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Pork Carnitas Tacos Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Slow roasted, slow cooker pork carnitas served with corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, diced onions, lime wedges, and a creamy lime sauce for a simple and delicious street taco.



Pork Carnitas

  • 34 pound skinless, boneless pork shoulder or butt (bone-in OK too)
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Splash of beer (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • Fresh cilantro, for serving
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Simple creamy lime sauce (optional)

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 lime, juice squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Remove pork from the packaging and rinse with cool water. Pat dry with a paper towel. If the meat contains the fat cap (firm white fatty layer), see note below on removal.
  2. Combine paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper (to taste) in a small bowl and mix. Rub pork all over with dry rub. Place in a slow cooker and pour pineapple juice and optional beer over the pork. Add in chopped onion and garlic. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 6-8 hours, or high heat setting for 5-6 hours (until the meat easily pulls apart/shreds with two forks). Shoot for an internal temp of 200 °F.
  3. Shred the pork using two forks. You can remove the whole roast from the slow cooker and shred on a platter, or shred right in the slow cooker. Shredding in the slow cooker allows the meat to soak up some of the juices. Either way, do not discard the juices yet.

Broiling/crisping the pork

  1. Arguably the most important step. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pulled pork from the slow cooker. Place on a foil-lined 11X17 baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet and drizzle with little extra juice from the slow cooker. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes until the meat starts to brown/crisp. This lends a little caramelization and crispy texture.
  2. Serve warm with toasted corn tortillas, lime wedges, diced onions, hot sauce, and creamy lime sauce.

Creamy Lime Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and slightly runny. Add more water if too thick. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.


Fat cap: I would recommend using a serrated knife to shave the fat cap off. Pork shoulder contains enough fat to render juicy tender meat. You don’t have to completely remove all fat, but it allows the spices to penetrate the meat.

Large pork: I’ve cooked as large as a 9-pound bone-in pork shoulder for this recipe. This will take around 10-12 hours on low heat to cook.

Internal temp: Shoot for an internal temp of around 200 °F. Pork will be very tender and easily shred at 200 °F. Anything less, 145 °F for example, will be very tough pork.


  • Serving Size: 2 tacos
  • Calories: 516
  • Sugar: 4.5g
  • Sodium: 118mg
  • Fat: 31.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.6g
  • Fiber: 3.1g
  • Protein: 25.8g
  • Cholesterol: 101mg

Keywords: slow cooked pulled pork, pork carnitas, pork carnitas tacos


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