Whole30 Slow Cooker Carnitas

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Moving to Southern California was very enticing to me because of its claims to having the nation's BEST mexican food, and I cannot argue this point one bit now that I live here!

I could eat mexican food all day every day, and after I moved here from the East Coast, I was introduced to some more authentic dishes and traditional preparations of some of their most delicious recipes. I wanted to perfect the flavor combinations found in this regional cuisine and begin mastering some amazing recipes of my own.

One of the things I'm really passionate about is using my food and beverage background with cooking, and taking authentic recipes and putting a Whole30 spin on it, to create an equally delicious dish without any harmful chemicals or unnecessary additives found in a lot of today's products.

Today, you're about to learn a lip smackin', finger lickin', explosion of flavor recipe that is a classic in most mexican shops and homes: pork carnitas.

A version of shredded pork, this recipe is sure to be a new favorite in your home, and the best part: it's made with all wholesome, clean ingredients that will nourish your body, leave you happily satisfied and have you coming back for more!

I like to enjoy this recipe over mexican cauliflower rice (recipe here) or in grain-free tortillas for taco night. It's tremendous on its own, too, with just some cilantro and red onion as garnish. Whatever your preference, the good news is that it's DELICIOUS no matter what!

So, let's get into it, shall we?


Serves: 6-8

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 6-10 hours (depending on low/high setting)


Marinade Rub

3 tbsp avocado oil

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp EACH: coconut aminos; ground cumin

2 tsp EACH: dried oregano; sea salt

1 tsp EACH: onion powder; chili powder; garlic powder

1/2 tsp EACH: black pepper; smoked paprika

Other Ingredients

4-5 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder (NO bone!)

1 tbsp avocado oil

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 bay leaves

1 whole onion, chopped

2 jalapenos, chopped


Heat 1 tbsp avocado oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and place pork shoulder/butt in pan, searing all sides for about one minute, until the sides begin to brown.

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a small bowl, add your pork into your slow cooker, and rub all over pork once its cooled down a bit. Be sure to really get the marinade rub into every nook and cranny, and rub for a few minutes to ensure its fully covered.

Pour your orange juice and lime juice into the slow cooker, and then add your two bay leaves . Top with the onions and jalapenos, and let it cook:

8-10 hours on LOW

5-6 hours on HIGH

The pork should be super tender, so when its pierced with a fork, it immediately begins to fall apart. When it does, it's ready!

Transfer pork from slow cooker to a large bowl and begin shredding the pork, removing any excess fat that becomes visible while shredding. After all pork is shredded, take a strainer and place over the top of the shredded pork and pour the remnants of the slow cooker into bowl. Discard the remains in the strainer or save to put on top of your carnitas.

Toss the liquid and shredded pork together and let it sit for 15 minutes, while heating your oven to 450 degrees and lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Add your shredded pork to the lined baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, and crank to broil for another 5-10 minutes, to crisp up the pork edges and caramelize all the juices to seal in all the flavors. Keep an eye on the pork when broiling to ensure you do not burn it too much...you want it a tad crispy, but not burnt.

Repeat the above step until all pork is cooked in the oven, and serve with fresh lime wedges and your favorite toppings.

I have made this version from a few different recipes I've tried and tested, and combined all the flavors without compromising the taste and quality ingredients needed to create this delicious recipe! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and to yummy eats, friends- CHEERS!

This is a wonderful recipe to share to your boards on Pinterest, so go ahead and share this goodness with all of your friends and followers!

And if you aren't following me on social media, you can find me on Pinterest and on Instagram, too!

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