Spicy Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

I have always loved Fridays for as long as I can remember.  I was born on a Friday.  I try to do any cleaning that needs done earlier in the week so I can run errands on Fridays.  Any day I don’t have to clean is always a good day!  And, it is the start of the weekend.  But I think the real reason may go back to my childhood.  My mom often made tacos on Friday nights for dinner, my favorite food in all the world.  (It’s always been about the food for me!):)  Then she let us eat them on TV trays in the family room while we watched “The Brady Bunch”.  It just didn’t get any better than that!  But now there is another reason to love Fridays – Fiesta Fridays over at the Novice Gardener‘s blog.  She hosts a great start to the weekend every Friday.  Click this link and check out all the other wonderful ideas for celebrating the weekend.  This post is about what I will take to the virtual Fiesta.  What could be more appropriate than a carnitas taco recipe!

Pork Carnitas

I made these for the 1st time last week, and they were some of the best tacos I’ve ever had.  The meat in this recipe is so flavorful.  It is smoky and a little bit spicy and so tender, it just falls apart.  The best part is that it is also a crock pot recipe so you just have to throw everything into a crock pot and turn it on.  At the end of the day, if you like, you can take the meat and put it under the broiler so you get a little crispness on the edges that tastes incredible.  I looked at a lot of carnitas recipes before settling on this one, and almost all of them contain orange juice.  I really didn’t want my tacos to taste like oranges so was a little hesitant to try it. The amazing thing is you don’t taste the orange juice at all.  It blends with the other ingredients to create a whole new flavor, and that flavor is out of this world!Pork Carnitas

Life was so much simpler back when I was a little girl sitting in front of a TV tray eating tacos.  Sometimes I miss those days.  But, fortunately I can still eat yummy tacos, and we have the Brady Bunch DVD’s in case life gets too complicated.  Happy Friday everyone!

Spicy Pork Carnitas

  • Servings: 12-15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 4 lb. pork butt roast (for flavor it is important the roast is this size)
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil or bacon grease
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt (I used kosher)
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder (I think it is important to use ancho and not regular chile powder – it can be found at most grocery stores in AZ or a more gourmet store)
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • corn tortillas
  • garnishes for tacos such as cilantro, purple onion, cheese, avocado, tomatoes, or salsa
  1. Smear the oil or bacon grease on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Cut the pork into large chunks and place inside the slow cooker.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients around the pork.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours, until the pork is fork tender.  Use 2 forks to shred the meat into the juices.
  5. If you like your carnitas crispy on the edges (like it’s served in restaurants) use a slotted spoon to scoop the meat out of the juices and spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet.  Place on the upper oven rack and broil for 2-5 minutes, until darker crispy edges form.  DO NOT take your eyes off the broiler – you can burn the carnitas quickly!  You just want the edges of the meat to be a little darker.
  6. You can heat up corn tortillas in one big bunch wrapped in foil in the oven on 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until warmed through, or heat them up individually in the microwave as needed for about 10 seconds.
  7. Place a spoonful of meat in each taco shell.  Drizzle some of the juices from the meat over it.  Then add whatever toppings you like such as cilantro, purple onion, cheese, tomatoes, avocados or salsa.  Enjoy!  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on A Spicy Perspective 

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @







About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (cookazido.com)
This entry was posted in Company, Main Dish, Mexican, Party Recipes, Recipes, Weeknight Meals and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Spicy Pork Carnitas

  1. Lori says:

    Hi Shari- I love Mexican food, and boy do these look good! I enjoyed reading your post!

  2. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #9 | The Novice Gardener

  3. Nancy says:

    Fabulous dish…I was just searching for a pork carnitas recipe yesterday, and here you are serving it up! Yours looks delicious 🙂 I guess my search is over! [I think this is the second time a post of yours has coincided with a near future meal of mine!]

    • Shari says:

      Thanks, Nancy! That is so interesting that some of our posts are coinciding with each other. I think that means we have similar tastes. That has happened to me with a couple other bloggers, too. It is very fun to meet people this way. I just wish it could be in person! I think you will love this carnitas recipe. I don’t remember if I mentioned in the post that I used fresh squeezed orange juice as I had just picked some off of our tree. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not because I haven’t made them yet with canned OJ, but will probably do that next time to see. I hope you enjoy them. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Ngan R. says:

    Shari, these tacos look fantastic! I just want to reach through the screen and eat one (or three). I forgot The Brady Brunch played on Friday nights–we used to all watch that show as a family too, with desserts in our laps. How about you make these and I’ll bring some dulce de leche cake over and we watch reruns? 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much, Ngan! I think your plan for tacos and dulce de leche cake and reruns sounds wonderful! That’s so interesting that you have a similar memory with your family and “The Brady Bunch”. It is the little things in life sometimes that end up meaning a lot. Thanks for sharing that with me. I appreciate you stopping by!

  5. Yum! I bet these flavours are AMAZING. I don’t make Mexican food all that often, but when I gotta have it, I gotta have it!

    Thanks for sharing this one. I can almost taste it now…

    • Shari says:

      Hi Ruth, I think you will love this recipe. Probably will be one of my favorites I have found this year. Just a note – I used oranges off my tree for the OJ in the recipe. I don’t know if canned OJ would be the same, but I need to try it out that way because it would be a lot easier if it tastes just the same. Anyway, I hope you get to try it sometime. Thanks so much for your comment!

  6. saucygander says:

    This sounds like a gorgeous recipe, and I loved your story of uncomplicated childhood Friday nights. Those were the best. Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comments! Fiesta Friday is such a fun way to meet new people. I look forward to checking out your blog and reading your posts. Have a great day!

  7. Patty Nguyen says:

    Carnitas are my favorite, Shari! I’m going to have to try yours soon! I love all the spices you add and I can just taste them now. 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much, Patty! I think it will end up being one of my favorite recipes this year. It is one recipe where the sum of its ingredients end up making a whole new flavor. I love those kind. I hope you get to try it sometime. I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  8. HavensBakes says:

    These look amazing!! And why not enjoy a few of them while watching old reruns? I’m seriously thinking about using this recipe as an excuse to do that right about now… 😉

    • Shari says:

      Thank you very much! I think it is a recipe I will make again and again. And the reruns just make it all the better!:) I hope you get to try the recipe sometime. It is so easy to make. I really appreciate you dropping by!

  9. chefjulianna says:

    Mmmmm! Thanks so much for bringing these to the party! I am so full from everything else I have been chowing down on at this fiesta, but I am still gobbling up your Carnitas! Wow!

    • Shari says:

      Hi Julianna! It is so nice to meet you. I know, I’m getting pretty full, too, but everything tastes so good!:) I am excited to stop by your place and check out your blog. Thanks so much for dropping in to chat!

  10. thebrookcook says:

    Looks AMAZING! Great photos too. I have so much trouble photographing tacos… 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Thanks so much! I really had trouble with photographing the tacos, too. Trying to keep them open was challenging and I ended up using a lime to prop them up. I appreciate your nice comments. It’s great to meet you, and I look forward to checking out your blog as well.

  11. bitsofnice says:

    Love love this type of food! Looks super tasty!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much! They really were flavorful. So easy to make, too. I hope you get a chance to try them sometime. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. You’ve finally made it to the fiesta, yay! So happy you’re here partying with us. I love spicy, I love carnitas, so this is right up my alley. And I enjoy reading your reminiscence of the happy, carefree Fridays growing up. Great post, Shari! Thanks for sharing this at the fiesta! 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Thank you, Angie! I had so much fun at your party. You invited a lot of really nice people that I’m glad I met! Great food, too!:) I hope to join in again soon!

  13. Hi Shari, what a wonderful dish, I love Spicy Pork Carnitas, yours look delicious. I could eat about 4-5 of these 🙂 I worked in Guadalajara Mexico for many years and this was my most favorite, the spicier and the hotter the better as long as I had a cup full of limes!!


    • Shari says:

      Thanks you very much! I agree with you about spicy food. I love it. Fortunately we have some great Mexican food restaurants here in Arizona. I appreciate you stopping by, Michael!

  14. rozpaige says:

    You’re right Shari! Fridays are just THE BEST! Sometimes I think that Saturday gives Friday a good rival, but nah, Friday wins! Recipes such your delicious pork carnitas especially help celebrate the end of a hard work week and the beginning of a wonderful weekend of doing what we love! I can’t wait to try this recipe Shari and thank you for sharing more of your Arizona life with me!

    • Shari says:

      I agree with you, Roz. Saturdays are pretty great, too! I hope you get to try this recipe sometime. It is so simple, yet so flavorful. I would love to experience spring in the southeastern states. I bet it is beautiful there. Thanks so much for your comment!

  15. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #10 | The Novice Gardener

  16. Pingback: Shout-Out Sunday…Spuds, Carnitas, Steak Sandwiches & A Bonus Sweet! | feasting with friends

  17. kcinaz says:

    Shari… you are doing such a great job with your blog… you are on your way to a spectacular cookbook. I’ll be your first buyer. Me and mine love Mexican food and these look really good.

    • Shari says:

      Wow,thank you! You are really sweet. I just love Mexican food, too. I have wanted to put more Mexican food recipes on my blog, but turns out, it is really difficult to get it right. I’ve made enchilada sauce 3 times, and still didn’t like it enough to post it. I am still working on it, though. No wonder most of us just go to a restaurant for good Mexican food. What is your favorite Mexican food restaurant in the valley? Your kind words are very much appreciated, Karen!

      • kcinaz says:

        Give Tia Rosa a try. But, the one in Mesa just had a kitchen fire and they are rebuilding. I think there is one in Chandler. They have the best Carne Asada around and the decor is authentic. They bring all the interior decor from native Mexico. Let me know if you get a chance to visit them. Their fish or shrimp tacos are also some of the best.

      • Shari says:

        Thanks so much for the recommendation, Karen! We will have to give it a try.

  18. Hi Shari,

    I LOVE Fridays too… something to do with it being the end of the working week I think!
    I’ve been admiring those Fiesta Friday recipes over at the Novice Gardiners – maybe I’ll pluck up my courage and join in with your Fiesta!
    Emma 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Yes, it being the end of a work week would definitely have something to do with it!:) You really should join in on Fiesta Fridays. Angie always invites such nice people to her parties. I have only been once, but am planning to attend again soon. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Pingback: Oven Crisped Chimichangas | feasting with friends

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