Pork Carnitas Street Tacos (Crispy + Delicious!)

These Pork Street Tacos are easy to make at home with your slow cooker. Popping the carnitas under the broiler at the end ensures that they get nice and crispy!

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m a sucker for a good slow cooker recipe. I love the fact that I can do all the prep work the night before, turn the crockpot on in the morning and be welcomed home to a fully cooked meal.

Gone are the days of the basic crockpot roast.

Instead, let’s get reacquainted with the crockpot. Pull it out of the closet and try something new like this Butter Chicken, Osso Buco or Chicken Tortilla soup.

Or, how about these Slow Cooker Carnitas?

Crispy carnitas on baking sheet.

They’re flavorful, crispy, salty and perfect for loading into street tacos.

Street tacos are much different than the Americanized version found most often here in the states.

Missing is the cheese, sour cream, and salsa. The main focus of these tacos is the meat.

The meat being these amazing Slow Cooker Carnitas. Slow cooking ensures that they’re tender, flavorful, and so easy to make!

Ingredients needed

  • Pork Shoulder – Bone in or boneless, slightly trimmed of excess fat. You can also use pork butt.
  • Spices – Garlic salt, cumin, oregano, brown sugar, basil, coriander, chili powder, and paprika. Or, simply swap in this taco seasoning.
  • Fresh Oranges + Limes
  • For Serving – Tortillas and your favorite toppings. See below for suggestions ↓↓↓

How to make it

  • In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  • Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork.
  • Place pork in your slow cooker and squeeze the lime and orange juice over the pork.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours, or HIGH for 5-6 hours, until the pork is tender.
  • Use forks to shred the meat.
  • Preheat your oven broiler. Arrange the pulled pork in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Taste the pork for saltiness. You may want to sprinkle some additional salt on top. (I especially like using my homemade citrus salts at this stage of the recipe!)
  • Place the shredded pork underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Enjoy the carnitas in flour or corn tortillas with your favorite toppings!

How do you get crispy carnitas?

  • To make your slow cooker carnitas crispy, just pop them under the broiler with a sprinkle of salt when they’re done cooking. After a few minutes, they’ll become browned and slightly crisp and perfect.
  • Tip: Don’t walk away from it. Keep an eye on meat to make sure it doesn’t burn or become overly browned.

Topping ideas

I generally like to serve my carnitas street tacos simply with just some cilantro, onions and cotija cheese. However, there are lots of great toppings that you can pile on:

Pork street tacos arranged on white serving platter.

How to make ahead & store

Store leftover carnitas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Or, freeze for up to three months. I like portion the cooked pork into individual freezer bags and freeze them flat.

Recipe FAQs

What if I can’t find pork shoulder? 

You can also use pork butt for this recipe. You want something with a good amount of fat. Lean cuts, like a pork tenderloin, will not become fall apart tender, which is what you want for this carnitas recipe. 

Are carnitas and pulled pork the same thing? 

Pulled pork and carnitas are both slow braised in cooking liquid or fat. However, carnitas are finished off under a broiler so that they become crispy at the end.

Is carne asada and carnitas the same thing? 

Carne asada is marinated beef that is most often grilled. Carnitas are made from pork, that is braised until it is fall-apart tender. 

What is pastor vs carnitas? 

Al pastor and carnitas are both pork, however they are prepared differently. Carnitas are slow braised in cooking liquid or fat. Al pastor is marinated (often with pineapple), then put on a hot grill to caramelize. 

What to serve with them

Wine pairings

  • An authentic Mexican dish is always excellent with beer. I went with a classic Corona, but feel free to choose any light Mexican beer of your choice.
  • If you’d like to pair these tacos with a bottle of wine, a Tempranillo would be an excellent choice for complimenting the spices in the meat.
  • Margaritas – Try this one, this one, or this one.
Pork carnitas street tacos ready to be eaten with toppings.

More taco recipes

More slow cooker recipes

Did you try this pork street tacos recipe?

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Pork street tacos arranged on white oval plate with avocado and jalapenos.

Pork Carnitas Street Tacos

These Pork Street Tacos are easy to make at home with your slow cooker. Popping the carnitas under the broiler at the end ensures that they get nice and crispy!
5 from 23 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

Carnitas

  • 4-6 pound pork shoulder (or pork butt, slightly trimmed of excess fat (bone in or boneless) )
  • 1 Tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 oranges (juiced)
  • 1 lime (juiced)

Instructions

Carnitas

  • Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and sweet paprika.
  • Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork. Place pork in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • Pour the orange and lime juice over the pork.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours, or HIGH for 5-6 hours, or until pork is tender and falling apart. Use a fork to shred the meat.
  • Preheat oven broiler to HIGH. Arrange the pork in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Taste the pork for saltiness. You may want to sprinkle some additional salt on top.
  • Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes. (Don’t walk away from it. Keep an eye on meat to make sure it doesn’t burn or become overly browned).
  • Enjoy in tortillas with your favorite toppings.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 1424mg | Potassium: 741mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 29.9mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2.8mg

This post was originally published in 2015. It was updated in 2024 to add new information. The pork carnitas street tacos recipe has changed slightly as well.

30 thoughts on “Pork Carnitas Street Tacos (Crispy + Delicious!)”

  1. I’ve been dreaming of having a taco party for several years. Now that I am back in the states. . .I think it is time. From the pickled onions to the pork. . .I love that everything is made ahead so that I can focus on other things vs running around cooking the day of the party. Love it!!

    Reply
    • Great idea for a party Lynn. I didn’t even think about how easy this would make things when you’re entertaining. Now you can enjoy your company and not be stuck in the kitchen! Have fun!!!

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for the recipe! I just made it for my family tonight and it was perfect! It was a crowd-pleaser and definitely a keeper. I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes.

    Reply
  3. Question, when you put the pork in the slow cooker what liquid did you cook it in? Water, beer, ??? I know you added the juices from the fruit but what else was in the cooker. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Oh my yum! Made your recipe this weekend and we all loved it! Flavorful, but not too spicy. I followed your recipe except that I didn’t broil the meat in the oven — we were too hungry. We just ate the shredded meat from the slow cooker. This is moving into my “Favorite Recipes” board on Pinterest! Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
  5. Made these today. They were amazing.!! These really remind me of eating the tacos in Mexico. Delicious and authentic favors. So simple to make. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  6. It says total time is 1 hour 10 minutes. It takes 10-12 to cook. So total time is actually 11-12 hours. And prep only totoototook like 10 minutes, not an hour. When people are on a time crunch, this information is important.

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    Hi Erin
    I made this today and WOW!!! It was the BOMB! We had a family gathering so I used a 6.75lb Shoulder Butt Roast. I followed the recipe to the “T” and it was delicious! There was great flavor and not too salty. Not to mention, it was so very easy. My son was begging to take the leftovers home with him!
    This cut of meat is inexpensive – Carniceria’s charge $7.50-$11.00/lb…I will never but their greasy offerings again!
    Thank you for this Great recipe! I will use it many more times in the future!!!

    Reply
  8. 5 stars
    The meat is fantastic. I am making the pickled onions for a later making of this since i didn’t have time to let them sit.
    Do you have a recipe for the pineapple salsa. There is some store bought ones but i do like fresh.

    Reply
5 from 23 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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