oven until crispy on the edges and perfectly golden. Serve it in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, burritos, bowls, or other Mexican dishes. It’s so easy to make and insanely delicious! Paleo, and Whole30 too!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 34 pound skinless, boneless pork butt or pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 orange, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 limes, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth

For the rub:

  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse pork and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a small bowl mix together rub ingredients: oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over the pork on all sides.
  3. Place the pork in the slow cooker and top with the onion, minced garlic, and jalapeño. Pour the juices from the orange and limes over the pork, and add broth to the bottom of the slow cooker
  4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6 hours. When fully cooked and tender, pork should easily shred.
  5. Using a large spoon or tongs, remove the pork from the slow cooker and onto a baking sheet (you’ll want some juices from the slow cooker on the baking sheet). Shred the pork using two forks.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and broil the pork for 5-10 minutes, or until pork is crispy on the edges and golden brown to your liking.

Notes

Tips: Leave fat cap on the pork. You can skim the fat off later if you prefer.

Different sizes of pork:

  • 2-3 pound pork butt (cook on low for 6-8 hours, check on the pork at 6 hours)
  • 4-6 pound pork butt (cook on low for 8-10 hours, check on the pork at 8 hours)
  • 6-8 pound pork butt (cook on low for 10-12 hours, check on pork at 10 hours)
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: paleo pork carnitas, crockpot carnitas, mexican pulled pork

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Hi, I’m Abbey! Food blogger, health coach, and personal trainer. I’m just a girl who loves food, and loves to show others how good healthy eating can taste! Here you’ll find easy real food recipes as well as healthy lifestyle and fitness content. I’d love to get to know you!

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  1. I am so surprised a crockpot pulled this off. So rich and delicious! This is my instant favorite recipe!

    Tiffany
    Phlanx’s Marketing Specialist

  2. This recipe was so easy to make! It was delicious and didn’t take anytime to put together. I will definitely be trying this again!