These Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas are moist and delicious. They get an overnight marinade in Dr. Pepper and then cook in the soda in a slow cooker to make them the moistest meat you’ll ever have.
When we go to visit my parents in California we usually go to a restaurant in San Clemente called South of Nick’s. They have fantastic Mexican food and some of my favorite margaritas. The first time we went my husband ordered the carnitas and that was it! He loved them and so did I. Now every time we make it in he orders the carnitas. They cook them in Dr. Pepper!
I had never heard of that but then after did some research and found other recipes that use some kind of soda to either marinade the meat or use it as the cooking liquid. I thought, why not both.
I also found that with most carnitas recipes if you want them crispy you’re either frying the meat in some kind of oil or you aren’t eating them crispy. This method gets the meat crispy but still moist using the broiler for a few minutes after it’s finished cooking. It works!!! The meat was so moist and delicious but the edges were just the right amount of crispiness.
I made these to eat while we watched the Super Bowl this weekend. I wanted something different to top them with than just the traditional taco toppings. There is something about pork that calls for sweet something to go with it. We eat apple sauce with pork chops, baked apples with pork loin, and now these carnitas and red cabbage slaw. I usually like fresh jalapenos in my food but the vinegar flavor of the pickled jalapenos really works well with the slightly sweet flavor of the red cabbage slaw. I definitely recommend these for your next family dinner. If you loved this recipe, be sure to try some of my other best crock pot recipes!
- 2 liters Dr. Pepper
- 4 to 5 pounds boneless pork roast trim fat and cut into 3-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large yellow onion peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Taco-sized tortillas corn or flour
- Red cabbage slaw
- Jalapenos fresh or pickled
- The night before you want to cook the carnitas, place pork chunks in a large bowl. Then cover the pork with Dr. Pepper. (I usually use about 1 liter for this.) Cover the bowl in plastic wrap or foil and allow it to sit overnight in the fridge.
- In the morning, drain the Dr. Pepper from the bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Rub half of the spice mixture all over the pork.
- Add the onions and bay leaves to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Once the oil is hot, sear the pork chunks on all sides for 3 minutes until browned. (You may need to work in batches.) Remove the pork and place it in the slow cooker.
- Pour 1/4 cup of orange juice into the hot skillet that cooked the pork, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then pour the juice into the slow cooker.
- Add garlic, the rest of the spice mixture, the remaining 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 1 cup of Dr. Pepper into the slow cooker
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until meat is tender and falling apart.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat your oven to broil on HIGH.
- Shred the meat and place it in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place under the broiler for 4-5 minutes
- Flip the meat over and drizzle with 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker. (It's okay if some onions get added, just make sure to discard the bay leaves.)
- Place back under the broiler for another 3-5 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and drizzle with another 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid.
- If serving from the baking sheet or a serving bowl, you can sprinkle the carnitas with some chopped cilantro for garnish.
- If making tacos, warm up the tortillas. Then add about 3 ounces of carnitas (1/3 cup) to a tortilla, and top with red cabbage slaw and jalapenos. Serve immediately.