Pork Carnitas

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Carnitas are small chunks of pork made mostly out of fatty cuts like Boston butt. The authentic way to make them is braising the chunks of pork in lard, which is pork fat. That’s why carnitas are so popular and delicious… fat cooked in fat. Recipe for success. 

Unfortunately, it is not very practical to spend 3 to 4 hours constantly stirring carnitas in super hot lard and honestly, who has time for that?? Well, these people do but I am sure they are making carnitas for a Mexican army (aka immediate family).

I’ve made carnitas a bunch of times, in a crockpot, on the stove, I never deep fry mine but you can still get them brown, crispy and perfectly delicious. Tacos de carnitas is what we all gravitate towards but there’s many ways to eat carnitas. I normally have a lot of leftovers when I make them. My small family of four doesn’t compare to the army of sibling, aunts, uncles and cousins I have on the other side of the border so, yes, I always have leftovers and I love it! 

I braise my carnitas in a little water, orange juice and a handful of spices and herbs, that’s it. I cook them in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours and then I lay them on a cooking sheet and put it under the broiler for a couple minutes. They come out beautiful!!

Some of my favorite ways to eat carnitas are, carnitas in salsa verde, torta de carnitas, carnitas bowl, salpicon, tostadas de carnitas…ok, ok, any way is my favorite way to eat carnitas.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

I have a 4lb pork butt cut in big chunks. They don’t have to be the same size, they will be so tender they are going to fall apart anyway. I also trimmed some of the excess fat. 

I placed the pork in a medium size dutch oven over medium heat and I add about 1 1/2 cups of water (just enough to mostly cover the pork) the juice and remnants on 1 orange, 3 small bay leaves, 2 minced garlic cloves, a big piece of onion (core attached for easy removal) oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Just stir the meat a couple of times until it simmers. Tansfer to the oven and cook for about 2 1/2 hours.  Stir the meat once or twice during the process.

  This is after 2 1/2 hours. Fork tender, fragrant, delicious. 

Transfer to a bowl and break them up into smaller pieces. It’s ok if you have some of the meat juices in the bowl. The carnitas will brown anyway and they will be juicy.
Turn your broiler on and move the middle rack to the upper position. Lined a baking sheet with foil. 

Transfer to the baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. My girls love carnitas, I made smaller pieces so it’s easier for them to eat, but you do what’s best for you. There’s not right or wrong. 
Place the carnitas under the broiler to get them brown and crispy. Don’t walk away! This happens super fast, in just a couple of minutes.  

This is the finish product! The picture definetly doesn’t make it justice. I Don’t think I am making carnitas any other way. These were juice, perfectly seasoned, brown and crispy. Perfection. 

Let me get them picture ready…

Buen provecho! Find the recipe below.


Hello, my name is Marisol Chancellor. I was born and raised in Monterrey Mexico. I’ve been living in Texas for 12 years and even when I love barbeque, fruit cobblers and sweet tea, there’s something that has the power of transporting me right back to my mom’s kitchen and gives me a little piece of home, cooking. I grew up in the kitchen and for me, memories are always linked to food, and behind the food, well, there’s always a story that comes along. So, please let me share with you my love for cooking and while we are at it, let’s share some memories, because let’s be honest, we are also hungry for nostalgia.

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