Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

This one is NOW a family favorite!!  But, as with any good recipe, it is likely to be tweaked a bit for your family.

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas


1 (4-5 pound) lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch chunks  (I just use a pork shoulder butt WITH the bone in.  I don’t cut it up.  I just put it in the crock pot.  It generates enough liquid when combined with the chicken broth to fully cover the meat. )
1 cup beer (or chicken broth)
1 large white onion, diced (I usually use two)
4 cloves garlic, minced (I probably use closer to six.  The roast we use is generally 6-8 lbs.  In this spice and all of the spices, I typically use what is necessary to properly cover the top portion of the meat.
1 tablespoon chipotle powder (or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced)  [I have changed this substantially.  I use NO chipotles.  I use 15-20 jalapenos with the seeds removed AND chopped pretty fine. If you have never seeded jalapenos by hand, it is good to be aware of the juices that will remain on your hands for awhile.  I cut off the tip and stem before cutting length wise.  I then use a spoon tip to help get the seeds out.  The food processor chops things up REALLY small. ]
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side until browned (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer pork to the slow cooker.

    Stir in the remaining ingredients and cover. Cook on low for 5-8 hours until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily. Shred all of the meat with tongs or a fork.

    Due to the size of meat we use AND the fact I don’t cut into cubes, I have got in the habit of putting the meat on the night before.  If put on in the morning, it is sometimes not as tender as it should be.  I have found 16 hours or so to be pretty safe.  So, you set the slow cooker on “low” the night before.  And, the next morning, the number of hours are reset so it will be in good shape for dinner.

  2. Once the pork has finished cooking, heat your broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it in a single layer. Reserve the liquid in the slow cooker.
  3. Place the pork under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges begin to crisp. Use tongs to toss the pork, then ladle about ¼ cup of broth over the pork. Continue broiling for another 5 minutes, or until the edges are nice and crispy. Ladle another ¼ cup of broth over the pork and serve immediately.
  4. I usually only broil as much as we’re going to eat that night and then freeze or refrigerate the rest. To cook from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator and then broil as directed once it’s thawed. You can broil all of it (you’ll need two baking sheets) and then freeze, if desired.