These tender Pork Shoulder Carnitas are a delicious weeknight meal and the perfect way to use smoked pork shoulder leftovers! We love to smoke an entire pork shoulder low-and-slow on Sunday and then make these pork carnitas tacos for an easy meal during the week.
The Best Pork Shoulder Carnitas
We believe that carnitas are traditionally braised, not smoked, and as a result would normally have an even juicier texture, which is lovely, but there is something about the smokiness and the dry rub on the pork shoulder that makes it a ridiculously good carnitas recipe. Maybe we are using the term too loosely, but when it tastes this good I don’t care what you call it! This is the best pork shoulder carnitas recipe, perfect for feeding a crowd. Definitely a family favorite at our house!
Love Carnitas – try our Beer Braised Smoked Carnitas!
What You Will Need
- smoked pork shoulder – we love the flavor that you get with a smoked pork shoulder, but you can also make a smoked pork butt. And if you don’t have a smoker, try our pork shoulder roast, Instant Pot pork shoulder, or slow cooker pulled pork!
- corn kernels – to keep it easy, grab a can of corn from the grocery store. But, if you have the time, we love the flavor of grilled sweet corn!
- avocado – a taco topping that is always a must!
- tortillas of choice – we used some small flour tortillas, but feel free to use corn tortillas or gluten-free, whatever works for you.
- fresh cilantro – absolutely love the light & refreshing flavor that this brings!
- lime wedges – great for adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice on top.
- bbq sauce – make your own homemade barbecue sauce or pick-up a store-bought version.
- slaw – the cool, creaminess of a slaw on top is so good! Totally optional, but we love our creamy coleslaw or purple cabbage coleslaw.
How To Make Pork Shoulder Carnitas
The first steps to making this easy carnitas recipe is to have your smoked pork shoulder ready-to-go! So typically we make this recipe with leftover pulled pork we have in the fridge. Our process is to pat the pork dry, rub down with worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and then yellow mustard. Mix up our favorite pork shoulder dry rub to coat the outside. Wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap to sit in the fridge for 12 hours. Then let it come to room temperature and place the seasoned pork on the smoker on the electric smoker at 225 degrees F until the internal temperature (use a meat thermometer) reaches 200 degrees F.
After it is removed from the smoker, you will want to wrap it in aluminum foil and then kitchen towels to rest for 1 hour. Then use two forks to shred the tender meat.
Now place the shredded pork on foil-lined baking sheet and put in the oven at 450 degrees F. for 5-10 minutes to let it crisp up.
Use to make delicious carnitas tacos and top them any way you want!
More Recipes To Make With Pork Shoulder Leftovers
This amazing smoked pork shoulder recipe will make a lot of food! These smoked carnitas tacos are a great way to use some of the meat, but here are few more ideas for you:
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Pork Shoulder Carnitas – made with amazing smoked pork shoulder, these carnitas are easy to throw together and so delicious!
- 1 batch Smoked Pork Shoulder (or ideally whatever leftovers you have)
- 1 can of corn or 3–4 corn cobs, grilled and kernels cut off*
- 2 avocados
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 5–10 authentic tortillas of choice
- 2 limes, sliced into small wedges
- barbecue sauce of choice
- (Optional) homemade creamy coleslaw or spicy purple coleslaw
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Shred pork shoulder (after cook time and rest time) and place on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Try to spread it out into a single layer.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes cook time or until pork starts to crisp up.
- Remove from oven and serve in tortillas with corn, avocado, cilantro, bbq sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Serving Size: 1 taco
- Calories: 211
- Sugar: 10.3 g
- Sodium: 392.3 mg
- Fat: 8.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 26.2 g
- Protein: 9.9 g
- Cholesterol: 19.8 mg
Keywords: smoked carnitas
Originally posted July 14, 2016. Updated with new photos May 29th, 2021.