Let’s make taco night a special night.  Bypass the gritty ground beef with the taco seasoning envelope and those stale taco shells, that break when you bite into them ultimately spilling taco juice all over your white shirt.  Because that is usually how it works doesn’t it?

The great thing about these tacos is that they can come together as easily as the other tacos with the use of a slowcooker.  Contrary to popular belief a slowcooker is just for pot roast.  Don’t stereotype the slowcooker, it can do some pretty cool things.

First you need a 3 lbs pork shoulder (butt) cut into cubes.  To make your life easier get your hands on a boneless one if you can.


Juice 2 large oranges and you should have about 3/4 cup of orange juice.


Then squeeze the juice out of 1/2 a lime.  Reserve the rest of the lime for garnish later.


You will also need to mince 7 cloves of garlic and chop 1/4 cup of cilantro. Which I did photograph but it was horribly blurry so lets just pretend there is a picture of minced garlic and cilantro below. 😀

In the slowcooker combine all the ingredients, pork, juices, garlic, cumin, salt, cilantro and stock.


Give it a good stir and try to arrange all the pork into a single layer at the bottom of the pot.

Cover and set on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.


Once the pork is done, it should be tender enough that you can shred it with a spoon.  Heat a stainless steel or aluminum pan with 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Using a slotted spoon transfer the pork from the pot to the pan in batches.  Fry the pork until brown and crispy, breaking it up as you fry it.

Do not crowd the pan with pork for best results.   If you like you can deglaze the pan with about 3 tbs of beer per batch and cook till evaporated.


Fill flour or corn tortillas with pork  and garnish with chopped onion, avocado, fresh cilantro and a lemon wedge.


Here is to redefining taco night!  Trust me your family will love it and it just as easy to make as its predecessor.   The pork is tender and flavorful with all the savory elements of an authentic taco at a stand taco.

I admit there was a time that I left my slowcooker in the corner collecting dust because I thought it was just a glorified pot roast cooker, but I was so wrong.  The slowcooker can produce culinary genius if used to its fullest potential.

Here are a few more slow cooker recipes on The Noshery:  Ropa Vieja con Arepas – Slow Cooke Puerto Rican Pork (Pernil – Pollo Fricase (Chicken in Wine Sauce)

If you like reserve 3 cups of the pork and it’s juices for a great Posole soup, which I will be posting before the end of the week.

See notes before starting this dish.
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (butt) roast, cut into cubes
  • ¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • juice from ½ a lemon
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup of chicken or beef stock
  • 1 Mexican beer (optional)
  1. In a slowcooker combine all ingredients and stir. Arrange the pork so it sits as a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Set slow cooker to high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  2. Once the pork is done, it should be tender enough that you can shred it with a spoon. Heat a stainless steel or aluminum pan with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon transfer the pork from the pot to the pan in batches. Fry the pork until brown and crispy, breaking it up as you fry it. Do not crowd the pan with pork for best results.
  3. If you like you can deglaze the pan with about 3 tbs of beer per batch and cook till evaporated.
  4. Serve on tortillas garnished with chopped onions, avocado, fresh cilantro and lime wedge.
I did not brown the pork before putting it into the slowcooker and I think I should have. I suggest seasoning the pork with the cumin and salt and browning it before putting it into the slowcooker. However I have not tired it which is why I did not add this to the actual recipe.

If you don't have a slow cooker you can do it stove top by combining all ingredients in a dutch oven or large heavy pot. Arrange the pork so it sits as a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Bring mixture to a boil and cover loosely. Allow meat to simmer until tender and liquid is evaporated, about 3 - 4 hours. If liquid evaporates and the pork in not yet fork tender, add more liquid and continue to simmer. Spoon pork with rendered fat into hot pan and continue recipe.

If you choose the slowcooker method you will have some juices in the pot when the pork is done. Strain this juice and reserve with 3 cups of pork for Posole soup.


  1. pippinchip says

    I don’t think I can stress enough how delicious this is. Ohhh my god.
    I browned the meat first as suggested… haven’t made it without browning, so I can’t compare, but it was phenomenal!

  2. says

    Messeidy, you are my hero! I make these carnitas all the time (and actually just posted a slightly tweaked version of them today!) and my husband absolutely adores the posole recipe you posted to use up leftovers. We make this in the crockpot and brown the whole pork roast beforehand. Amazing!

  3. Carla says

    great recipe. The pork is so tender. You can take it out of the crock pot and make your tacos without frying them for a healthier version. the flavor is great. I only cooked it for 4 hrs on high and came out perfect. so easy!!!!!! I am making my posole tomorrow! I was just wondering if you used the fried carnitas for the soup or the pork without frying it.

  4. Amy says

    This recipe is wrong, twice you write about lemon, but the photo show lime. I just put lemon in mine :( as that is what the recipe said but then noticed the photo of lime. Just making you aware. Hope they still turn out ok.

  5. Lisa says

    Amazing!! I used a cast iron skillet to crisp up the meat at the end and deglazing it with the beer made this dish perfect. I also used the skillet to heat up the corn tortillas so that they didn’t fall apart while eating the tacos. I added sliced grape tomatoes to the chopped avocados. My family said it was the best Mexican dish I’ve made in 20 years. Thank you!!

  6. Allison says

    I know this post is older, but I just wanted to say I made this for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious.

  7. Jennie says

    I was wondering if you can tell me what kind of chilies you used? There are so many different chilies and in Australia (where I live) they don’t have canned chillies. I once found a tin of roasted poblano chillies, which have a very distinct taste, at a specialty shop. Is that the kind you mean? I really want to make this but have had some crockpot disasters from using ingredients that ended up not being comparable.

    Thanks heaps

  8. Abbey says

    These were fabulous! I made them a couple nights ago and my husband (who is a huge authentic mexican food lover) LOVED them! It took a lot of work to keep him from eating the leftovers so we could make the Pasole… We are trying that tonight and hopefully its worth the sacrifice! At any rate, we are already planning to make them for our whole extended family at our next get together! Fabulous!

  9. Barb says

    These were great! Carnitas are now right up there with fish tacos for me. Thanks for a super recipe. I plan to also make the posole very soon.

  10. rose says

    Made this tonight and our tacos were great! Next time I think I will sear the pork longer and add orange zest/orange pieces to the crock pot for a tad more orange flavor. Thanks so much for this post – always wanted to make this at home and it was so easy/accessible with your recipe! Yum!!!

  11. says

    I’m just checking out the featured blogs on the foodie blogroll today.

    Great blog! I love your photography and food. I’ll be putting this in my reader.

    Excellent job on the carnitas. I like to use the left over tips from trimming spare ribs for making carnitas but pork shoulder like you used is more traditional. Yum!

  12. says

    Found you off PW and saw this recipe. My husband is Latino (Chilean) they don’t make anything like this, but we both love anything Latino. Anyway, I made this today and it is TO.DIE.FOR. We loved it. I saved the juice and some pork for the posole… can’t wait. So happy I found your site!

  13. says

    well now, this is a fine way to kick-start my saliva glands first thing in the morning! what a scrumptious batch of pig product–nicely done!

  14. says

    I love carnitas and these look great! Good idea using the crockpot. Because my crockpot isn’t out on the counter I usually forget about using it, but always love it when I do remember!

  15. says

    Love it! I’m in the midst of cooking only from my slow cooker for all of January so I’ll definitely have to give this one a try! thanks for the idea!

  16. says

    I use a marinade similar to this for carne asada, but never thought of using it for carnitas! And using the slow cooker for them is brilliant!


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