Pork Carnitas Tacos with Cherry-Chipotle Salsa


Tangy cherries simmer with cumin- and cinnamon-rubbed pork shoulder to create a not-your-ordinary taco recipe.

Pork Carnitas Tacos with Cherry-Chipotle Salsa
Photo: Blaine Moats
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 30 mins


  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 ½ pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces

  • ¼ cup manteca* or coconut oil

  • 1 ¼ pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted (about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 12 cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoon lime juice

  • 12 - 16 5-6 inch corn tortillas, warmed

  • Sliced radishes

  • Lime wedges


  1. In a large bowl combine 1 teaspoon kosher salt, the cumin, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon chile powder, the black pepper, and cinnamon. Add pork; toss to coat.

  2. Spread manteca or coconut oil in the bottom of a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Place pork on top. Add 1 1/2 cups cherries and the garlic. Cover and cook on high 4 to 5 hours or low 8 to 10 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, for salsa, chop remaining 2 cups cherries. In a medium bowl combine chopped cherries, onion, cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chile powder. Chill, covered, until serving time.

  4. Preheat broiler. Using a slotted spoon, remove pork to a shallow baking pan. Using two forks, shred pork. Spread evenly. Broil 4 inches from heat for 4 minutes.

  5. Remove cherries and garlic from slow cooker with a slotted spoon; stir into crisped pork. Serve mixture in warm tortillas with cherry salsa, additional cilantro and red onion, sliced radishes, and lime wedges. Serves 6.


Traditionally carnitas are cooked in manteca (fresh lard). Avoid the shelf-stable lard on grocery store shelves; instead look in the deli section of a Latin market. If you can't find fresh lard, use coconut oil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

442 Calories
11g Fat
41g Carbs
45g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 442
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 125mg 42%
Sodium 492mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 45g
Vitamin C 13.7mg 69%
Calcium 90mg 7%
Iron 3.5mg 19%
Potassium 1095mg 23%
Folate, total 13.8mcg
Vitamin B-12 1.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 1.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Related Articles