Pork Tenderloin Carnitas (The Best Crockpot Pulled Pork) Recipe

Are you looking for a new carnitas recipe? Maybe you have heard of pork tenderloin carnitas and aren’t sure how to make them? Or are you curious and want to know more?

No matter what the question is that brought you here, we have the answer for you! 

Finding out how to make pork tenderloin carnitas can be tricky, especially if you have never done it before.

Pork Tenderloin Carnitas (The Best Crockpot Pulled Pork) Recipe

You have heard about using crockpot pulled pork, but whenever you try to do it, it never goes to plan. You end up with mushy pork or rock-hard pork that leaves you frustrated and disappointed.

You wonder if you will ever master crockpot pulled pork and enjoy pork tenderloin carnitas. 

Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers for you! Keep reading for the best pork tenderloin carnitas. Using a crockpot to create delicious pulled pork, you will learn how to make a delicious meal that can be enjoyed by the whole family! 

What Are Carnitas?

Carnitas, or little meats, are a staple in Mexican cuisine. The meat is braised or simmered until tender. It is typically used in burritos, tacos, sandwiches, and more!

Packed full of flavor, you get plenty of protein making them a wonderful addition to your repertoire. 

Our recipe helps you to create carnitas that are crispy, tender, and juicy! You don’t even need to work hard to make a delicious meal either.

Simply through some ingredients in your crockpot and follow our step-by-step guide. It has never been easier to create a tasty Mexican dish at home. 

Now that we have briefly established what carnitas are, let’s move on to look at our recipe in closer detail and show you how to make them! 

Why These Carnitas Are The Best

So why is our recipe the best? And why will you love these carnitas? Well, there are a few reasons that we have popped into a list for you.

Let’s take a look at them now so you can see why you need to make these carnitas! 

  1. You get flavorful pork that is tender and juicy with broiled ends, for an authentic taste. 
  2. They are so easy to make as the crockpot does the hard work for you! 
  3. It’s a wonderful meal to meal prep, providing you with plenty of protein for the week ahead. 
  4. They are versatile, being used in salads, bowls, sandwiches, burritos, and more! 
  5. They are low in fat and carbs, but high in protein.

What You Need For Crispy Pork Carnitas 

You don’t need many ingredients to make this wonderful dish! We have a shopping list below for you to use to get your ingredients ready.

Thankfully, the ingredients are accessible and affordable, so you can make this dish no matter your budget! 

You do need a crockpot, so if you don’t have one, it’s worth picking one up! Again, these aren’t too expensive, and can be used for a range of meals. It’s worth having one so you can pop your food in and forget about it until it is time to eat! 

For our crispy pork carnitas, you will need the following: 

  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped) 
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tap oregano 
  • ½ tbsp chili powder 
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (freshly squeezed if possible) 
  • ½ cup orange juice (about 2 oranges freshly squeezed) 
  • 2.5 pork tenderloin 

The ingredients and quantities are designed to serve eight people. You can adjust them if you need to depending on the size of your crockpot and how much you want to make.

As the carnitas are perfect for meal prepping, you don’t need to worry too much about leftovers, they will be eaten! 

You can also swap out the pork tenderloin for shoulder if you prefer. It’s worth noting that this does change the fat content of the dish. Stick with the tenderloin if you want to keep the fat content as low as possible. 

Once you have all your ingredients, lay them out in your kitchen so you can grab them easily. Nothing slows you down more than rifling through your cupboards for a forgotten ingredient! 

How To Make Pork Tenderloin Carnitas 

Pork Tenderloin Carnitas (The Best Crockpot Pulled Pork) Recipe

These carnitas are so easy to make and can be done in three easy steps! They do take a while, though. Although your prep time is roughly ten minutes, the carnitas will take six hours in your crockpot. 

Thankfully, they don’t require too much attention while they are cooking, so you can leave them in there and enjoy your day! 

Let’s take a look at our recipe now to help you make these wonderful carnitas! 

Step 1 – Crockpot 

To start, add your pork tenderloins to your crockpot. Cover with the orange and lemon juice before adding your spices. Toss or mix so that all of the pork is covered by the spices and juices.

You don’t want a dry part of the meat! 

Put the crockpot on low and cook for six to eight hours. If you want to speed the dish up, cook on high for four hours. You can check on the pork occasionally if you want, but it is not necessary. 

After six hours, take two forks to shred your pork. If the pork is cooked, this should be easy. If you find it tricky, leave the pork to cook for longer. Taste the pork and if needed, add more salt. 

Leave to simmer for another thirty minutes. 

Step 2 – Broil 

Next, preheat your broiler. While it heats up, take your shredded pork from the crockpot and add it to a lined baking sheet (we used foil). Add some cooking spray or oil to the dray too.

Spread out the pork to a thin layer. Leave any juices from the meat in your crockpot. 

Add the sheet to the broiler for five minutes. This is to crisp up the pork and give it a good crunch! Take care not to leave it in too long, as you don’t want it to burn or dry out. 

Step 3 – Finish 

To finish, take your pork from the broiler and add it back to the crockpot. Mix it in with the juices you kept behind to return some moisture to the meat. Add your chopped cilantro and mix! 

Now you are ready to serve your carnitas! You can add them to just about anything and keep your leftovers sealed in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

Don’t worry, we have some inspiration below that you can check out too! 

How To Eat Carnitas 

How are you going to eat your carnitas? We have some suggestions below if you are looking for some inspiration! 

In A Bowl

You can add your pork to a bowl with anything you fancy! We love it paired with grilled fajita veggies, some rice, and pico de gallo. You could also use cauliflower rice, sweet potato, shredded cheese, or guacamole. 

Your choices are endless in a bowl, allowing you to create a nutritional meal that works for you. 

As Tacos 

Stuffing your mixture into a soft tortilla or taco shell is another fantastic (and popular) way to serve carnitas. Top your tacos with toppings of your choosing! Salsa, sour cream, cheese, or guacamole are all fantastic options you can use. 

With A Salad 

If you want a lighter dinner or lunch, add your pulled pork to a bowl of salad. Again, use any salad and veggies you want.

We tend to add romaine, cucumber, fajita veggies, red onion, and finish with an avocado oil dressing. You can use any dressing you want, but any with a little spice works well with the carnitas! 

As A Sandwich 

Another great lunch option is to put your carnitas in between some bread! You could use a hamburger bun, some nice crusty bread, or even a potato roll!

Load it up with your carnitas and add some slaw and pickled red onion for a wonderful sandwich! 

We love toasting the bread before building the sandwich and adding some avocado or spices. You can enjoy the sandwich on its own, or add some tortilla chips, fries, or even some roasted sweet potato!

Don’t forget to add some greens to the plate or sandwich too for extra freshness! 

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it, our recipe for the best crockpot pulled pork! These pork tenderloin carnitas are super easy to make and are packed full of flavor.

Although they take several hours, they are worth the wait. The pork will fall apart in your mouth, giving you lots of juicy flavor and tenderness that works well on its own, as a sandwich, wrap, or even part of a salad! 

Don’t forget to adjust the quantities and spice levels to suit you and you can enjoy a crockpot full of protein all week! 

Lindsey Morgan
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