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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas with Lettuce Tacos & Fresh Salsa

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas with Lettuce Tacos & Fresh Salsa

Meaning simply “little meats” carnitas are usually made from pork that is braised with cinnamon and orange until falling apart and then lightly fried to make mouth-wateringly crispy and tender meat. Stuff them into lettuce tacos with tomato salsa for a wonderful combination of fresh and rich flavors and textures.


½ tsp oregano leaves
½ tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 ½ lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast
1 cup chicken broth or water
½ cup leeks diced
2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
2 strips orange zest plus juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 – 2 tbsp olive oil (optional)
12 large butter lettuce leaves
1 ½ cups fresh tomato salsa


In a small bowl, combine the oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Rub the pork with the spices and place, fat-side up, in a 4 1/2 quart slow cooker with the broth, leeks, garlic, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours, until the pork is fork tender.

Strain the contents of the slow cooker and save the broth. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Discard excess fat and use two forks to shred the meat.

If you’d like crispy carnitas, heat a large skillet over medium heat and then add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the meat. Brown on one side for 5 minutes, until crispy, then flip over and brown for 3-5 minutes on the other side.

Transfer the carnitas to a serving bowl and add the broth. Pair with a stack of the lettuce leaves and salsa. Serve hot, by spooning the meat into the lettuce “tacos” and adding salsa on top.

Specifically formulated for JumpstartMD

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