Carnitas Pulled Pork

Carnitas Pulled Pork

Finally, the day has arrived that I can share with you my pork carnitas recipe. These turned out delicious and was a feast. Originally carnitas are cooked in lard for hours on end till it’s rendered down, creating a crispy skin on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. It’s a typical Mexican street food and is usually eaten within the day. In certain parts of Mexico, they actually slaughter an entire pork to cook carnitas. The different pieces are all cooked together but the cooks are so familiar with all the cuts, that they can distinguish all the different parts just by looking at them. When ordering carnitas from a cart you can request a mix of the different cuts or you can specify a specific cut you would like to have with your taco.

My carnitas only resemble the original recipe in the fact that they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Besides that, they are completely different from the ones you would get at a street food cart in Mexico. That doesn’t make these any less delicious, just different than the original. You will notice that the recipe requires 2,5 kg pork shoulder, which I know is a lot, but I’m of mind that if you are going to let something cook for 8 hours in a slow cooker you might as well make a big portion. It’s a great dish to make when having people over, because for sure you will have enough and leftovers the day after are the best.

You can expect slightly spicy, tender and crispy pieces of pork. Because of the size and the fact that the dry rub is on the outside of the meat for the duration of the cooking means that, the outside of the meat might be spicy but once you pull it apart after cooking and mix it all together it evens out beautifully. If you want it spicier feel free to add more chili powder, the heat is in your hands.

So now you have all the elements to make your carnitas taco, you’ve got the paleo tortilla, soft and sweet mango guacamole and tangy and crisp coriander slaw. Enjoy!

Carnitas Pulled Pork
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Carnitas Pulled Pork

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs 3 mins
Total Time8 hrs 18 mins
Author: Kyara


  • Slow cooker or Instant Pot



  • kg pork shoulder boneless

Dry Rub

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chili

Cooking Liquid

  • 2 oranges juice
  • 1 limes juice
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Mix all ingredients for dry rub in a bowl.
  • In your slow cooker place all the cooking liquid ready to get started.
  • Grab the pork shoulder and pat the dry rub all over it. Make sure to cover it evenly.
  • Gently place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker so to not remove the rub.
  • Set to cook for 8 hours on low.
  • Once it’s done remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a bake tray. Save the liquid.
  • Preheat the oven to 250°C, make sure only the top grill is on. This will create the crispy layer without drying out the rest of the meat.
  • Use a fork to pull apart the meat.
  • Only grill the amount you will be using immediately and save the rest. That way you get the same tender and crispiness each time without the meat drying out.
  • Grill for 2-3 minutes. Pay attention at this point as you don’t want your meat drying out in a few seconds after retaining all the moist for 8 hours.
  • Pour the cooking liquid in a pan and set to boil. Once it starts boiling you can immediately turn it down to a simmer to reduce.
  • Once it has reduced down to half the amount you can pour it over your carnitas and you are ready to serve.