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Recipe: Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with Chef Kevin Belton's recipe for Carnitas.
Credit: Philip Stridh - stock.adobe.com
Pulled pork carnitas in pan


Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)


  • 4 lb pork shoulder / butt, skinless, boneless or 5lb/bone in
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 oranges, juiced


  • 1 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. white pepper
  • Tortillas, diced onions, cilantro for serving.


  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Combine the Rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
  2. Place the pork in a pressure cooker, fat cap up. Top with the onion, jalapeño, garlic and squeeze over the juice of the oranges.
  3. Pressure Cook on high for 1 hour 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.
  4. Pork should be tender enough to shred. Remove from cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred using two forks.
  5. Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the cooker and discard.
  6. If you have a lot more than 2 cups of juice, then reduce it down to about 2 cups. The liquid will be salty, it is the seasoning for the pork.
  7. Set liquid aside without straining onion, jalapeños, and garlic because they’re soft.


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan or well seasoned skillet over high heat. Spread pork in the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty.
  2. Turn and just briefly sear the other side.
  3. Remove pork from skillet. Repeat in batches and don't crowd the pan.
  4. Just before serving, drizzle over more juices and serve hot, stuffed in tacos.

Other cooking method:

Oven: Follow recipe but put pork in roasting pan. Add 2 cups stock or water around pork. Cover tightly with foil, roast in 325F/160C oven for 2 hours, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more stock/water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking, and you can skip the pan frying step because you will get a nice brown crust on your pork. Shred pork then drizzled with juices.

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