- Meat and poultry
- Cuts of pork
- Pork shoulder
Carnitas can be a little dry or flavourless. Serve with warm tortillas and salsa.
24 people made this
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 1.8kg boneless pork shoulder, cut into several large pieces
- 3 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1.75L chicken stock
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:3hr30min ›Ready in:3hr45min
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large casserole over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the casserole. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chilli powder, oregano and cumin. Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Preheat an oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
- Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking tray, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid and lightly season with salt to taste.
- Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(411)
Reviews in English (312)
This is the more traditional carnitas on this site. All we do is cook the pork, steam the corn tortillas and top with pico de gallo and lime juice (op). Yes, use shoulder or butt. We don't use spices to cook the pork because we love the flavor of just the pork on its own. I pressure cook mine but a dutch oven is great too. Crisp the shredded pork under a broiler or in a dry fry pan. This will add to the flavor. We are a Mexican family and this is our traditional way.-02 Nov 2017
Hi all, Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside. The recipe says a "clove" of garlic ... I meant a bulb, but of course, garlic to taste, and for that matter, salt. Remember to adjust your salt and spices to the size of the roast, but broth doesn't need the same levels of increases. If you're not a salty person, salt the roast as you normally would. If you feel like you're over-salting, then you probably are. Also, make sure you're using Kosher style salt. If reg. salt, use less. The level of fat on your roast also plays a role - more fat, less salt. Written a long time ago -- I don't use cans of broth anymore, just the sealed boxes -- about 1 will do for most roast. I have also used pork loin, and it tends to dry out. If you use a loin, try to buy one with more fat than you normally would. Shoulder/butt is much better.I often put the pot in the oven at about 300-325 degrees, depending on how fast you need it to cook. This was the Winter version with a dutch oven. I have a summer version where I marinate the pork pieces in lime, garlic, olive oil, adobo chili sauce, cilantro, and onion. I then grill outdoors to get the browned edges, and then set up a disposable aluminum pan covered with foil to do the braising in broth. I keep it on the grill on very low heat until tender. Then move the pieces indoors to finish with the same steps as the winter version.Some great ideas here - crock pot/ coke/-12 Sep 2012
i havent tried the recipe but if anyone out there wants to make a variation to this recipe, i recently saw a Mexican friend making carnitas (a whole pig) and what he put in for seasoning was coca cola, limes and lemons, laurel leaves, and cooking wine. dont forget the salt and use its own drippings to keep it from being dried out, remember, carnitas werent meant to be diet food.-09 Oct 2011
How To Make Carnitas (Pork Carnitas Recipe)
With just 6 ingredients, you can make your own batch of authentic pork carnitas, right at home! Today's recipe will teach how to make carnitas in 2 different ways. With one batch of these pork carnitas, you can make tacos, tortas, and even some tamales!
If you've never had Mexican pork carnitas, I'd have to say you are missing out.
Pork carnitas is made of pieces of pork meat slow-cooked in copper cauldrons in an open fire.
Traditionally, you would buy a whole piece of pork and use all the parts in different recipes. Some will be cooked until tender and golden outside like these juicy chunks of meat. Other parts of the pork will sometimes be used in stews (like this Pork Stew with Purslane) or fried up crispy like Chicharrones (pork skin).
To cook pork carnitas at home is actually a very easy task. There are lots of recipes that use herbs, and some of them even add milk or orange rinds. And, of course, they can be added.
But, as a friend of mine from Quiroga, Michoacán (a small town famous for its carnitas) told me some time ago: “People here just add salt, lard, and the pork meat. Those pork carnitas are always the best ones!".
I am a food blog
Carnitas need no introduction. Besides al pastor, they are probably the greatest pork product to ever have come out of mexico, and they are so easy to make at home, especially with this trick in your back pocket.
Most recipes you find for carnitas say you need lard to get that beautiful pork confit effect, but what if you don’t want to buy lard or can’t find any? I had the idea recently to use pork belly to make a self-confit carnitas and it worked out great.
This trick works because you cut everything up into 1″ cubes, which sounds like a lot of work, but with a sharp knife, it’s really fun. You could probably convince a butcher to do it for you as well. After that, you just scatter the pork belly up in between the shoulder and, as it cooks, the fat melts right off the belly and confits the pork.
Bonus: you end up with pork belly in your carnitas, and if that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is. All the herbs and spices are optional, but they’re traditionally what’s included in hierbas de olor, aka Mexico’s bouquet garni, and it’s what sets this carnitas apart and makes it taste just like the good taqueria in town, especially the cinnamon.
People are always saying homemade sourdough is the ultimate quarantine food because it takes a lot of time and we all have a lot of time these days to hover around the kitchen. I disagree: traditional carnitas is actually the ultimate lockdown recipe. I made this on the stovetop and it was so perfect for lockdown. Just put it on the lowest heat and give it a stir every hour or so. Your whole house smells good, it gives you a reason to get up every so often, and something really magical happens between hour 4 and hour 6. You could also do this on the slow cooker, but why take that out if you don’t need to?
I thought this recipe would make carnitas tacos for days, but it was so good that they basically only lasted through lunch and dinner. We haven’t made it out to our local taqueria this year, and now it’s looking like it’s going to be even longer before we do, because between this and our birria taco recipe, we have our own little taqueria here.
How To Make your Carnitas Crispy
To get those crispy golden edges, there’s two ways you can do this: oven or stovetop. In this recipe, I’ve chosen to broil it in the oven. But, I’ll tell you how to do it on the stovetop as well.
How To Crisp In The Oven
- Spread the shredded pork into an even layer on a baking sheet.
- Pour 1 cup of the reserved slow cooker liquid over the pork to season.
- Broil for about 5-10 minutes, until it becomes golden brown and crispy on the edges.
How To Crisp On The Stovetop
- Add a tablespoon or two of avocado oil to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Transfer the shredded pork and let it cook for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is browned. Note: you may have to do this in batches.
- Continue tossing occasionally for about 5-7 minutes longer, until the edges are crisp and caramelized.
Do you need to crisp the carnitas? No, it’s completely optional. You can enjoy it straight from the slow cooker as well!
Let’s Start Simple. The simplest way to enjoy carnitas is in taco form. Grab your favorite type of tortilla (corn, flour, or something grain free) or maybe a butter lettuce leaf or jicama wrap if your on Whole30. Top with diced white onions, cabbage or coleslaw, pico de gallo or a verde salsa, avocado & maybe a yummy chipotle crema. Always finish with a fresh squeeze of Lime juice & LOADS of cilantro
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Yield: 8 servings
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 8 hours, 30 minutes
total time: 8 hours, 40 minutes
The easiest carnitas you will ever make in the crockpot, cooked low and slow for the most amazing fall-apart tender goodness!
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt, or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 pound pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 onions, quartered
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 2 limes, juiced
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Season pork shoulder with spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides.
- Place garlic, onions, orange juice, lime juice and seasoned pork shoulder into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
- Remove pork shoulder from the slow cooker and shred the meat before returning to the pot with the juices season with salt and pepper, to taste, if needed. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to broil. Place carnitas onto a baking sheet and broil until crisp and crusted, about 3-4 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
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Carnitas are a great and commonly made meal options for families, they are easy, delicious, and cheap! And more likely than not you will have some leftover!
So today I am sharing a great way to use up those leftover carnitas!
I love being able to stretch out that meal you made, and these quesadillas are the perfect way to do that.
Typically I will make these pork quesadillas for lunch the next day but they work just as perfect for a fast dinner option too!
So first thing is first, you need carnitas! I recommend making my popular Crockpot Carnitas Recipe! It is really simple and makes a large batch!
Once you have the Carnitas made these quesadillas take very little effort!
How to make Pork Carnitas Quesadillas
For this recipe you will need:
- Flour Tortillas: Burrito size is what I use but a regular taco size will work too, you&rsquoll just use less filling
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: I like to grate mine fresh for a block, it melts better that way but you can totally use what you have. You can also use a cheddar blend here like a &lsquoTaco&rsquo or &lsquoMexican&rsquo cheese blend
- Leftover Carnitas: For two I figure you will need about 1 cup of leftovers but this can definitely be made with more or less than that
- Fresh Salsa/Pico de Gallo: I think that a fresh salsa tastes best here but you can definitely use a jarred salsa as well, my only advice drain out and extra liquid!
Now you have what you need, now you will have quesadillas ready to eat in no time.
If the carnitas are not already warm you will want to warm them slightly. In a microwave safe container, warm up the carnitas about 2 minutes so they are no longer cold (they will continue to heat on the skillet so they don&rsquot have to be hot).
Warm large skillet over medium heat.
Times for cooking will vary depending on types of skillets used (like a heavy bottomed cast iron vs. thin aluminum skillet) Any type works but just note that some heat up faster than others. (I personally like to use my cast iron for making quesadillas.)
Prep quesadillas by sprinkling cheese evenly over the two torillas. Then add carnitas and salsa overtop the cheese on one half of each tortilla.
Now one at a time add the prepped tortilla to the warm skillet. Cover with a lid and cook 3 to 5 minutes, checking every so often to make sure the bottom of the tortilla isn&rsquot getting too dark or burning.
Once the bottom of the tortilla is brown and crispy and cheese is melted fold the cheese half over top the carnitas half with a spatula and carefully transfer to a cutting board to be cut.
Cook other quesadilla the same way. A note about the second quesadilla. Because the skillet is likely to get hotter as the first one cooks the second quesadilla might take less time to cook.
Cut and serve immediately with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole! You can also personalize each quesadilla if you like, I personally like adding pickled jalapeños to mine!
Looking for more ideas on what to do with Carnitas? Check these out:
Or if you like Carnitas Quesadillas check out out these other recipes you might like:
How to make authentic pork carnitas
There are several different ways to make carnitas, including slow cooking or using a pressure cooker. I have those recipes already on the site here, check them out!
What makes this an authentic carnitas recipe is that the pork butt is going old school and boiling the dry rubbed pork in lard. Using this method of cooking guarantees the perfect texture – tender and juicy pieces of meat with perfectly crisp edges.
Here are several more important tips for making an authentic carnitas recipe:
One of the most important steps is to dry brine the meat overnight. Doing this allows the salt to penetrate deep into the meat and lock in the moisture.
Simply rub kosher salt over all of the pork pieces and refrigerate in a sealed container for at least 12 hours.
Before you get started, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter.
Bringing the meat to room temperature first helps it cook more evenly. It also keeps the meat from seizing when added to the hot lard, which would prevent it from being melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Once you have everything boiling, keep an eye on the color of the meat. You may need to lower the temperature on the stove if the meat starts to brown too quickly.
After the initial cook is done, add the milk. It will boil initially, but don’t let it continue to boil. Doing so will cause it to sour and curdle.
Watch the temperature during the final cooking process. The meat needs to continue to simmer, but don’t let it come back to a boil.
Let the meal cool before shredding. If you shred the meat when it’s still hot, the juices will escape and you’ll be left with dry carnitas.
Because these authentic pork carnitas are so tender and flavorful, you’ll be tempted to eat them straight off the plate!
To make a meal out of them, shred and serve with:
- corn or flour torillas
- refried beans
- white onions, sliced
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- limes, sliced for squeezing over everything
Add extra fresh flavor with your choice of homemade salsas and spreads:
- tomatillo salsa verde
- roasted tomato salsa
- pickled carrots
If there are any leftovers, which is rare in my house, try using them to make my Cuban Sandwich. It’s simply AMAZING!
How to Make Carnitas:
Begin by cutting strips of pork shoulder, and place them in a high-sided skillet:
Add enough water to cover the pork:
Season the water with plenty of salt:
Simmer the pork for about an hour and a half until the water eventually all cooks off.
Beware that it will look like there’s more water than there actually is, because a fair amount of rendered fat will be left over in the pan.
Eventually when the water is all gone and the rendered fat (or lard) is left, the pork chunks will brown and crisp in their own rendered fat:
It’s recommended that you don’t shred the carnitas, but leave them in their chunk form.
I throw these carnitas into this breakfast burrito recipe, I saute green beans with the rendered fat and pork shreds, I make huevos rancheros with the meat, and so on. There are so many ways to use it up, and you may even just want to eat it by itself, it’s so good!
The Pork Carnitas Recipe You’ll Treasure Forever
When it comes to carnitas, let’s assume you don’t have the time or energy to heat a huge cauldron of pork lard and cook a cut-up pig.
Instead, you might head to a restaurant that’s known for carnitas and buy some to bring home.
But this near-effortless version of the classic Mexican preparation allows you to make your own — good news for those of us who don’t have a great carnitas restaurant nearby.
Cooking pork submerged in its own fat—what chefs have classically called confit—produces a lusciously tender and juicy result that you’d never achieve by roasting or simmering.
In the traditional Mexican kitchen, carnitas are typically cooked first at a high temperature to promote browning, then simmered low and slow until they are richly tender. Here, we’re doing the reverse, cooking the pork slowly in its own fat in a slow cooker (it requires much less fat and much less tending), then browning it when it’s time to serve.
Quick note: carnitas demand a big stack of warm tortillas for making tacos. And what’s a carnitas taco without some guacamole to spoon on it, plus a little salsa and a smear of beans.
It’s a big dish, to be sure, but a simple salad on the table really completes the meal.
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups freshly rendered pork lard (you can buy good-quality lard from a local butcher or Mexican market I don't recommend the hydrogenated lard that's sold in bricks)
- 3 serranos (or 2 jalapeños) stemmed, seeded if you wish
- 10 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 4 1/2 cups cooked beans (and kind you like), drained, cooking liquid reserved (this is the quantity you'll get from three 15-ounce cans)
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (divided use)
- 3 or 4 limes (divided use)
- 3 ripe avocados, pitted, flesh scooped from the skins
- 2 dozen corn tortillas
Cut the pork into 2 ½- to 3-inch pieces and sprinkle generously on all sides with salt. Scoop the lard into a 6-quart slow cooker and turn on high. When the lard is melted, fit in the pork in a single layer (there should be few gaps between the pieces and they should be barely covered with the fat). Cover and cook until thoroughly tender, about 3 hours. Turn off, uncover and let cool while you prepare the accompaniments.
In a very large (12-inch) non-stick or seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat, roast the chiles and unpeeled garlic, turning regularly until they are softened and blackened in spots, about 10 minutes for the chiles, 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool, then slip the garlic from its skins and put into a food processor. Pulse the garlic until it’s finely chopped.
Set the skillet over medium heat and spoon in a few tablespoons of the pork fat from the carnitas. Add the beans and 1/3 of the chopped garlic. Mash with an old-fashioned potato masher or back of a large spoon until as smooth as you like—I like mine to retain a little texture—adding bean cooking liquid (or water) a few tablespoons at a time until the beans have a slightly soupy consistency. Scrape the beans into a serving bowl, cover with a piece of foil and keep warm in a very low oven.
Divide what remains of the garlic between 2 medium serving bowls. Without cleaning the processor, pulse the chiles until finely chopped. Divide between the two bowls.
Again, without washing the processor, pulse the drained tomatoes until they resemble salsa texture. Scrape into one of the bowls with the chile and garlic. Stir half of the cilantro into the tomato salsa bowl and season with a tablespoon or two of fresh lime juice. Thin the salsa with a little water if it needs it, then taste and season with salt, usually about a ½ teaspoon.
Scoop the avocados into the other bowl and mash with the potato masher or back of a spoon until smooth or chunky—whatever your favorite guacamole texture. Stir in the remaining cilantro and squeeze in a little fresh lime juice—1 tablespoon is usually enough to brighten the flavors. Taste and season with salt, usually about a ½ teaspoon.
Cut the remaining limes into wedges and scoop into a serving bowl.
Remove the pork to a cutting board, leaving behind as much fat as possible. (You can refrigerate the lard to use for another round of carnitas, to season beans or fry potatoes or the like.) Shred the carnitas into very large, coarse pieces. Set the cleaned bean-cooking skillet over medium heat. When the pan is very hot, spoon in enough carnitas-cooking fat to film the bottom generously. Scoop in the pork, spreading it out evenly over the bottom of the pan. Cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes, until it is richly browned and releases itself from the bottom of the pan. Gently turn the pieces to brown the other side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt (coarse salt is welcome here, if you have it). Serve on a warm platter with the beans, salsa, guacamole, lime wedges and warm tortillas.
Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)
Ingredients US Metric
- 4 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 orange, preferably seedless, cut into 2 wedges (or 1 to 2 oranges if using the Instant Pot Variation)
- 1/4 cup lard, (or, for the lard averse, vegetable oil)
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons fine salt, or 3 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt
Place all of the ingredients in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot. (Don’t worry if everything isn’t completely submerged.) Bring to a boil, skimming any scum that collects on the surface as necessary.
Reduce the heat to medium-lowish and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the pork is fork-tender and the liquid has completely evaporated, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Discard the orange pieces and bay leaves.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C)
If your pot isn’t ovenproof, transfer the pork and fat to a dish of some sort that’s ovenproof. Slide the pork into the oven, uncovered, and let it fry in its own fat until it’s browned, 20 to 30 minutes. There’s no need to stir. Serve it straight from the pot. (Leftovers—as if!—keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.) Originally published December 14, 2015.
SLOW COOKER CARNITAS
Just toss everything in the slow cooker, reducing the amount of water by at least 1 cup, and cook on low, covered the entire time, for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 to 8 hours, or until the pork is tender and falls apart. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the chunks of pork to a large skillet, leaving the cooking liquid in the cooker. If desired, shred the pork using 2 forks (or your fingertips if you like things messy). Heat the pork in the skillet over medium to medium-high heat until crisp at the edges but still knee-weakeningly tender within. If desired, dribble a little of the strained cooking liquid over the pork before serving to moisten and flavor it. (If the cooking liquid is quite watery, pour it into a saucepan and simmer until it reduces to the desired consistency.) Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Check out what our testers had to say in the TC comments below and then peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
INSTANT POT CARNITAS
Season the pork with the salt and, working in batches, sear the pork in a large skillet in the lard or olive oil until very, very brown. (The Instant Pot’s insert is too narrow and high-sided to sear effectively. It takes too long and the meat ends up steamed rather than seared. Trust us, the skillet is infinitely better and faster.) Meanwhile, juice 1 or 2 oranges to yield 1/2 cup orange juice. Layer the onions, garlic, juiced orange halves, orange wedges, and bay leaf on the bottom of the Instant Pot insert. Dump in the pork and sprinkle with oregano as you go. Drizzle over the condensed milk and orange juice. Secure the lid and push the pressure release valve to “sealing.” Select “manual” and set the cooking time to 30 minutes at high pressure. When finished, carefully quick release the pot by moving the pressure release to “venting.” Once the steam is fully released, open the pot and scoop the pork with a slotted spoon onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Discard the orange halves and bay leaf. Cook the pork in the oven at 450°F (232°C) until crisped, 10 to 15 minutes.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This crispy pork dish is RIDICULOUS! It's so tasty that I can't believe *I* made it! And I love the hint of orange in the meat. I think the most difficult part was slicing the pork away from the bone—otherwise, it came together beautifully. It required the full 2 hours to evaporate all the liquid in the pot and about 25 minutes in the oven to darken the pork to a point that it was almost burnt (I love it that way). This is an excellent recipe and one that I'll make again once I have a crowd—in the meantime, I'm looking forward to leftovers!
I love this Mexican classic, and these authentic carnitas were exactly what I was looking for in terms of taste and texture. The author’s method of oven-frying the pork in the rendered fat from the shoulder is genius. I have to admit that I pilfered some of this “liquid gold” to brown onions and garlic for a killer black beans and rice to serve as a side. [Editor's Note: Brilliant! We're stealing that trick!]
I used the half recipe method and it worked perfectly, although I will suggest that even though I’d cut the salt in half, the reduction became dangerously close to being a tad salty. Err on the side of caution, whether you make the full 4 pounds or otherwise and add less salt than specified. I made the carnitas tacos with this and the fresh tomatillo salsa was delicious, creamy, and added a nice balance to the rich meat.
Does it get any easier than this? I don’t think so. This recipe worked exactly as written and produced an incredibly great-tasting, authentic pork carnitas. Where you put the pork from there is up to you. It is fantastic in tacos, would be delicious in a burrito with some salsa verde, and something to look forward to on a tostada after a busy work day. And it tastes even better the second day. Check the pork after 20 minutes in the oven, as it browns quicker than you might think.
Since this authentic carnitas recipe is one of my favorites on the site, I was enthusiastic to try it in the slow cooker. I began by combining the onions, garlic, and pork together, and then adding them to the slow cooker. I then put in the bay leaves, oregano, and oranges. Reducing the liquid by 1/2 cup, I poured that on top. I let this cook on low for 10 hours. At that point, I removed the pork from the liquid (the liquid had doubled!), and placed the pork in a container for the next day. Discarding the orange and bay leaves, I poured the liquid in a separate container and placed it in the refrigerator. The next day, I skimmed the fat from the top of my reserved liquid (discarding the remaining cooking liquid), and spooned it into an ovensafe pan. I preheated the oven to 425°F and placed the pork in the fat in the oven for 30 minutes. The result was perfect! They had the same flavor and browned bits as the original recipe. I just warmed some tortillas and served. Next time I will reduce the liquid by 1 cup before adding it to the slow cooker.
I’ve been a fan of pork carnitas as a restaurant dish for years, but have never made it myself, so I was happy to take a crack at this recipe. Long a fan of duck confit, I quickly realized upon reading the description of the dish that this is essentially pork confit. Sweet baby Jesus, what could be better than that?! I’m here to tell you, not much. This is without a doubt one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever made, and given that it’s a cinch to throw together, I can see making it again and again and again and again and. you get the picture. My only deviation from the recipe as written is that I pulled the pot from the oven only 15 minutes into the roasting phase, whereas the recipe calls for 20 to 30 at this point to crisp the meat. Attention is warranted at this step. Aside from that, following the recipe to a T yielded a sheet pan full of moist, flavorful, and beautifully caramelized pork deliciousness. One could always dabble with the aromatics in the braising liquid to bring other flavors to the dish, but it’s awfully good just as it is, and certainly not in need of any tweaking.
I didn’t hold out much hope when I got home and first saw the results in the slow cooker. The pork looked kind of meh, nondescript, not really interesting. Then I removed the meat, shredded it onto a pan, and put it in the convection oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once. Holy smokes, what a difference! When I pulled the pork out, the texture had changed and it was tender and crisp at the same time. The pork was gently spiced and delicious. I did find there to be too much liquid in the pot, but it kept the meat very moist and tender. I left it on low for 8 hours while I was at work. I used a 4-pound pork shoulder roast, cubed, and kept the other ingredients true to the recipe, except for the lard. (The roast was fatty enough that I felt the lard wasn’t needed.) And I was right, since I skimmed a lot of fat from the pot but no scum. I might decrease the amount of water next time. Also, I think I’d like to add a couple of dried chilies to the initial cook pot, too, to add a little more spice.
I also made this in the Instant Pot. I like easy recipes like this, minimal hands-on time with big, flavorful results. My pork shoulder was closer to 4 1/2 pounds. It took me 10 minutes to sear the meat in 3 batches, then juice the orange, layer everything in the pot, and set it and let the magic happen. When the meat was removed and put onto the tray to crisp, it was very tender. After the time in the oven, it was fabulous. The meat was flavorful, tender, and crisp. I was very surprised to find I could still taste the orange used after all the cooking. We served this with tortillas, sliced avocados, shredded lettuce, and chopped onion and tomato. Everyone liked this so much that there was very little left over.
When recipes are this easy to do and the results are so full of flavor, I would be happy to make this again and again. We got 10 generous servings from the recipe.
This recipe was fantastic! There aren’t a ton of ingredients in this dish, and having never made this before, I was surprised just how simple the ingredient list was (where were the spices?). It takes a bit of time to come together, but it really just needs to be babysat. It’s a really simple dish to make. I put it on to simmer and made some homemade Spanish rice and salsa. It doesn’t seem like much in the beginning–in fact, I had my doubts looking at the meat and veggies swimming around in this unappetizing milky water—but the very end is where the magic happens. When I finally pulled the finished product out of the oven and saw these beautifully browned pieces of tender pork, I could hardly wait to start eating it. It was definitely a hit!
I made these last night using a little different technique with the slow cooker. First, I reduced the water from 3 cups to 2 cups, then I cooked the meat on high for 3 hours and, knowing the meat was completely cooked through and I was not risking undercooking pork, I took off the lid and continued to cook it on high for 3 more hours, until the liquid was absorbed. Then I transferred the meat to a large cast iron skillet and browned the meat. We tasted the meat both before browning it and after, and it was amazing both ways.
I cannot imagine an easier recipe to make on a weeknight. WOW! And WOW to its flavor and tenderness, too. The meat came out juicy and fork-tender with a slight crispness. Every single person in our household asked me to make this again—and soon. I decided to serve it with the fresh tomatillo salsa, white rice, and black beans. The salsa was an amazing addition to the meat. The cold, tart salsa was a true blend of tastes.
This dish is quite the little ace in the hole. It’s so easy yet yields so much flavor. A little bit of prep work, then throw it into the pot and go about your other kitchen tasks—like making tomatillo salsa. There’s a little checking and stirring here and there, but the dish practically makes itself. Don’t forget to keep the lid off while simmering away.
This recipe delivered tender, crisp pork carnitas as promised. The ingredients were readily available and the preparation was simple, especially since the pork could be browned by sliding the original pot into the oven. The pork had a fine flavor when tasted right out of the oven, although it was ten times better the following day when the flavors had a chance to blend and mellow. (The oregano was a bit too dominant right after cooking for my taste). I do question the use of 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk—was it really worth it to open an entire can, especially since it isn’t an ingredient that I use often? But overall, it was an easy way to prepare pork shoulder for a variety of uses.
I adapted this recipe to the slow cooker, which did require some modification, but it produced excellent results. The big difference between slow cooker and stovetop cooking, and often the downfall of the former, is that much less liquid evaporates in the slow cooker, and often the flavors are not as concentrated. With that in mind, I omitted ALL the water in this recipe. I mixed the pork shoulder and other ingredients, and squeezed the other half of the orange over everything. Then I let it cook on low for 7 hours. During this time, the pot went from having no liquid in it to speak of to the pork being almost covered with fat and liquid.
After the 7 hours of low and slow cooking, I moved the insert of the slow cooker to an oven preheated to 450°F. I let this go for almost an hour, stirring once to turn everything over and prevent over-browning. At this point, all the liquid had evaporated and the pork had browned in its own fat. The carnitas were falling apart tender and very flavorful. It's great on tacos or just with rice. A tomatillo salsa is the ideal embellishment.
What a fantastic dish! This is one of those recipes that I immediately knew I had to make. Cinco de Mayo was the perfect occasion. The results are fantastic! I made the recipe exactly as-is except for a substitution for the condensed milk (I used 2 tablespoons whole milk heated with 1 tablespoon sugar). I used coconut oil and a Cara Cara orange, which dissipated nicely into the pork. (I was able to discard the orange peel, although it did break into several large pieces.) It took about 1 1/2 hours for the liquid to completely boil down. The oven browning method worked great. I will definitely make this again. The green tomatillo and avocado blended salsa recipe also found on this site is fantastic with the these!
Every time I have used the Instant Pot, I have been impressed with its performance. This carnitas recipe was no different. It does require some moving around the kitchen, from stove to Instant Pot and back into the oven to finish, so I would recommend it for an evening when you have more time in the kitchen (and time to do dishes). The pork ended up flavorful, moist, and just melt-in-your mouth delicious. I couldn’t decide if I loved the crunchy outer bits or the rich fatty ends more. Either way, together they created a decadent combination.
I used a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat to sear the pork. I worked in 2 batches and each took about 12 minutes, flipping the pieces once or twice. I needed one large navel orange to get ½ cup of juice. It took 10 minutes to reach high pressure. The pork emerged from the steam step tender, but still held together somewhat. I let the pork stay in the oven 15 minutes. It got an amazing crunchy outer layer. I used two forks to break the pork chunks into shreds for tacos.
I got 4 good-sized entrée servings. I served the carnitas on tacos with cilantro-lime sour cream, veggies, and cheese. I don’t think the leftovers I gifted my boyfriend will survive the next 24 hours.
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