Using a slow-cooker to braise pork means you can start this recipe in the morning, go about your day, and just sizzle the meat right before dinner. Store any leftover carnitas in the cooking liquid and use for sandwiches, or serve over polenta.

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Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

40 mins
8 hrs 40 mins
Serves 6 (serving size: 2 tacos)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with the salt and pepper. Add pork to skillet and brown on all sides, 12 to 14 minutes. Place pork in a 6-qt. slow-cooker.

  • Discard fat from skillet and wipe clean with paper towels. Stir together broth, adobo sauce, and achiote paste in skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over pork, then add orange zest.

  • Cover slow-cooker and cook on low until pork is very tender, about 8 hours. Lift meat to a cutting board or platter. Pour cooking liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a measuring cup, then discard solids. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Using two forks, shred meat into large chunks.

  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in cleaned cast-iron skillet over high heat. Arrange half of meat in an even layer in skillet and cook, undisturbed, until deeply caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cooking liquid; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining 1 tbsp. oil, pork, and 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

  • Toast tortillas over an open flame 20 to 30 seconds per side and wrap in a clean kitchen towel until ready to serve. Or, wrap in towel and microwave 1 minute to warm.

  • Serve pork with warm tortillas and pico de gallo.

  • Wine pairing: Lone Madrone 2013 Sheep Camp Zinfandel (Paso Robles; $45).

Nutrition Facts

852 calories; calories from fat 64%; protein 49g; fat 61g; saturated fat 18g; carbohydrates 25g; fiber 2.6g; sodium 705mg; cholesterol 188mg.