Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot

Smoky and hearty Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot is one of the best set-it-and-forget-it meals that’s exquisitely flavored and makes some tender and rich tacos.

Smoky and hearty Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot is one of the best set-it-and-forget-it meals that's exquisitely flavored and makes some tender and rich tacos.

Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot

What’s better than tacos? There isn’t much that I can think of… Maybe my kids and husband and, on a good day, our new puppy. Right below them on my list of favorite things? Tacos. Obviously. This Crock-Pot recipe will take your taco game to a whole new level, too, so get ready. I could eat these over and over and over again — they just don’t get old.

Perfectly seasoned with some hearty veggies to beef it up (pun intended), these steak carnitas bring some serious flavor to all your favorite Tex-Mex dishes, including tacos (of course), as well as quesadillas, nachos, and big-as-your-face burritos. Plus, this recipe is super-duper flexible. For real — I’ve used this method and spice rub on elk steaks, pork, and lamb, and it goes well on all the things. Just give it a try for yourself to see what I mean!

Smoky and hearty Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot is one of the best set-it-and-forget-it meals that's exquisitely flavored and makes some tender and rich tacos.

What’s the difference between barbacoa and carnitas?

Barbacoa comes from the same word as “barbecue,” while carnitas means “little meats.” Barbacoa is often braised meat from a cow head, and carnitas are often made of pork and are fried in their own fat. (Although, my rendition, as you know, uses steak!)

How do you make steak carnitas?

Steak carnitas in the slow cooker are easier than you could imagine. Simply rub the flank steak down with your dry spice rub (recipe below), place it in the Crock-Pot, cover with additional veggies (onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno), and cook on low for 7 or 8 hours. When the time is up, remove the meat from the cooker, and shred in a bowl using two forks. Serve on tortillas for tacos, or on your favorite Tex-Mex meal!

Can you make steak carnitas in the Instant Pot?

You can! You’ll want to be sure to add some beef broth so it doesn’t dry out. Use the “saute” setting for a few minutes before pressure-cooking it for about 30 minutes.

Smoky and hearty Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot is one of the best set-it-and-forget-it meals that's exquisitely flavored and makes some tender and rich tacos.

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Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crockpot


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10 1x

Description

Smoky and hearty Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot is one of the best set-it-and-forget-it meals that’s exquisitely flavored and makes some tender and rich tacos.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Carnitas:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin or smoked cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

Serving Options:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Grated cheese
  • Tomato
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl for the spice rub. Rub the spices into each side of the steak, using all of the mixture.
  2. Place the spice-rubbed steak in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the chopped onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno on top of the steak.
  3. Cook for on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  4. After the cooking time has lapsed, remove the steak from the Crock-Pot and shred with two forks. Serve immediately, or return to the Crock-Pot for a few hours until you are ready to eat.
  5. Serve on corn tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • Flank steak is generally a tougher, and therefore cheaper, piece of meat. It’s a great candidate for the Crock-Pot. I have actually used everything from elk steaks to lamb and pork with this recipe, and loved them all. It’s VERY versatile, so use what you have on hand or what’s on sale — if it’s a leaner cut of meat, you may need to add a bit of beef stock at the end to make sure it doesn’t dry out before it’s done cooking.
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: American, Tex-Mex, Mexican
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 10 SERVING SIZE: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145.8 Fat: 5.7g Cholesterol: 54.4mg Sodium: 306mg Carbohydrates: 2.6g Sugars: 8g Protein: 19.9g Vitamin A: 39.5µg Vitamin C: 22.9mg

Keywords: steak, carnitas, tacos, slow cooker, beef, tacos

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Complete the meal with some of these sides:

This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and rephotographed in June 2019.

Smoky and hearty Steak Carnitas Meat in the Crock-Pot is one of the best set-it-and-forget-it meals that’s exquisitely flavored and makes some tender and rich tacos.

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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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This is my jam!! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be making this soon.

We had another night of carnitas. Easily this could be made into enchiladas, burritos or just a pile of yummy stuff on a plate with other sides to compliment it. The remainder has been divided into servings and placed in the freezer for nights I don’t want to cook and of course, I have a serving to run thru the freeze dryer. It looked lean enough to FD ok…..I will test run the first batch and if it turns out amazing, I will cook another batch and skim off any fat hiding in the liquid before adding the meat/veggies back in. Less fat means a longer storage life. This could be another fantastic trail dinner to share with you someday!

Hey…this stuff is good…really, really, really good! I always slightly panic at the words cayenne pepper and jalapeno…I’m a wimp….but I made the recipe as printed…well, I used a London Broil instead of Flank steak because Flank, Skirt or Flat-Iron do not exist in my store…..and…..the flavors were amazing! Even though we threw the shredded meat into tortillas and topped them like regular tacos, the taste and texture weren’t even similar! Mr. Picky won’t knowingly eat bell peppers, so I chopped them up small and they disappeared into the meat perfectly. If he had spotted a green thing, I would have told him it was jalapeno anyway! This recipe is a 100% keeper! Thanks a zillion!!!

You got the puppy!!!!!!!!! I will probably never knowingly eat barbaco again! My brain won’t let me! bahahahaha. PS….I’m gonna try this soon!!!

Can you use this same recipe with chicken breasts? Or any changes in the spices. I can’t wait to try it.

I mean as far as the seasonings. I like shredded chicken for tacos,burritos and enchiladas.

I’m only going to have about 4 hr can I cook on high for 4hr?

Does the meat turn out moist?
I feel like you need some liquid or it is going to yield shoe leather .
From experience , does it turn out famously with no liquid?
Thank you .

Melissa, how did you prepare your corn tortillas? They look so good. I just heated mine in the microwave ans they broke into pieces and didn’t taste very good. The meat was DELICIOUS!!!!

Do you have the nutritional facts for this meal? ie, macronutrients&calories

The picture and recipe are showing up all jumbled. I can’t read the spices, could you reply here with them. I think I can make the rest of it out. Love Carnitas!

My husband is Latino, and a picky eater. It’s hard to find recipes that he really likes. I recently decided to make this for him.

Let me just say, this recipe is 1000% husband approved–he could NOT stop talking about it and would not hear of me bringing leftovers to work for my friends. I thought it was pretty amazing too. And it doesn’t get much easier to make! Thanks so much for a great recipe. 🙂

I am doing your 2 week clean eating plan and loving the different meal ideas. For breakfast daily I have done oats in mason jars and for lunch i have done salads in mason jars. I am having to google a few things like these carnitas as we have never heard of them before in New Zealand. I have the steak slow cooking now and it smells delish! Roll on 2 hours and we can eat them!

Absolutely divine! Plenty left for tonight’s dinner! Also made the Thai Green Curry last night & I have been to Thailand & i could have sworn I was back there eating it! Thanks again!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.