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Mexican pulled pork tacos with juicy and tender traditional carnitas wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with fresh onions, cilantro, and jalapeños. |

Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos (Carnitas)

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  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Mexican pulled pork tacos with juicy and tender traditional carnitas wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with fresh onions, cilantro, and jalapeños. 


For the pulled pork (carnitas):

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or baby back ribs (2 racks)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water

For assembling the tacos:

  • 8 small tortillas, corn or wheat
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, optional
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
  • 1 lime, wedged


  1. Pat dry pork shoulder or ribs with paper towel completely and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir well to combine oil with all the dry rub ingredients until smooth (salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, and garlic powder). Rub and spread onto pork until evenly coated.
  3. Spread chopped onions evenly inside a 6-quart slow cooker (or crockpot) and add water. Place pork on top of onions. If using ribs, you can stack them on top of each other. 
  4. Cover and cook on 8-10 hours on the LOW setting or 4-6 hours on the HIGH setting until fork tender.
  5. Shred the pork by using two forks to pull the meat apart into small bite size and discard the bones (if using ribs).
  6. To crisp the shredded pork (optional), add shredded pork along with some drippings from the slow cooker into a large frying pan. Spread evenly. Heat over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes until the juices evaporate and pork turns nicely brown and crispy.
  7. Heat the tortillas according to the package instructions, or heat in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side. You can also heat it directly on a gas burner for a few seconds to get char marks on the edges.
  8. To assemble the tacos, add 2-3 tablespoons shredded pork on each tortilla, topped with pan juices if desired, diced onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Add a dollop of sour cream (optional) and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, to taste.


How to store: When storing tacos, you should always keep your tortillas and your meat separate—or else the tortillas can get soggy. Keep the pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

How to reheat: You can reheat leftover carnitas in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a splash of water if you want to keep the meat more saucy or leave the pan uncovered if you want to crisp up the pork. Reheat tortillas on a clean dry (unoiled) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. If they were stiff from being in the fridge, the heat will soften them.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican