Carnitas: the Mexican pulled pork

I will keep this post short today. And I will share with you something kinda private because writing and chatting about it is therapeutic. Yesterday my father had heart surgery. It was scheduled since last fall so not due to any emergency but still it is a nerve racking experience. It felt like one of the longest days of my life, waiting for hours on end to get post operation news and to see him awake.

The surgery went very well and as of 3pm today he was taken out of ICU and is back in a regular room. He is good, tired but in much less pain than he had expected. We are all so relieved and we expect a nice recovery.

But let’s get to some food now. How about a little carnitas?

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Carnitas translates to “little meats”. Traditionally the pork is braised for a long time until it falls apart with a fork. I made my in a crock pot. It is very similar to pulled pork but the flavors are all Mexican.

When made in the oven the heat is turned up at the end so that the outside of the pork begins to crisp. I skipped this step but I could have fried it a bit in a pan if I had wanted. It was delicious served tender too on a nice bed of rice with chopped tomatoes and avocado.

The pulled pork could be great as well as part of Mexican recipes, like in the Old El Paso tacos recipes, then topped it with some salsa and guacamole. Check out all the Old El Paso recipes for a fiesta inspiration.

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The recipe comes from the Holiday Slow Cooker cookbook, by Jonnie Downing, which I have reviewded in the past with a lovely chuncky applesauce.

Carnitas: the Mexican pulled pork

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yield: 10 servings

Carnitas: the Mexican pulled pork

Carnitas, or little meats, is a traditional Mexican recipe. A pork butt is braised for a long time until it falls apart with a fork, just like pulled pork. This is the crock pot version.


  • 3 lb boneless pork butt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 4 cups chicken broth, heated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Mix the hot chicken broth with all the ingredients except the pork. Pour into the crock pot.
  2. Place the pork in the liquid, cover and cook for 6 hours on High.
  3. When ready the meat will be fork tender and ready to be shredded.

17 comments to Carnitas: the Mexican pulled pork

  • Yes Carnitas! That’s my first pick when I pick a selection of meat at a Mexican joint. :) Looks so yummy!

  • I am glad to hear that your father is ok, Evelyne!I love carnitas and your recipe looks amazing!

  • Thank you again all for your good wishes and keeping us in your thoughts. All is going super well and my dad should be going home on Sunday!

  • I’ve had this experience, but with my husband and I know exactly how you feel. Thank God medicine os so advanced and recovery is so much faster with less pain. I wish your dad recovers soon and I hope you’re feeling less stressed now.
    I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe. I have always wanted to try pulled pork, and now with the Mexican twist it’s going to be soon :)

  • The Squishy Monster

    I especially love the coriander that goes into a lot of Mexican dishes and taking just one look at your lovely moist and juicy pork, I’m won over =)

  • Wishing your Dad a super speedy recovery. I can imagine how hard it must be on the family. And you are a strong woman to be able to make such a delicious dish at a time of crisis. Well done!

  • i am so glad to hear your dad is recovering well. Sending you and your family lots of virtual hugs :)
    even though i don’t eat pork, your pictures are tempting me to make some of this carinta…lol

  • I love carnitas…I am really impressed by the yummilicious picture….I think, I can eat this the whole day and day after day….

  • Looks delicious! I would use this in tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Our family loves Mexican flavors.

  • I could live off Mexican food haha especially pulled pork, always so tasty and full of the best flavor!

  • Oh, Ev..I’m so glad to hear your Dad is ok. I’ve been there, although it was not scheduled, and it’s so incredibly scary. HUGS to you and your family. That said, I’ve made carnitas, but it didn’t look as good as yours. That second photo is exactly how I want it, with a plate of warm flour tortillas and hot sauce!

  • Miss Susan

    I just ate lunch but my mouth is watering again. :-)

  • Thank you all for you good wishes!

  • Your carnitas are so delicious! I need to use my slow cooker oftener.
    Eve, I am relieved to know that your father’s operation went well.

  • I am sure your daddy will have a very speedy recovery! He will need your support to recover and adjust to a new way of life but I am sure he will win this. The carnitas are perfect. I love Mexican!

  • Eve, I am glad to hear that your dad is ok! I know what you mean, it’s nerve wracking, even going under anesthetic! And as for this pork-divine! 😀

  • Liz

    Your carnita recipe sounds amazing…I haven’t made these in years…and don’t think I could even find the one I used. SO glad your dad did well…wishing him an uneventful recovery. xo