Pork Carnitas Tacos

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 50 minutes
Servings 12 people


  • 5 lb pork butt pork shoulder
  • 5 Cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 jalapeno minced and seeded
  • 2 Juice of oranges
  • 1 Dried bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp preserved fat oil, or lard (more if needed)

carnitas rub:

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground mexican cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika



  1. Pat pork shoulder dry.
  2. Using a sharp chef or boning knife, trim any loose hanging pieces of fat. Check the bottom (opposite the fat cap) for any veins with blood that may have been left from the butchering process and remove. Using a boning knife cut a slit between the fat cap and the meat creating a small “pocket”. Continue to gently run your knife under the fat cap a few inches on either side creating a pocket large enough to put your hand inside. This allows us to season the meat under the fat cap while keeping it in tact.
  3. Using the same technique as above create a dozen or so tiny cuts "slits" all around the pork. Insert sliced garlic into these cuts.
  4. Combine the rub ingredients and rub all over the pork making sure to season under the fat cap.
  5. Place pork in a slow cooker with fat cap facing up. Add onion, jalapeño, bay leaf and fresh squeezed orange juice.
  6. Cook on high for 6 to 6 1/2 hours. The meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove shoulder (reserving liquid) from the slow cooker and allow to cool slightly. Using two forks shred pork. I like my carnitas with a mix of bite sized chunks and shredded meat.
  7. Skim fat (reserving 1 tbsp. if desired) from remaining juices. You should be left with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid. If more, simply reduce liquid over high heat in a small saucepan.
  8. At this point you can either continue on to the next steps & serve right away or store and refrigerate until ready.


  1. Oven Method: Place oven rack 3 inches from top and set oven to broil. Grease a sheet pan liberally with reserved oil or lard. Spread shredded pork in a single layer. Place pork under broiler 5-6 minutes or until pork is slightly crispy, not dry. (Caution: Oil may smoke due to high heat.)
  2. Remove pan from oven and pour reserved liquid over pork. Stir and serve immediately.
  3. Stove Method: Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil or lard in a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Add a single layer of shredded pork into the pan. Pressing down with a spatula, cook pork until the bottom side is golden brown and crusty.
  4. Remove from heat and pour reserved liquid over pork. Stir and serve immediately.

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