Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas


For a low-carb dinner, stuff this homemade pork carnitas recipe inside lettuce or cabbage leaves, or for a Mexican pork dinner, spoon it into tortillas.

Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas
Photo: Andy Lyons
Prep Time:
25 mins
Slow Cook Time:
9 hrs
Total Time:
25 mins
12 tacos


  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into three pieces

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 small red onion, cut into very thin wedges

  • 12 romaine lettuce leaves or savoy cabbage leaves

  • 1 recipe Tomato-Avocado Salsa

  • Lime wedges and/or snipped fresh cilantro (optional)

Tomato-Avocado Salsa - Low-Carb/Atkins

  • 1 lime

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes

  • 1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. In a bowl combine the first eight ingredients (through cayenne pepper). Sprinkle half of the spice mixture all over the pork pieces; rub in with your fingers. Place roast pieces in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Add water to cooker. Cover and cook on low 9 to 10 hours or on high 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from slow cooker. Using two forks, coarsely shred meat; discard any fat. In a bowl toss together meat, remaining spice mixture, and the onion.

  3. Spoon meat mixture evenly onto lettuce leaves. Top with salsa. Roll leaves up around filling. If desired, serve with lime wedges and/or cilantro.

Tomato-Avocado Salsa - Low-Carb/Atkins

  1. Remove 1/2 teaspoons zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from lime. In a bowl combine zest, juice, and remaining ingredients.

Finishing Option

For crisp carnitas, in a large skillet heat 1/3 cup canola oil over medium heat 2 minutes. Add half of the pork and half of the red onion. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until meat is browned and crisp on edges and onion is just tender, using a large spatula to turn meat and onion mixture once halfway through cooking. (Avoid stirring the mixture constantly or meat will not brown well.) Using a slotted spoon, remove meat and onion from oil; keep warm. Repeat with remaining meat and onion. If necessary, add additional oil for the second batch. Continue as directed in Step 3.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

261 Calories
12g Fat
8g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 261
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 593mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 12.1mg 60%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 838mg 18%
Folate, total 48.7mcg
Vitamin B-12 1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.7mg

*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.

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