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Best Pork Carnitas with Chunky Pico De Gallo

Author: Cristen


Pork Carnitas

  • 3 lb. pork shoulder aka: pork butt, boston butt roast, sliced into 3” cubes/chunks *go for 3.5 lbs. if roast is bone-in
  • 2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or other seasoned salt of choice
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil or light olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic salt sub garlic powder to reduce sodium
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion peeled and quartered
  • 2 large oranges zested and juiced (need ½ of zest, all of juice)
  • 2 limes need ½ of zest, all of juice
  • 1 head of garlic cloves peeled and smashed slightly
  • 1/4 C chopped cilantro for garnish

Chunky Pico De Gallo

  • 1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 C cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 small red onion chopped finely
  • Juice of 1 small lime


  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and wait until oil is shimmering.  Season pork with Lawry’s.  Add pork to hot oil in skillet.  Sear on each side 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic salt, salt and black pepper to a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Toss over seared meat and stir well.  Let stand a couple minutes while you prep slow cooker.  
  • To a slow cooker (crock pot) bowl, add onion quarters, half of orange zest, all of orange juice, half of lime zest, all of lime juice and garlic cloves. Add meat to slow cooker, scraping all fat and juices from the skillet. Stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. (All units cook differently.) 
  • Meat should be tender and falling apart. Strain meat from juices, discard garlic and onion. Shred meat and remove any excess liquid fat from juices. Return meat to juices. Fold gently to incorporate.  
  • Preheat oven broiler to medium high or high. Spread meat on a lightly greased baking sheet. Broil until edges of shredded carnitas are caramelized. (A couple of minutes or less depending on the heat level of your oven’s broiler unit and the distance from the baking sheet to the unit.)  
  • Serve immediately with Chunky Pico De Gallo in bibb lettuce cups or radicchio leaves or on flour or corn tortillas. Makes approx 6-8 servings.

Chunky Pico De Gallo

  • Salt and pepper to taste Mix together and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with Carnitas.


The searing step in the first part of the recipe can be skipped, if it must.  Season meat with spices and add to crockpot with other ingredients in order given. *The broiling step can be skipped too, but this will give extra texture and flavor to the meat, that is out of this world.