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Chipotle pork carnitas with lime wedges

Copycat Chipotle Pork Carnitas

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 11 cups 1x


Copycat Chipotle pork carnitas is an easy recipe to make in your slow cooker.  The  cooked pork is pulled apart, then crisped on the outside.  Move over, Chipotle--our version will win you over!  It's tender, juicy and full of flavor.  Use this meat for tacos, burrito bowls, nachos, or salads.



For the Slow Cooker Cooking

  • 7 pound boneless pork shoulder (3.2 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (355 ml)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/3 cup juniper berries, crushed

For the Carnita Seasoning

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For Crisping the Meat

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil (150 ml)
  • 10 cups shredded pulled pork
  • 2 1/2 cups cooking juices, from the pork (600 ml)


Cooking the Meat in the Slow Cooker

  1. Pat dry the pork shoulder with paper towels.  Poke holes in the meat with a fork.
  2. Mix together the kosher salt and the freshly ground black pepper, then rub it all over the pork.
  3. To crush the dried juniper berries, place 2 teaspoons in a sandwich ziploc bag and pound with a meat mallet.  Repeat until all the berries are crushed.
  4. Place the meat into a large crock pot.  Place the bay leaves, fresh thyme sprigs, crushed juniper berries, and the minced garlic on top of the pork.  Pour the chicken broth around the edges.
  5. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.  To check if the meat is done, use a meat thermometer; it should have a minimum internal temperature of 145 F.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and juniper berries with a large slotted spoon, then discard.  Keep 3 cups of the pot juices for later.
  7. Place the roast on a large cutting board and allow the meat to rest and cool.
  8. Once the meat is cool, discard any fat, then pull the meat apart with two forks or with your fingers.  You should get around 10 or 11 cups of finely shredded meat.

Crisping the Meat in a Skillet

  1. Mix together the carnita seasonings in a bowl, then mix it into the shredded pork with your hands.
  2. Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Add 2 cups of the shredded meat and cook for 2 minutes without stirring to get the underside crispy.
  3. Flip the meat over with a metal spatula, mix in 1/2 cup of pot juices, and cook for another 2 minutes.  If necessary, turn the heat down a bit for the last 2 minutes.  Repeat until all the shredded meat is crispy.


  • For the best flavor, use juniper berries for a tart, piney, citrusy taste.
  • Finely shred the meat while it's still warm; it will have better texture.
  • Pan fry the shredded meat in olive oil (Chipotle uses rice bran oil) for the crispiest meat.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Crockpot
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Chipotle carnitas ingredients, Pork carnitas with juniper berries