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.
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.
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.
Trim some of the fat off the pork butt, cut into big chunks and place the meat in a medium size dutch oven. Add the bay leaves, minced garlic, 1/2 onion, dry oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Juice the orange and add it to the pot along with the remnants, also add 1 1/2 cups of water. The liquid barely cover the pot.
Turn the heat to medium heat and let the meat come to a simmer. Stir the meat around to make sure all the spices and herbs are distributed. Transfer to the oven and bake for around 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
After the meat is done (it should be fork tender) transfer to a bowl and break it into smaller pieces.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and turn your broiler on.
Move the oven rack to the upper position. Place the carnitas on the baking sheet in a single layer and brown under the broiler from 3-5 minutes. Don't walk away! they brown very fast.
Serve with warm tortillas, salsa, lime wedges and cilantro. Or make tortas, burrito bowls, or pulled pork sandwiches. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!!
Notes: I prefer not to chop the onion. I leave the core attached to half of the onion to keep it all together, and that way I don't have layers of onion swimming all over.
It is ok if you end up with some of the meat juices in the baking sheet, it will not affect the browning.
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.