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Crispy Shredded Pork Carnitas

Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas

These carnitas couldn't be easier to make!  
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For the Pulled Pork:

  • 2 pounds pork roast (shoulder or butt roast) excess fat trimmed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • Dry rub
  • Salt to taste

For the Dry Rub:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • For the Carnitas:
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil amount may vary depending on size of skillet used and if cooking the carnitas in batches (use 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil per batch, if applicable).
  • Pulled pork
  • Leftover liquid from the slow cooker after cooking the pork roast (optional for serving)


  • 5 quart slow cooker (crockpot) or larger


For the Dry Rub:

  • In a medium size bowl, add all ingredients and mix until evenly combined.  

For the Pulled Pork:

  • Firmly rub each side of the roast with the dry rub so that the roast is entirely coated. 
  • Lay the roast fat-side up in the middle of the slow cooker pot. Cover with a lid and cook on the low setting for 6 hours. 
  • After the roast is done cooking, use a ladle to transfer half of the liquid from the slow cooker pot to a heat resistant medium size bowl or large pouring measuring cup (for optional use when serving). 
  • Pull off any excess fat and discard. Using 2 forks, pull apart the pork roast so that it's in fairly small shredded pieces. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

For the Carnitas:

  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. The amount of olive oil needed may vary depending on the size of the skillet used and/or if cooking is done in batches. 
  • To the skillet, add just the pulled pork (not the liquid that's left in the slow cooker pot). Be careful not to overfill the skillet with pork. Leave some room in the pan to stir the pork as it cooks. 
  • Cook in batches if necessary. Stir and cook just long enough for the edges of the meat to turn crispy (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  • Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner topped with lime juice (and/or the liquid reserved from the slow cooker pot). Serve over rice with avocado, pico de gallo, and egg if desired. Or serve in tacos, burritos, tostadas, salads or just by itself as a main dish.