Easy & delicious pork carnitas is a favorite meal of mine, and perfect for Cinco de Mayo. I love great tasting food you can make ahead! These carnitas are a crockpot recipe, so it’s even better. While the recipe base is technically, Puerto Rican, the meat is so tasty and versatile, you can use it for Mexican dishes and even in other cuisine options and dishes like Vietnamese Noodle Soup, BBQ Pizza and Sheet Pan Nachos.
Another great thing about these carnitas, is that they are super budget friendly. I got just over 2 lbs for about 3 dollars from Winco. I’ve started shopping for meats and veggies at Winco instead of Walmart because they’re just so much cheaper. But, I still love Walmart grocery pickup for frugal living when it comes to items like apple sauce, canned fruit and veggies, spaghetti sauce and baby foods I can’t make myself.
Let’s get to the recipe!
Easy & Delicious Pork Carnitas Base Recipe
I found the original recipe base for this on Pinterest years ago. There are several iterations out there, but here’s a good link.
I halved the recipe this time, but the full recipe is perfect to feed a crowd and the leftovers freeze well if you want to make a big batch for yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need for these easy & delicious pork carnitas (halved recipe):
- 2 lbs Pork Carnitas or Pork Shoulder
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tbsp Oregano
- 1/8 tsp Ground, Black Pepper
- 3/4 tbsp White Vinegar
- 3/4 tbsp Vegetable Oil
I thought these ingredients sounded really weird the first time I made this, but I promise, it is SO good!
*Depending on the cut of pork you get, you may choose to dice it up. I’ve done this with loin, shoulder and carnitas before. I prefer carnitas because it’s already chopped for you. Since loin is a leaner cut of meat, I’ve found it’s better to keep it whole so it stays more moist. You’ll also want to use the lower and slower cooking time below.
*This recipe does require some planning ahead, as you’ll want to marinade the meat for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you use a loin, you’ll want to cook on low for 8 hours, for anything else, you can get away with 4 hours on high, and chop your meat.
- Remove your crockpot insert (you’ll use this to marinate the meat in so you don’t dirty up extra dishes)
- Place meat in the bottom of your crockpot insert
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir
- Cover with crockpot lid and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight
- Once marinated, put the insert into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hrs or high for 4.
Cinco de Mayo, Easy & Delicous Pork Carnitas Tacos
Your family will love these carnitas tacos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. You don’t really need a recipe for tacos, but I have a few suggestions to make these really pop.
- I’d definitely recommend using corn tortillas. Crisp them up in a little oil over high heat.
- Cilantro lovers rejoice, because this is a great recipe to pile on the cilantro. (All the haters can just leave it off!)
- Lime juice also goes perfectly with these flavors!
- I also really like pineapple mango salsa with these
Assemble a spread of your other favorite taco toppings and enjoy!
Leftover Sheet Pan Nachos
I love sheet pan meals. Virtually no cleanup!
- Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray well with cooking spray
- Make a bed of tortilla chips and top with cheese
- Pile high with the carnitas leftovers and all your favorite toppings
- Finally, pop in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.
Leftover Individual BBQ Pizzas
This is another super easy leftover meal that is great for a quick lunch. I always have mini, individual pizzas on our lunch rotation!
*With a regular, 9×13 sheet pan size, you can fit about 2 pizzas at a time
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Line a baking sheet with foil
- Butter the backs of two burrito or fajita sized tortillas (or, you can use pita bread)
- Slather with your favorite BBQ sauce, then top with cheddar cheese, carnitas leftovers and any other toppings you like. (I usually do cilantro and then drizzle some ranch when they come out of the oven)
- Pop in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted
Single Serving Leftover Carnitas Vietnamese Soup
I love ALL Asian cuisine, especially Vietnamese Soup (Pho). This is a super quick and easy “faux Pho”.
- About 1/3 Cup Leftover Carnitas (or, whatever you have)
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Section Mei Fun Noodles (Rice Noodles)
- 2-3 tbsp Oyster Sauce (Depending on your tastes)
- 4 Dashes Ground Ginger
- 1 Stalk Green Onion, Diced
- 1 Handful Cilantro, Chopped
- 2 tbsp Carrot, Grated (Optional)
- Bring chicken broth to boil in a medium pot
- Add in rice noodles and reduce heat to medium
- Cook for about 1 minute then remove the pot from heat and let the noodles continue to soften in the hot water for about 2 minutes
- Stir in remaining ingredients and enjoy
I hope you enjoyed these quick and tasty recipes using easy & delicious pork carnitas. Enjoy tacos with your family to celebrate the holiday and then savor the leftovers again and again through the week! Happy Cinco de Mayo!
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