authentic mexican carnitas


If you've never had carnitas before, let me help- Carnitas are a salty, shred-y, crispy, porky treat that graces your tacos and burritos with its presence. It's the kind of meat that guys want to be and girls want to be with. It's what any good and honest human would do with a 5 lb pork shoulder. You catch my drift.

Even if you are lucky enough to already know all of this, what you may not know is that Carnitas are also deceptively easy to make. It pretty much involves throwing meat, onion, garlic, and a few other ingredients in a dutch oven for an afternoon and trying not to pass out from how delicious it smells.

So, if this sounds like your ideal afternoon, then why not try making them for yourself? I also highly recommend making my Serrano Pico De Gallo and Charred Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa Verde to go with it, especially on tacos. Trust me on this one.

What you'll need:

5 lbs boneless pork butt/shoulder, 2 large oranges, 2 medium onions, 2 Tbs kosher salt, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 Tbs onion powder, 1 Tbs garlic powder, 1 Tbs oregano, 1Tbs + 1 tsp cumin, 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 cup of beer (you can substitute chicken/veggie stock or water. Do not use beef stock.) You'll also need a cast iron Dutch oven.

First, preheat your oven to 330ºf (165c). Next, it's time to get all the ingredients ready to go-

(Time to use bullets so it's easier to follow)

  1. Pat pork dry with paper towels.

  2. Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, cumin, black pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl and stir into a paste. Rub all over the pork.

  3. Place rubbed pork in the Dutch oven, fatty side up.

  4. Chop one onion into small pieces, and slice the other onion into strips.

  5. Mince the garlic (do not use a garlic press!).

  6. Place the onions and garlic on top and down the sides of the pork in the pot.

  7. Squeeze your orange juice on top of the pork, making sure no seeds fall in.

  8. Pour your beer (or other liquid) down the side of the dutch oven, making sure you don't wash off the pork's rub.

Cover the Dutch oven and place in the middle rack of your oven. Cook covered for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Then, uncover and cook for an additional 60-90 minutes.

The carnitas should come out looking something like this.

Next, you'll want to shred the meat either with tongs or a fork. (If using a fork or metal tongs, be very careful to not scratch the enamel in your Dutch oven. I recommend using silicone tongs for this reason.)

After the carnitas are fully shredded, heat a cast iron skillet (or nonstick pan) over medium/high heat. Add your desired amount* to the hot pan and crisp the meat up for about 5 minutes. Add a little bit of the juices to the skillet from the Dutch oven after the carnitas are crispy, and serve!

*Since this recipe makes a lot, you can simply fry up as much (or as little) as you want at a time. This recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for several days and made ahead of time.

Enjoy!

TRADITIONAL MEXICAN CARNITAS

Servings: 10-12

Time: 4 hrs 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 lbs Boneless Pork Butt/Shoulder

  • 2 large Oranges

  • 2 medium Onions

  • 2 Tbs Kosher Salt

  • 4 cloves Garlic

  • 1 Tbs Onion Powder

  • 1 Tbs Garlic Powder

  • 1 Tbs Oregano

  • 1Tbs + 1 tsp Cumin

  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil

  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

  • 1 cup Light Colored Beer like Pacifico, Corona, Budweiser (you can use gluten free beer here too)

  • Dutch Oven

* (you can substitute chicken/veggie stock or water. Do not use beef stock.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 330ºf (165c).

  2. Pat pork dry with a paper towel.

  3. Combine the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, cumin, black pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl and stir into a paste. Rub all over the pork.

  4. Place rubbed pork in the Dutch oven, fatty side up.

  5. Chop one onion into small pieces, and slice the other onion into strips.

  6. Mince the garlic (do not use a garlic press!).

  7. Place the onions and garlic on top and down the sides of the pork in the pot.

  8. Squeeze your orange juice on top of the pork, making sure no seeds fall in.

  9. Pour your beer (or other liquid) down the side of the dutch oven, making sure you don't wash off the pork's rub.

  10. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the middle rack of your oven. Cook covered for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

  11. After the 2 hours 15 minutes, uncover and cook for an additional 60-90 minutes.

  12. Once the carnitas are done and out of the oven, shred the meat either with tongs or a fork. (If using a fork or metal tongs, be very careful to not scratch the enamel in your Dutch oven. I recommend using silicone tongs for this reason.)

  13. After the carnitas are fully shredded, heat a cast iron skillet (or nonstick pan) over medium/high heat. Add your desired amount of carnitas** to the hot pan without oil and crisp the meat up for about 5 minutes. Add in a little bit of the juices to from the Dutch oven after the carnitas are crispy, and serve!

  • **Since this recipe makes a lot, you can simply fry up as much (or as little) as you want at a time. This recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for several days and made ahead of time.

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