Slow Cooked Mexican Pulled Pork – Carnitas

Sometimes it’s exciting to pick up new products but then we can get a bit overwhelmed about what to do with them. Regular readers of these pages are familiar with my philosophy of food; good quality ingredients treated with respect. I also particularly enjoy cuts of meat that require a little “work”. In fact that is more appropriately described as “time” than work. So I was delighted to recently pick up a beautiful piece of free-range pork neck. This is a large (2.25kg) meaty cut from behind the head of the pig, has a lovely thin marbling of fat running through it and so is absolutely perfect for slow cooking, delivering mouthwateringly succulent tearaway meat. I was immediately pointed firmly in the direction of Mexico and more precisely to Carnitas, slow cooked Mexican pulled pork, and serving them as tacos.


Spread all the dry rub ingredients over the pork

In taking one small liberty, I replaced the Wicked Blends Piri Piri Spice Rub for one of their other spice mixes that I had in my cupboard, the Mojo Rub, which is a fragrant mix of smoked paprika, cumin, chilli, garlic, and citrus zest, making it a more suitable match for my Mexican inspired meal. I added a few more spices that I had in my store cupboard but these are entirely optional and there’s great space for manoeuvring when it comes to the flavours here. I cooked this in a slow cooker which is well worth the inexpensive investment if you don’t already own one. Economical and brilliant for bringing out the best from cheaper cuts of meat, it if nothing else, conjures wondrous aromas distributing them about the house and wrapping us in a comforting blanket of promise. This is the food of family, of togetherness, of cold evenings and inky skies. Don’t worry if you don’t own a slow cooker, this can easily be done in the oven. The longer the better but 5 hours at 150°C should do the trick. This pork would work equally well with BBQ or indeed Asian flavours. Add a bottle of your favourite shop bought BBQ sauce to the pork and cook slowly for the same amount of time.



Serves 8-10


  • 2.25kg piece of pork neck

Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsps Wicked Blends Mojo Rub
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)


  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder (or regular chilli powder)


  • 5 garlic cloves finely grated
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dark drown muscavado sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • Juice of two oranges

Sauce Ingredients


  1. Remove the pork neck from its packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Mix all the dry rub ingredients together and spread all over the pork. Add all the ingredients for the sauce to a bowl and mix together.
  3. Place the pork neck in the slow cooker, pour over the sauce mix and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for about 6. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 150°C fan, place the spice rubbed pork in a casserole dish along with the sauce, cover and cook for about 5 hours.
  4. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, let cool slightly, and “pull” the pork by shredding with two forks.
  5. Add the juices from the slow cooker to a bowl and skim off the fat, before returning the fat skimmed juices to the pulled pork.

Slow Cooked Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos


To serve as tacos, add the carnitas to mini flour or corn tortillas and top with my chargrilled tomato salsa, recipe here, my homemade guacamole, which you can find here, sour cream, a red cabbage slaw, hot sauce, cheese, or indeed whatever your heart desires.

Slow Cooked Mexican Pulled Pork – Carnitas

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There are 2 comments

  1. Melissa Spencer

    Looks mouthwatering, choice of spices is spot on for an authentic Mexican flavour (I love piri piri but it’s not right for a Mexican rub). Do you know of any place in/around Galway where you can get decent corn tortillas? (flour tortillas are good but they’re more Tex-Mex than Mexican). By the way, would you like to learn how to make tamales? It’s quite an undertaking but many hands (and many margaritas!) make light work. Cheers

    1. Cathal

      I don’t really know of anywhere that does excellent corn tortillas to buy but they’re very easy to make yourself. The website that I mentioned sells masa harina. My friend Kieran has made them, very simple and easy to put together. Otherwise Tesco are selling Wahaca corn tortillas but I can’t attest to their standard or quality. The tamales sound great, always love learning something new! What do you wrap yours in? Thanks again for the comment 🙂

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