These low carb carnitas are made in the slow cooker! They're VERY nearly zero carb, plus dairy free, gluten free, and keto friendly!
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Yummmmm carnitas – the Mexican equivalent to pulled pork! Although traditionally prepared by braising the meat, it is the perfect dish for making in the slow cooker!
While looking at traditional recipes, I noticed several things – first – that my Mexican seasoning blend of oregano, cumin, and paprika would be perfect for this dish!
Secondly, that a running theme of every recipe was the addition of orange juice. Now, you could argue that only a little would be absorbed into the meat and therefore wouldn't have any significant effect on the carb count of the finished dish. I also saw recipes with orange zest – lower in carbs, but the same issue. I just don't want oranges or orange juice in the house when I can't actually enjoy them!
The answer was inspired by another Mexican recipe – my version of a low carb margarita! Instead of the high-carb orange liqueur that is required, I used orange extract. I figured it would work perfectly for this dish! You only need a little, and can just grab it from the pantry as needed.
How to Make Low Carb Carnitas
For this recipe you'll need a large chunk of pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) – about 3lbs.
Trim off any excess fat where possible, then cut it into large chunks. If your cut of pork has a bone, add that to the bowl of a slow cooker (or Instant Pot), together with the chunks of meat.
Next, add some chicken broth, garlic paste or minced garlic, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and the orange extract.
Stir well, then close the lid and cook on high for about 4 hours or until the pork is tender. If using an Instant Pot, use the slow cooker function with the seal set to Venting.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the slow cooker, and place it on a board or plate. Use two forks to gently shred the meat, then transfer it to a serving platter.
Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime slices, and jalapeño wheels.
I used some of the carnitas to make this yummy low carb Mexican pizza! Check it out!
- 3lb pork shoulder (pork butt), excess fat trimmed
- 8 fl oz chicken broth
- 1 tbs garlic paste or minced garlic
- 1 tbs dried oregano
- 1 tbs paprika
- 1 tbs ground cumin
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 tsp orange extract
- cilantro, lime slices, and jalapeño wheels, to garnish
- Cut the pork into large chunks. If your cut of pork has a bone, add that to the bowl of a slow cooker (or Instant Pot), together with the chunks of meat.
- Next, add the chicken broth, garlic, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and the orange extract.
- Close the lid and cook on high for about 4 hours or until the pork is tender. If using an Instant Pot, use the slow cooker function with the seal set to Venting.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the slow cooker, and place it on a board or plate. Use two forks to gently shred the meat, then transfer it to a serving platter.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime slices, and jalapeño wheels.
Nutritional data is best estimate as the cooking liquids, spices, and fat are mostly removed. Including all ingredients, this recipe contains 4g net carbs per serving.
Based on just the pork and a fraction of the other ingredients, my best estimate is 0.2g net carbs per serving.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size Approx 1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 806Total Fat 61gSaturated Fat 21gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 32gCholesterol 242mgSodium 406mgCarbohydrates 0.3gNet Carbohydrates 0.2gFiber 0.1gSugar 0.1gProtein 59g
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is my best approximation. I cannot guarantee completely accurate data due to variations in ingredients and cooking methods. Carbohydrates from sugar alcohols are not included in net carb counts as it has been shown that they do not impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.