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+ servings
A white platter with three Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

Course: Entree / Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Mexican
Keyword: Carnitas, Pork, Slow-Cooker
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Under the broiler: 8 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 23 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 368kcal
Carnitas Tacos are Mexican-style shredded pork tacos that are bursting with amazing flavor and texture. Slow-cooked with incredible aromatics, citrus, soda and Mexican beer. Finished off under the broiler for a quick crisping. Taco perfection!
Print Recipe


  • 6-qt Slow-Cooker or Large Dutch Oven



  • 3 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder or regular chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 1 4 to 5 lb boneless pork shoulder such as a Boston butt, can also use bone-in
  • 1 large white onion sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime don't discard the squeezed lime
  • Juice of 2 oranges don't discard the squeezed oranges
  • 1 cup Mexican beer lager is good
  • 1 cup Dr. Pepper of Coca-Cola with real sugar, if available (if not, just regular soda will work)
  • Coarse sea salt (optional) for finishing the cooked meat


  • 8 to 12 corn or flour tortillas warmed
  • chopped onion
  • pico de gallo
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh guacamole
  • fresh lime wedges


  • Mix all the spice ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Rub enough of the spice mixture over the pork to cover. Save the extra spice mixture.
  • Place a layer of onions on the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the meat on top. Add the remaining ingredients, incluing the squeezed lime and oranges, as well as the remaining spice mixture.
  • Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (or on high for 4 to 6 hours)
  • Use two large spatulas to remove the pork to a large baking sheet. The meat will be extremely tender. Save 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker.
  • Use two forks to shred the meat. Pour the reserved liquid all over the pulled meat.
  • Place under a broiler on high for 4 to 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it as it cooks...don't let it burn! Turn the meat half-way through to ensure meat is gets crispy all over. Taste and sprinkle with more coarse sea salt, if desired.
  • Served at once with warmed tortillas and garnishes.


To braise the pork in the oven, simply rub the pork with the spice mixture, then add all ingredients into a large roasting pan, with lid (a large Dutch oven works well) and place in a pre-heated oven at 350°F for 2 & 1/2 hours, or until very tender. 


Calories: 368kcal