If you love pulled pork, you’ll love carnitas (the Mexican version of Pulled Pork)! These healthy pork pineapple carnitas are loaded with grilled pineapple, red onion, and cilantro and they are gluten-free!
This Pork Carnitas recipe is healthy, make-at-home street food at its finest! These Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas with pineapple are also Weight Watchers friendly and one of my favorite Mexican food recipes!
For this pineapple carnitas recipe, you will need:
- pork shoulder pork butt
- gluten-free chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- gluten-free cumin powder
- garlic cloves chopped (or use jarred minced garlic)
- gluten-free BBQ Sauce
- pineapple diced
- red onion
- Pineapple rings
- fresh cilantro chopped
- olive oil
- gluten-free corn tortillas
*see recipe card for quantities
💭 Top Tip
You will have leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so why not make these Chipotle Mashed Potatoes?
💭 Pork Carnitas vs. Pulled Pork
If you're wondering what the difference is between pulled pork and pork carnitas, well, it's all in the frying. Pork carnitas are fried after they are cooked (unlike pulled pork), creating that distinctive crispiness. Frying it up only takes a few minutes but it will make a HUGE difference in your authentic Mexican food experience!
📖VARIATIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- Pineapple - you can use fresh or canned pineapple
- Toppings - I like to use pineapple and red onion, but you can use your favorite toppings instead. I also like to add a little lime zest, as well as drizzle on lime juice.
- Tortillas - you can use store-bought or homemade or corn or flour tortillas
- Spicier - add some chili powder
- This Slow Cooker Carnitas recipe is Weight Watchers friendly @ 11 WW points per serving. If you want to lighten these up and make them more WW friendly, use a sugar free BBQ sauce.
- You can also lighten these up even further by using chicken instead of pork. Simply substitute chicken breasts or thighs for the pork and cook for 4-5 hours on low or until tender (the chicken should shred easily).
- Then panfry to crisp, as per instructions. You can bring the recipe down to from 11 points 4 WW points by making these two changes!
*Please note: the recipe is calculated assuming that all the sauce is consumed in 8 servings. I only use a small portion of the sauce and discard the remaining, so the calorie and fat content is great reduced. However, it's nearly impossible for my nutrition calculator to get an accurate calculation of this
👪 Serving Pork Carnitas
I love serving these pork carnitas with cilantro and extra lime wedges, in addition to the grilled red onion and pineapple. They go great in:
- in a taco shell (pork carnitas tacos)
- as a nacho topping
- over rice
And if you're not sure what to serve with your carnitas, check out these 25 Recipes to Serve with Carnitas
Store leftover pineapple carnitas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This filling will freeze well in a sealed container for 3 months.
👪 Serving Size
This slow cooker pork pineapple carnitas recipe serves 8. However, you can half, double, or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust.
How to pull pork * I shred mine a little more than he does in this video
If you are looking for slow cooker pork shoulder recipes you can make in your own home, then these pork carnitas (with pineapple) in the crockpot are your answer! Carnitas in the slow cooker is a great way to enjoy Cinco de Mayo!
And if you love slow cooker meals, check out my other slow cooker recipes!
📋 Slow Cooker Pork Pineapple Carnitas Recipe
- 2 kg (4 lb) pork shoulder pork butt, skinless, boneless (5lb/2.5kg bone in
- ½ - 212ml can of gluten-free chipotle pepper in adobo sauce *Roland's and La Costena brands are gluten-free and can be ordered from Amazon (if you can't find it in stores)
- ½ teaspoon gluten-free cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic chopped (or use jarred minced garlic)
- lime (the juice from 1 lime)
- 1 cup gluten-free BBQ Sauce * I used Amazing Dad's BBQ sauce- found it at Superstore
- 1 cup pineapple, diced * if using can, drain liquid
- 8 pineapple rings half inch thick, if using canned (drained and patted dry) or fresh
- 1 red onion, chopped peeled and cut into rings
- 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 gluten-free corn tortillas warm, if desired
- Combine chipotle with adobo sauce, cumin, garlic, lime juice and the pineapple cubes (diced pineapple) in a blender. Blend until smooth - about 30 seconds. Mix with the BBQ sauce.
- Spray slow cooker/crockpot with non-stick cooking spray and place the pork in a slow cooker and pour the sauce over the meat.
- Slow Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. * I use low, as I prefer the results of a really long, slow cook.
- Remove pork from slow cooker with a slotted spoon and let cool slightly. Remove any fat or bone (you will also be removing a little when you shred the pork, but most of it just falls off during the cooking process. Then shred using two forks. If you have never shredded pork before, SEE VIDEO IN RECIPE NOTES FOR INSTRUCTIONS!
- Skim any visible fat off the top , then drain sauce from slow cooker through a sieve and set aside. Discard the remnants.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non stick pan or well seasoned skillet over high heat. * You will need at least 2 frying pans to spread it out evenly - don't overcrowd the pan. Alternatively, you could use a Dutch oven.
- Mix 2 tablespoon of the sauce to pork and mix until combined.
- In the pan, drizzle over some sauce from the slow cooker and freshly squeezed lime or a little pineapple juice (about a tbsp).
- Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side - you don't want to make it brown all over because then it's too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
- Remove meat from skillet and add in at least 2 more tbsp's of the sauce. If you like it really spicy, add more. *You can discard any remaining sauce or use it for whatever you like.
- Meanwhile, coat the onion and pineapple rings with olive oil and grill in frying pan and set aside.
- Divide the shredded meat evenly between the tortillas and add the grilled pineapple and onion (whole or chopped) and chopped cilantro on top. Serve immediately.