Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Carnitas

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner… I’ve been making this recipe for carnitas, or pulled pork, consistently for the last 3 years now. If you’ve been to our annual fiesta, you know what I’m talking about. And you’ll see it again.

This makes a huge portion of food. Which is awesome – because you can either host a party, freeze the leftovers, or use them throughout the week in other meals. The challenge will be finding responsibly raised pork shoulder. I head straight to Butcher Box or US Wellness Meats for this kind of thing.

You’ll need to prepare ahead in order marinate the meat overnight, and use a slow cooker in the morning. Which is perfect, actually, if you’re setting up for a party.


  • 5-6 lb pork shoulder roast
  • Juice from 1 large red grapefruit
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 serrano pepper, stems and seeds removed
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce (I’ve not been able to find one without sugar, so it’s not strictly paleo or Whole30 compliant. But you can substitute 2 Tb chipotle salsa.)
  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tb salt
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil


Place pork in a two large gallon sized ziploc bags (if you need to cut it into 2 pieces, that’s fine). Make the marinade in a small food processor or blender by combining the remaining ingredients until smooth. Add that to the pork, seal well, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, empty the pork and marinade into a slow cooker (fat side up). Cook for 8-10 hours on low. It should fall apart and shred easily when done.

Serve with organic corn tortillas, or make it paleo by using lettuce boats or paleo wraps. Get creative with your toppings. My favorites are pickled red onion, chopped cilantro and avocado.

Note: for Whole30 and paleo, substitute a smoky chipotle salsa without sugar.

Modified from Confections of a Foodie Bride.

About Dr. Maren

Christine Maren D.O., IFMCP is a board-certified physician and the founder of a virtual functional medicine practice in Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. She is also the co-founder of Hey Mami, a platform dedicated to helping women navigate a healthy and happy motherhood. She is best know for her work in thyroid, gut and reproductive/ preconception health. Dr. Maren is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP). Read more

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