With big flavors and cooked-all-day-flavor, keto Al Pastor Carnitas is one tasty dish you can’t miss! Take an inexpensive chunk of meat and turn it into tender, succulent keto carnitas! Follow me, Chef Jenn, along and I’ll show you how to make this succulent keto Mexican recipe from start to finish!
These keto Al Pastor Carnitas are the best and easiest keto carnitas you’ve ever had!
Yes, there’s pineapple juice in this recipe, but it is JUST for flavor and to help tenderize the meat. You don’t drink the cooking liquid; you’re not actually going to be consuming any of the pineapple juice.
I don’t even include it in the nutritional count because you’re tossing the cooking liquid, not drinking it. You can skip the pineapple juice if you like – just add another cup of chicken broth or water instead but you’ll be sacrificing big flavor.
This keto Mexican recipe is a winner and it’s a great budge keto recipe – it takes an inexpensive cut of meat, common ingredients, and, after a few hours in your slow cooker, you can be feasting on big, bold flavors.
I like to make this easy keto recipe with pork shoulder or pork butt.
It is fatty, cheap, and gives me enough meat for at least two dinners. And, I love that it all goes into one pot!
I can serve this meal with rice or tortillas for the family, and I eat it plain or with lettuce wraps.
The Key to Keto Al Pastor Pork Carnitas
The key to this keto Mexican recipe is to brown the meat AFTER you’ve cooked it.
Cook the meat until it is fall-apart-tender, then shred it with your handy pulling claws.
Now, pop it into a large skillet (the more surface area the better) with a spoonful or two of the fat from the pan. Cook it over medium-high heat until it starts to brown and get crispy. Don’t move it! Just let it get crisp on one side – that’s all you need!
- Start with a 3-ish pound hunk of meat, boneless if you can find it. It’ll cook down a lot!
- Use pork shoulder or pork butt – there’s lots of flavor in those cuts and they’re cheap.
- Don’t skimp on the spices! Use a good quality Mexican Oregano (the flavor is different from Italian oregano. Mexican oregano is grassier with a hint of citrus.)
- Skip the pineapple juice if you must, and increase the chicken stock by 1 cup or add a cup of water.
- Rub and sear the meat before adding it to your Crock-Pot. This adds tons of flavor and helps to keep the spices from just falling off the meat.
Is this Keto Al Pastor Carnitas Recipe Freezer Friendly?
Yes! You can do this a few different ways.
1) Brown the pork and add all the raw ingredients to a freezer bag, freeze and thaw the night before popping the whole bagful into the slow cooker (add about 1-2 extra hours cooking time if it is very cold but thawed).
2) Cook it and freeze it before you shred and brown the meat in a skillet. Freeze it with some extra liquid to help keep it moist.
3) Freeze the shredded and browned meat in a freezer zipper bags, pressing out as much of the air as you can.
Like this? Also try:
- Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin
- Sausage Parmigiana
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- keto authentic Chicken Enchiladas
- and be sure to check out my cookbook page!
Al Pastor Carnitas (Keto, Low-Carb)
- 3 pound pork shoulder roast
- 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chipotle powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 small onion peeled and quartered
- 1 small jalapeno seeds removed
- 6 cloves of garlic smashed
- 1 cup chicken broth low sodium
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- Juice and zest from one lemon
- Juice and zest from one lime
- Combine the Mexican oregano, chipotle powder, salt, and cumin in a small bowl. Rub it all over the meat. Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the meat on all sides until it is brown. Transfer the meat and pan juices to the slow cooker.
- Wash the lemon and lime. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thin strips of the skin and add them to the slow cooker. Juice the lemon and lime, adding the juices to the slow cooker.
- Add the chicken broth, pineapple juice, peeled and smashed garlic cloves, onion, and jalapeno to the slow cooker. Cook over high for 3-4 hours or until meat is fall-apart tender. Turn halfway through the cooking time.
- Remove the meat from the slow cooker and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle.
- Pull the pork into large shreds, picking out and discarding any fatty bits.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over fairly high heat, but not smoking. Add the meat to the pan, letting it sit a few minutes to crisp up some of the edges.
- Remove from the skillet, season it with salt and pepper, and serve in lettuce wraps, or serve with your favorite keto Mexican sides like avocado, lime crema (sour cream and lime juice), or low-carb tortillas.
A Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed. Erythritol carbs (sugar substitutes) are not included in the carbohydrate counts as they have been shown not to impact blood sugar, and they have zero calories and zero carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.