Easy Crockpot Carnitas Tacos
These Crockpot Carnitas Tacos with Queso Fresco, lime, cilantro and scallion are the perfect weeknight meal, or a great set-it-and-forget-it party food (I’m looking at you, football season).JUMP TO RECIPE
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These tangy, succulent Crockpot Carnitas Tacos are the stuff dreams are made of, but if that dream was to have the crockpot do all the work for you. I love to break this recipe out when I’m having people over for the game, or just when I’m looking for a no-fuss crockpot recipe if I’ve got a busy day ahead. Also when I’m in the mood for tacos, which- let’s be real, is ALWAYS.
The pork shoulder is the mouthwatering base, but the fixings are fully customizable to your tastes. Hate cilantro? Leave it out! You could also easily switch the scallion for a quick pickled red onion or some thinly sliced shallots, and add some hot sauce or sliced avocado if you so desire. The possibilities are endless, and I am all about just using whatever you have in the fridge!
Aside from being fairly simple to prepare utilizing your slow cooker, this recipe is also very budget friendly. Pork shoulder is a low cost, high yield cut of meat with a ton of flavor. I recently bought a whole bone-in, 9 lb shoulder for $9, and broke it down for multiple uses.
I also love to make BBQ Pork Sliders with Country Slaw and South Philly Style Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Pork with the shoulder. It’s a great cut of meat to have hiding away in your freezer, so don’t shy away from purchasing a large shoulder if you happen upon one at a great price.
Can I use a pork loin instead of a shoulder?
I would advise against this. The fat/marbling of the pork shoulder is crucial to the crockpot carnitas recipe. It not only allows for the meat to remain moist and tender, but also aids in the crisping of the final product for the tacos (save those precious juices). A pork loin would yield a much drier product, and would not crisp well in the final steps.
Can I omit the beer?
Definitely. While I love the flavor it adds to the crockpot carnitas, you could easily substitute for the same volume of chicken, beef or vegetable stock.
Can I use a pressure cooker/instant pot to make these Crockpot Carnitas Tacos?
Absolutely, and please tell me how it turns out. From my research of recipes using similar cuts of meat, my guess at timing would be somewhere around 60 minutes, but use your best judgement!
Want to give this recipe a try?
If you make my Easy Crockpot Carnitas Tacos, please be sure to leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you, and value your feedback! Lastly, if you make the recipe and love it, please tag me on Instagram! I love to see your photos!
Easy Crockpot Carnitas Tacos
- crockpot/slow cooker
- 1 12 oz beer (Lager or Pilsner)*
- 3-4 lbs cubed pork shoulder, cut into 2” cubes
- 8-10 cloves or peeled garlic
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large orange*
- 2 limes
- 2 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 6 scallions, finely chopped*
- 10 oz Queso Fresco, crumbled
- 30-40 small white corn tortillas (such as Guerrero), charred
- 2 limes, quartered
- 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- Add the cubed pork, spices and beer to the crockpot. Slice limes and orange in half and juice directly into crockpot, and throw in the fruit once juiced. Add whole garlic cloves and sliced onions. Stir all ingredient to combine, and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the pork shreds easily when pressed with a fork. 2. Using tongs, transfer the meat to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Discard the citrus and bay leaves, and transfer the remaining juices to a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Discard any large pieces of fat as you shred the pork. 3. Heat a tbs canola oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and add the shredded pork, working in 2 batches as to not crowd the pork for even browning. Heat the pork in the pan for 2-3 minutes, and slowly add the pork juices, just enough to moisten the pan. Press the pork down and fry until the pork begins to crisp around the edges (about 3-5 minutes. Flip the pork and add the juices again. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, and continue until all pork is crisped/browned. Add in ¼ cup of remaining juices and serve. (alternatively, you could also lay the shredded pork out on a rimmed baking sheet with about 1 cup of the juices and broil 3-5 minutes, until top is crisp)
- Serve the tacos with finely chopped scallion, crumbled Queso Fresco, cilantro leaves and fresh squeezed lime on charred corn tortillas.
To char the tortillas
- Heat a gas stove burner on medium high and place corn tortilla directly on the burner. Watch carefully and flip with tongs once the tortilla begins to brown/bubble (this will be FAST). Once both sides are charred, remove to a serving platter and repeat with remaining tortillas.
3-4 Clementines for 1 Orange
1.5 Cups of Chicken, Beef or Vegetable stock for 1 12 oz beer
Scallion can be replaced with thinly sliced shallots or pickled onions
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