Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

carnitas-1My husband loves carnitas.  Like LOVES it.  I’m not a huge pork fan unless it’s ribs slathered in BBQ sauce.  I love ribs like he loves carnitas, but sometimes fattier cuts of meat like that don’t sit too well with me.  I prefer my fats elsewhere and usually tend to stick to leaner cuts of meat.  Usually carnitas is made with a pork shoulder, but I opted for the tenderloin to keep it on the leaner side.  I prefer my fats in heavy whipping cream, nuts, nut butters , avocado and the like.  It’s just what works best for me and my needs.  But as always, a lean and clean dish doesn’t always equal boring.  It’s all about the seasoning, the cook and the pairing of accompanying foods.  I’m always doing “weird” things with my meats and experimenting with different combos.  Lately, I’ve just been obsessed with grilling any form of meat and just dumping it over a shit ton chopped romaine lettuce covered with, cauliflower rice and a bed of roasted veggies.  It’s weird, I know.  But for some reason I find it irresistible.  It’s been my go-to all summer long.  Something about the crisp cold lettuce, the warm roasted veggies, some ridiculously good grilled meat and a drizzle of whatever “sauce” suits my mood.

carnitas-2This particular pork carnitas started with a sear in a cast-iron skillet, slow cooked in the crok port and was then finished off in the oven.  I dumped a massive heap of it over my spiced jicama shoestring fries (see my Instagram @kmorlock21) and topped it with homemade pico de gallo and avocado.  Super simple Indian Summer night dinner.  You could eat this obviously as tacos, in a lettuce wraps, over a salad, or just as is with some veggies.  As always, I like versatile meats that can be served in a variety of different ways because I usually make in bulk.  Especially when it comes to crock pot meats.


2 Pounds Pork Tenderloin

1/2 Large Yellow Onion Diced

1 Cup Chicken Broth

Fresh Squeezed Juice of 4 Limes

8 Whole Garlic Cloves

Kosher Salt & Pepper

Onion & Garlic Powder


Chili Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Olive Oil / Nonstick Olive Oil Spray

Fresh Chopped Cilantro to Garnish


Cut Pork Tenderloins into 3-4 large chunks, coat with a light layer of olive oil or non-stick olive oil spray.  Liberally coat tenderloin chunks with all seasonings – I do not really measure my seasonings, but season to my liking and taste.  Just make sure to season heavily.  Press all seasonings into the meat and let sit for a bit (you can do this step the night before and place in a Ziploc bag if you think ahead).

Heat a cast-iron skillet with either a little olive oil or a good coating of non-stick olive oil spray.  Sear all sides of the pork tenderloin chunks until you get a brown crust on the outside.  Set aside.

In the bottom of your crockpot, layer half of the diced onion, the garlic cloves and half of the chicken broth.  Place the pork chunks in the crockpot and cover with the remaining onion and broth.

Cover and cook on low for approximately 4 hours.  Since the pork is lean and was seared in the skillet, be careful no to over cook or it will dry out.  If the pork easily begins to shred, then it is done.

Once the pork is cooked, remove from the crokpot and shred with two forks.  Transfer the shreds to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  Drizzle a very light layer of olive oil or dust with a coating of nonstick olive oil spray.

Place under the broiler for a few minutes until you see some of the pork begin to crisp.  Again, do not overcook to avoid drying it out.

Return the pork shreds to the crockpot liquid and coat.  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

3 thoughts on “Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

  1. Lisa Rendic says:

    Hey Kelly-
    Quick question on this recipe. There is lime juice in the ingredients list, but then I do not see it refenced in the recipe (unless I am missing it which is highly possible even tho I did read it multiple times;). Does it go in the crockpot w/ stock?


    • Eek!yes put the lime juice in the crockpot, sorry! You could always squeeze some extra and hit the shredded pork with a little additional seasonings when you drizzle it with olive oil before broiling…a little extra flavor on lean meat never killed anyone 🙂 if you’re using a fattier meat like a pork shoulder the fat will definitely make the pork crisp up a lot more.


  2. Lisa Rendic says:

    Awesome – thanks lady! Loving your recipes!!!


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