the life and times of J T Frey

Carnitas Tacos

I went searching for new "summer season" crock pot recipes to try and found one for pork tacos. Being able to mix-it-up a bit and not always serve tacos stuffed with ground meat seemed like a good direction to grow. The results were delicious. I cut the meat (and most of the fat) off rib-end bone-in loin pieces that were on-sale at the store that week, but pork shoulder would work well, too.


  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs non-lean pork (1 inch cubes)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning (in 2 x 1 tbsp portions)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Set a 2 qt. crock pot to high heat.
  2. Place the pork cubes in the crock pot insert. Add all dry ingredients (including just a single 1 tbsp portion of taco seasoning) and stir to coat pork.
  3. Add the lime juice and chicken stock then cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until pork is becoming tender and most of the fat has rendered.
  4. Remove the meat and set aside. Once cool, shred either by hand or with a pair of forks.
  5. Decant cooking liquid to a 2 cup-capacity measuring cup to cool and separate (use a strainer if you want to remove any remaining solids from the liquid).

For service:

  1. Skim 1 tbsp the pork fat off the top of the broth and place with 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Skim and discard the remainder of the fat.
  2. Once the fat is melted and the oil is hot, add half the shredded pork to the pan. Brown the meat, stirring occassionally. Add remaining meat in two portions, continuing to brown. Fond should begin to develop on the surface of the pan, as well.
  3. Pour half of the reserved cooking liquid over the pork and stir quickly. Scrape the fond off the pan so it dissolves in the liquid. Reduce until nearly dry again.
  4. Sprinkle the additional 1 tbsp of taco seasoning over the pork, stir, then add the remaining reserved cooking liquid. Reduce liquid by half.

Serve in warm flour tortillas with cheese, diced roasted poblano, tomato (red) salsa.

Written by Jeff Frey on Wednesday June 9, 2021
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