Carnitas Tacos

Up until about two years ago, I had never heard of Cinco De Mayo. I mean of course I knew there was a 5th day in May, but I had no idea it was a holiday. Not only is May 5th a holiday, but it is a holiday best celebrated by the consumption of food. Not only is it celebrated by the consumption of food, but the consumption of MEXICAN food!

My sister was in town this past week so I took the opportunity to try out a new Mexican recipe. I love carnitas (pork) tacos, but pulled pork can be a little too fatty for my taste. However, I recently found a great recipe for pulled pork using pork tenderloin, which is a much healthier option.

I’m also using soft, corn tortillas, which are a bit of a healthier option than flour tortillas. Don’t worry, I’m not totally skimping on flavor or calories. In fact I’m topping my tacos with fresh guacamole and accenting my meal with a large glass of sangria. I know, I know, sangria is Spain-Spanish and not Mexican-Spanish, but I love a glass of sangria with my Mexican food, so let me be.

Like I said on the prep page, you will need a slow cooker to make this recipe. A slow cooker/crock-pot is a wise kitchen investment. I use mine on a weekly basis, especially for tenderizing leaner cuts of meats. Put any kind of meat in the crock-pot for a couple of hours and when you come back it will be fall off the fork tender. That is especially true of this recipe.

The guacamole recipe is my husband Jeremiah’s specialty. The secret ingredient in this guacamole recipe is almost an embarrassment but we always buy one of those little 60-cent packets of guacamole spice mix to add to the avocados. It seems a little bit like cheating but honestly, it makes all the difference. You can make guacamole without the spice packet but believe me, it makes it so much better when you use it. If you want to take your guac to the next level, think about some add-ins. Consider using feta cheese, mango, or pineapple—be creative!

Alright chefs, it’s time to break out your sombrero.

Carnitas Tacos:

1 pork tenderloin (mine was just over 1lb and made enough for about 8-10 tacos)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning mix (plus I added some extra cumin)
Salt and pepper
Small corn or flour tortillas
Taco toppings (mine included lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese, salsa, fresh cilantro, and guacamole)

Slice the onion & chop the garlic. Put these in the bottom of your crock pot.

Rub the pork tenderloin with the taco seasoning until the entire outside of the meat is covered.

Place the pork on top of the onions & garlic. Pour the chicken broth over the top of everything (sorry, no pictures here–pictures of raw meat gross me out). Turn the crock pot on to low and let everything cook for 5-7 hours. The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your pork tenderloin.

When the pork is cooked and tender, use two forks to pull apart the meat in the crock pot. Taste the meat to check the seasoning, and if necessary add additional salt, pepper, leftover taco seasoning, and/or cumin. Depending on how much liquid is left in the crock-pot, you may want to drain the meat (no one likes soggy tacos).

Prepare the guacamole (recipe below, if using) and toppings for your tacos. Serve with chips, extra guacamole & salsa, and a cool drink.

Is your mouth watering yet?


2-3 avocados
Half of a lime
Guacamole seasoning packet
Fresh cilantro

Slice avocados in half and remove the seed. Scoop the flesh into a medium bowl and mash with either the back of a fork or a potato masher.

Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the avocado and add in the seasoning packet. Stir until the seasonings are completely incorporated. Roughly chop the cilantro and add to taste.

Some people hate the flavor of this herb so know your audience before you are too heavy-handed with it. If you prefer, you can add a little spicy salsa to your guac for an additional zing.

Refrigerate the guacamole for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow time for the flavors to blend.

One Response to “Carnitas Tacos”
  1. Amanda Bartley says:

    Jenny, I tried your carnitas recipe today & loved it! It was so easy & very yummy! One of the best parts about it is that my kids won’t try tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or anything like that…but they love pork tenderloin (usually on the grill). They saw me put it in the crock pot, so I was able to say it was the pork tenderloin, but because it cooked so long in the crock pot it came out shredded…and they ate it. They ate it by itself…but it’s a step towards eating a taco! Maybe some day soon there will be a day when I don’t have to bring peanut butter sandwiches to Chipotle when we go to eat there! Thanks for the recipe!

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About Me

I am a stay-at-home mom of Lucy, my sweet baby girl, and wife to Jeremiah, my fun, crazy, and spontaneous husband. We are foodies at heart–especially when it comes to coffee and Mexican food (not together). We love hiking, making music together, watching 30 Rock and eating Edwards Hershey’s Creme Pie. Read more about the Gourmade At Home challenge here!


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