These Authentic Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas are not only healthier than your typical carnitas, they are gluten-free! If you love pulled pork, you’ll love carnitas (the Mexican version of Pulled Pork)!
Loaded with grilled pineapple, red onion and cilantro, they are a little spicy, fresh and delicious! This Pork Carnitas recipe is healthy, make at home street food at its finest! And they are Weight Watchers friendly @ 11 WW points on blue, per serving.
For this recipe, you will need:
- pork shoulder pork butt
- gluten-free chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- gluten-free cumin powder
- garlic chopped (or use jarred minced garlic)
- gluten-free BBQ Sauce
- pineapple, diced
- red onion
- Pineapple rings
- fresh cilantro chopped
- olive oil
- gluten-free tortillas warm, if desired
💭 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. Authentic 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!
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 pan fry to crisp, as per instructions. You can bring the recipe down to 4 WW points on blue by making these 2 changes!
👪 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:
- as a nacho topping
- over rice
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 in the crockpot are your answer! Authentic carnitas in the slow cooker are a great way to enjoy Cinco de Mayo!
📋 Healthy Slow Cooker BBQ Pork 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 tsp gluten-free cumin powder
- 1 tsp 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 peeled and cut into rings
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 gluten-free 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 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 tbsp 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.
- Mix 2 tbsp 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 pork 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 meat evenly between the tortillas and add add the grilled pineapple and onion (whole or chopped) and chopped cilantro on top. Serve immediately.