Chipotle Carnitas Recipe

Chipotle has some fantastic melt-in-your-mouth meat recipes that are perfect for their giant burritos and burrito bowls. Carnitas, meaning “little meats” in Spanish is no exception. Today, we’re sharing our version of Chipotle Carnitas that are as close to the original as possible, while using simple ingredients. This slow-cooked pork shoulder is both tender and flavorful, and it’s so easy to make, you’ll definitely want to add this to your meal rotations.

One main difference between the original recipe and the one we are sharing below is that Chipotle uses juniper berries. However, these are a bit pricey and often difficult to find, but you can create a similar flavor by using a combination of lemon juice and rosemary, which is what we use. All of the ingredients can be placed in a slow cooker and left to cook on low heat for about eight hours. If you want, you can turn over the roast after about four hours, but it’s not completely necessary. As long as the slow cooker is covered with a lid, it should cook evenly.

After eight hours, simply take the pork out of the slow cooker and shred apart with two forks. Then serve it on top of tortillas or cilantro lime rice with all of your favorite toppings.

Chipotle Carnitas Recipe

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 lemon (the juice)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • Cilantro, lime, cheese for topping

Instructions

  • First, begin with a fresh pork shoulder. Use a fork to poke holes in the pork, sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, and rub on minced garlic. Place the pork in the slow cooker.
  • Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, lemon juice, and rosemary. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. You may want to turn the pork over halfway through cooking, but it's not necessary.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place in a separate bowl. Use two forks to shred meat.
  • Serve in a bowl or on fresh tortillas. Add any of your favorite toppings, such as cheese, cilantro, lime, or tomatoes.

Notes

  • When purchasing the meat, look for a boneless or bone-in pork butt roast. Depending on where you live, it could be called pork butt, pork shoulder, Boston butt, or Boston shoulder.
  • Before cooking, you’ll need to remove the thick layer of fat on one side of your roast to about 1/8” and cut away any silver skin that’s on the roast.
  • If you want to keep the recipe authentic to Chipotle's version, you may find juniper berries on Amazon, a specialty spice store, or a home brewing shop (juniper berries are often used in making beer or gin).

If you’d like to add a bit of heat to your carnitas, check out our version of Chipotle’s spicy salsa.

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