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Spicy Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos (Slow Cooker)

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Raise your hand if you love tacos! I have both hands raised. If you are a pork taco fan, you have to try this recipe!


This Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas recipe is one of the easiest pork dishes you will ever make! 

It honestly takes 10 minutes to prep the ingredients and toss everything in a slow cooker.

Then let the slow cooker simmer for 8 hours for the most amazing fall-apart tender pork goodness!

Ingredients

There is a large bowl with a cut of pork in it. There are dishes with spices in them. There is an orange, an onion, a lime, a head of garlic and a jalapeno pepper. Items are on a white surface.

What you will need

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder 
  • 1 onion (medium-chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • 1 orange – juiced
  • Cilantro leaves (roughly chopped)
  • Warm corn tortillas 
  • Optional toppings – pickled red onion, sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado, hot sauce, queso fresco, and lime wedges.

Cooking Times

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Browning Time: 10 minutes
There is a large white bowl with shredded pork in it. Behind the bowl is a plate with taco fixings on it - tortillas, chopped tomato, onions, peppers, lime wedges and crumbled white cheese. Items are on a white surface.

Ingredient Tips


Pork – the best cut of pork to use is pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, boneless.

Olive Oil – use a good quality to rub the pork.

Chili Powder – adjust the amount to your taste. If you want really spicy pork, substitute it with a little cayenne pepper.

Onion – white or red onion works well in this recipe.

Jalapeno Pepper – adjust the amount to your taste. You can also use green chiles.

Garlic Cloves – you can use garlic powder if you’re out of fresh garlic.

Citrus – use fresh lime juice and fresh orange juice for the best flavor.

Cilantro Leaves – roughly chopped.

Warm Tortillas – I’m a huge fan of shredded pork in corn tortillas. Soft flour tortillas are a great alternative.

There are 2 soft shelled shredded pork tacos with salsa. The tacos are on a marble plate that is on a wooded surface.

Helpful Tools and Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Large kitchen knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Slow cooker
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Two forks
  • Large fry pan

How To Make

  • Season the Pork – In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub or brush oil over the entire piece. Sprinkle the dry rub over the entire piece of pork and pat it down with your hands.

Recipe Tip – You can use bone-in or out pork but it needs to be skinless so the seasoning sticks to it. 

There is a large black oval slow cooker with a raw piece of pork in it. There is cut up onion, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in the pot. There is a squeezed cut in half lime and orange in front of the pot. There is a handheld citrus juicer laying in front of the pot. Items are on a white surface.
  • Flavoring – Place pork in a slow cooker (aka crock pot) and add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno peppers. You don’t need to spread ingredients out.
  • Next top with fresh lime juice and orange juice.
  • Slow Cook – Cover and cook on low until the pork is tender enough to pull apart. (See recipe card for different weights and cooking times)
There is a pile of shredded pork on a white cutting board with two forks.
  • Shred The Pork – Remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly on a cutting board.
  • Remove the fat cap. (it will gently pull off with a fork). Then shred the pork using two forks.
There is a large black pan with shredded pork in it.
  • Brown –  Heat a large skillet and fry over medium-high heat until small pieces become brown, using some of the leftover juices to keep the pork moist.
  • Don’t skip this step, it’s what takes carnitas to the next level! (see FAQ’s)
  • Just before serving, drizzle a little bit more of the juice and serve hot!
There are 3 soft shelled shredded pork tacos in a paper lined tray. There are refried beans and corn kernels in the tray. There is a bowl of shredded pork, a bowl of sliced avocado, and a bowl of salsa in the background. Items are on a white surface.

​What to serve with Spicy Pork 

A favorite thing of mine is spicy pork stuffed in a warm corn tortilla topped with chopped onion, queso fresco, and fresh chopped cilantro.

This great recipe is so versatile! I use spicy pork in Empanadas, on Tostadas, and even in a burrito bowl for a fun alternative.

Great side dishes to have with Spicy Pork Tacos

Whether you’re hosting a taco night with friends or looking for an easy weeknight meal, I know this pork recipe is going to be a hit!

So fire up your slow cooker and ready to enjoy some delicious carnitas!

Cheers! Laura

Yield: 6-8 servings

Spicy Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos (Slow Cooker)

There are 2 soft shelled shredded pork tacos with salsa and lime wedges. There are soft flat taco shells next to the tacos. Items are on a marble plate that is on a wooded surface.

This Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas recipe is one the easiest pork dishes you will ever make! 

It honestly takes 10 minutes to prep the ingredients and toss everything in a slow cooker. Then let the slow cooker simmer for 8 hours for the most amazing fall-apart tender pork goodness!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 onion (medium-chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 lime - juiced
  • 1 orange - juiced
  • Cilantro leaves - roughly chopped
  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Optional toppings - pickled red onion, sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado, hot sauce, queso fresco, and lime wedges.

Instructions

  1. Mix the dry rub (chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper). 
  2. Rub or brush oil over the entire piece. 
  3. Sprinkle the dry rub over the entire piece of pork and pat it down with your hands.
  4. Place pork in a slow cooker, fat cap up.
  5. Toss in the chopped onions, garlic, and jalapeno peppers. You don't need to spread ingredients out. 
  6. Next squeeze in the fresh lime juice and orange juice.
  7. Cover and cook on low.
  8. Once the pork is tender enough to fall apart, remove it and let cool slightly on a cutting board. Remove the fat cap. (it will gently pull off with a fork). 
  9. Shred the pork using two forks.
  10. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. 
  11. Spread the shredded pork in the pan in a single layer, and drizzle some of the leftover juices over it.  Let the juices evaporate without stirring. Turn all the pieces and sear the other side for a quick minute. – you want crispy bits but also moist tender pieces. Don't crowd the pan. Brown the pork in batches if necessary.
  12. Just before serving, drizzle a little bit more of the juice and serve hot.

Notes

Weight and Slow Cooker Times

2-3 pounds: 8 hours on low or 3 hours on high.

3-6 pounds: 10 hours on low or 6 hours on high.

6-8 pounds: 12 hours on low or 8 hours on high. A larger crock pot may be needed.

What to serve with Spicy Pork 

A favorite thing of mine is spicy pork stuffed in a warm corn tortilla topped with chopped onion, queso fresco, and fresh chopped cilantro.

This great recipe is so versatile! I use spicy pork in Empanadas, on Tostadas, and even in a burrito bowl for a fun alternative.

Some great side dishes to have with Spicy Pork Tacos are Refried Beans, Seasoned Rice, Corn Casserole, and Mexican Macaroni Salad.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 636mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 31g

Did you make this recipe?

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Frequently Asked Question

Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe?

While pork shoulder (pork butt) is traditionally used for carnitas, due to its rich flavor and tender texture when slow-cooked, you can also use pork tenderloin or pork roast.

Can I brown the pork in the oven?

Yes, you can however I used to brown shredded pork on a baking sheet in the oven and sometimes the meat would dry out. Trust me when I say that browning shredded pork in a large skillet or a well-seasoned cast iron is the ticket! You will never go back to oven browning!

What is the best way to store shredded pork?

There are a couple of ways to store shredded pork. If you plan on making extra pork to freeze and use at a later time, shred the meat but don’t fry it. Store the meat and the broth separately. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, reheat the broth on low heat, brown the pork per recipe, drizzling with the broth.


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