Perfect Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

Crispy Pork Carnitas are so insanely delicious. Pork is slow cooked with spices and a bit of citrus zest until tender and succulent. The pork is pulled and crisped on the outside for the perfect filler for tortillas or topper for burrito bowls!

Serve this easy dish alongside Mexican Rice or on top of Cilantro Lime Rice. Add in a spoonful of Homemade Guacamole and you’ve got the perfect tableside fiesta!

Crispy Pork Carnitas on a baking sheet ready to serve

When it comes to indescribably delicious comfort food, nothing surpasses this carnitas recipe. Succulent and meaty, this dish is inexpensive, yet sensational!

The first time I ever tasted pork carnitas was when my friend Mary from Barefeet in the Kitchen made these amazing carnitas! I think we stood at the stove and ate 3/4 of the recipe right off the pan. So good!

What is Carnitas

Pork carnitas is Mexican pulled pork the word actually means “little meat,” (but there’s nothing small about the huge flavor you’ll get from this recipe)!

Pork for Carnitas: It is best when made from a pork shoulder roast. Tough and flavorful, this economical cut of meat takes especially well to braising on low heat in the slow cooker. After several hours, the fat has dissolved and the pork becomes fall apart tender. It is shredded, spread out on a cookie sheet and popped under the broiler for a few minutes. The resulting crispy brown edges make the meat incredibly scrumptious.

Traditionally, Mexican pork carnitas are braised in oil or lard but we prefer to cook meat in broth, citrus juices, herbs and spices.

A plate of slow cooker carnitas ready to serve.

How to Make Carnitas

This is an easy meal to make, but takes planning, like most slow cooker meals. But I promise, authentic carnitas are well worth the wait! Here’s how to make the best ever slow cooker carnita recipe:

  • CITRUS: Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips off the oranges/lime. We add this to the slow cooker in place of the whole rind for great flavor without the bitter pith (the white part of the orange peel). Juice the oranges and limes.
  • PORK: Brown the pork (again, this just adds more flavor) and add to the slow cooker with all of the other ingredients.

slow cooker carnitas ready to be cooked.

  • SHRED: When the meat is fork tender, pull into small chunks (we prefer this over finely shredded).
  • .CRISP:
    • Broil: Spread the shredded meat on a cookie sheet broil until the edges are deep brown and crispy.
    • Stove Top: Add a bit of olive oil to a hot pan and add pork. Do not stir until browned and crisp on one side.
    • Air Fryer: If you have an airfryer, 4-6 minutes at a high temperature (425°F) will produce the perfect crisp.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Proceed as directed in the recipe increasing the broth by 1/2 cup. If browning the pork in the Instant Pot, be certain to deglaze very well before pressure cooking. If you have little brown bits left on the bottom of the IP, you risk getting the dreaded burn notice.

Cook the pork chunks on high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow for natural release 15 minutes. Broil/crisp as directed.

Crispy pork carnitas on corn tortillas

To Serve Slow Cooker Carnitas

Ladle on some more of the pot juices and serve with tortillas, a variety of toppings. Pork carnitas are best served rolled in soft corn tortillas topped with veggies or condiments.

A fun way to serve crispy carnitas tacos is to place a variety of toppings on the table and let everyone pick and choose at will. Include bowls of shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, sour cream, pico de gallo and shredded cheese.

Pork carnitas are savory and filling, so look for side dishes that are fresh, light, and somewhat acidic or sweet. Try serving it with cucumber salad, or a fresh mango salsa for a heavenly and scrumptious repast. Don’t forget the margaritas!

More Pork Perfection

Pork Carnitas

When it comes to indescribably delicious comfort food, nothing surpasses pork carnitas. Succulent and meaty, this dish is inexpensive, yet sensational!

  • 3-4 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion (quartered, or two small)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks (about 3″). Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan and add olive oil. Brown the pork in small batches.

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 4-5 strips of rind off the oranges and 3 strips off the lime. Juice the oranges and lime.

  3. Place pork, citrus juices, peels and spices in the slow cooker with chicken broth and onion.

  4. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 hours until the pork is fork tender. Discard bay leaf.

  5. Turn the oven on to broil. Pull the pork into large chunks and place in a single layer on a large pan. Spoon a little bit of juice on top.  Broil 4-5 minutes or until crisp. Stir and add a ladle a little bit more broth. Broil an additional 5 minutes.

  6. Spoon juices from the slow cooker over the pork.
  7. Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Once slow cooked, the pork can be crisped on broil as directed above or seared in olive oil in a hot pan (without stirring). If you have an airfryer, 4-6 minutes at a high temperature will also produce the perfect crisp.

Tomato Pie

   Tomato Pie – layers of cheese, juicy ripe tomatoes, and fresh garden herbs come together in a flaky crust to create a savory pie everyone will love!  This tomato pie dish can be served warm or cold for the perfect summer meal.

Savory tomato pie with cheese and basil

(more…)

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Blackened Tilapia

Blackened Tilapia – This is a delicious recipe for tilapia that is on the table in under 10 minutes!  Perfect for a quick weeknight meal and so easy to make!

Blackened Tilapia is an easy and flavorful tilapia recipe that is on the table in just minutes!  This recipe starts with tilapia but any white fish will work perfectly!  I mix up a very simple blackened seasoning recipe and rub it over the outside of the fish. I give it a quick fry in a skillet (or put it into the oven for a few minutes) along with some lemon slices and voila, the perfect blackened fish!

Blackened tilapia on a plate

How to Blacken Fish

I learned about blackened fish on a recent trip to New Orleans with some friends. We heard a bit about it on a food tour we took and then got to enjoy amazing blackened fish created for us by a chef in the hotel we stayed in.

What does blackened fish mean?

Blackened Fish was a made popular by chef Paul Prudhomme in New Orleans and for good reason. It’s very simple and delicious to make.

Blackening fish means brushing fish with butter and rubbing it with a blackened seasoning mixture.  The fish is then usually fried in a cast iron pan (but you can make blackened tilapia in the oven as well).

Because of the butter and seasonings, the outside of the fish will turn a dark “blackened” color while keeping it tender and juicy inside.

Blackened tilapia preparation of Tilapia Fillets with blackened seasoning ready to bake

What is Blackened Seasoning?

Blackened Seasoning is a delicious combination of ingredients used to create a wonderful crust on fish, chicken or other meats.  The actual makeup varies from restaurant to restaurant and chef to chef.  Most recipes contain oregano, paprika and garlic/onion powder.
While it’s similar to my favorite Homemade Cajun Seasoning this recipe has a bit of brown sugar as it caramelizes well and adds great flavor.
Blackened Seasoning Mix in a bowl for making blackened tilapia

What to serve with Blackened Fish

Blackened tilapia is delicious served with a delicious creamy coleslaw, some Crock Pot Corn on the CobSimple Herb Oven Roasted Potatoes or a nice fresh Kale Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing.  I always add lemon to the pan to allow it to cook along with the blackened fish for great flavor (and sometimes serve a side of tartar sauce along with it)!

This blackened tilapia is a delicious option spice up our favorite Easy Fish Tacos as well!

Blackened Tilapia in a serving dish with lemon to create the best blackened fish recipe.

More Fish Recipes You’ll Love

Blackened Tilapia

Tender flaky tilapia fillets rubbed with an easy blackened seasoning. 

  • 4 tilapia fillets (or other white fish)
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Blackened Seasoning

  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  1. Combine seasonings & brown sugar in a small bowl.

  2. Rub seasoning over fish and pan fry or bake in the oven as directed below.

Stove Top

  1. Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

  2. Add the seasoned fish and a few of the lemon slices and cook 3 minutes per side or just until done (do not overcook).

  3. Serve with remaining lemon.

Oven

  1. Turn broiler onto high and place oven rack on the top.

  2. Line a pan with foil and add tilapia fillets and a few lemon slices. Broil for 3 minutes.

  3. Flip fish and additional 3-4 minutes until tender and flaky. Do not overcook. Serve with remaining lemon.

 

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