Seasoned and moist, this slow cooker beer braised pork carnitas is so full of flavor, very easy to make and perfect for Taco Tuesday or any night of the week! Got leftovers? Find leftover pulled pork recipes here.
As I’ve shared before, we love a good roasted pork roast. Whether we are making pulled pork sandwiches or using up leftovers to make pulled pork nachos, we have found this cut of meat to be very versatile and something the whole family loves to eat.
We make pulled pork in the oven and really love a smoked pork roast on the grill. Today I am sharing my recipe for slow cooker beer braised pork carnitas. Fast and easy and oh so delicious, this recipe is a keeper!
Best cut of pork for carnitas
Carnitas is Spanish for small pieces of braised pork. And here in Southern California, carnitas means tender bites of deliciousness. Oh, and tacos, burritos, and anything else you want to roll around this slow cooked pork.
If you are making pulled pork or carnitas, you have several choices in meat cuts. The most common choice is the pork shoulder. Another popular cut of meat for pulled pork is a Boston butt. Strange name, but it is from the high part of the pig’s shoulder, above the shoulder blade, and not the actual butt of the pig.
The picnic shoulder, or picnic ham, is a shoulder cut with the shank attached. This cut is cheaper than the other cuts because it requires less work butchering it, and it contains more bone. You can use any of these cuts of meat in this recipe.
Why brown the pork roast first
Once the roast is trimmed of its excess chunks of fat, season it with some chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. If you like things spicy, feel free to turn the heat up by adding a serrano chile into the slow cooker or season your roast with your favorite hot chile powder.
My husband is not a fan of spicy and honestly, neither are the little ones, so my recipe is not spicy at all.
When your roast is seasoned, you can totally throw your seasoned pork shoulder in the slow cooker or you can brown it first. Browning it might seem like an extra step of unnecessary work, but the browning process sears the meat on the outside so that all the juice gets retained on the inside. You also get those wonderful browned bits in your pan, which you deglaze with water and add into the slow cooker.
How to serve carnitas
Carnitas can be served a number of different ways. You can wrap it up in a burrito with rice, beans and guacamole. You can serve it taco style, making small street tacos, use crunchy taco shells or a number of different tortilla options out there.
You can also serve carnitas as a stew over rice with beans and all the fixings on the side. There really is no wrong way to serve up delicious carnitas, so make up a batch and enjoy!
- 1 4-lb bone in pork shoulder
- 1 TBS chile powder
- 1 TBS garlic powder
- 1 TBS onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 7 sage leaves, fresh
- 22 fl oz bottle of beer, any kind
- In a small bowl combine the spices and seasonings.
- Rub spice mixture all over pork shoulder roast.
- Heat a large non-stick pan over high heat and add olive oil.
- Place roast into the hot oil and sear meat until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Flip roast over and continue to brown each side of the roast.
- Remove roast from heat and place in a large 6-quart slow cooker.
- Spread onion slices and sage leaves around the roast.
- Pour beer over the roast.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on high heat for 4 hours.
- Pull bone off the roast and discard. Cut roast into chunks and cook for an additional 2 hours.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board or rimmed baking sheet. Use 2 forks or your fingers to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.
- Transfer shredded carnitas to a serving, pour juice over it (if desired).
- Serve with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese and/or sautéed onions and peppers.
If you like a bit of heat, add a serrano chile to the slow cooker or stir in a little smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 718Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 596mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 54g