Simple Carnitas Recipe -
Simple Carnitas Recipe
  • READY IN 3 hr

Simple Carnitas

Recipe by  

"This the easiest recipe for tasty carnitas. Once cooked, the meat can also be shredded and mixed with BBQ sauce for incredible pulled pork sandwiches, or pan fried in a little oil until crisp on the outside."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 2 1/2 pounds Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr 45 mins

    3 hrs


  1. Place the pork shoulder, oranges, onion, garlic, kosher salt, cumin, black peppercorns, and bay leaves into a large Dutch oven. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Cover loosely, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Allow the pork to cool, covered, in the broth for 1 hour. Shred the meat with two forks.
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  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Nov 28, 2009

I need to clarify a few things. First, carnitas are heavily seasoned but not flavored. Seasoning is basically salt but flavors mainly come from condiments. I changed out the lard for water lowering the fat content and added orange based on flavors I found in restaarants in Mexico. American tastes have added a tremendous amount of flavor enhancers(spices, chilies, etc. to the dish). You can make this into whatever you want. I prefer it crisped up in a little oil after it's shredded into chunks( and a little extra kosher salt sprinkled over it. If you want more spice add this at this time.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Nov 18, 2010

Too salty

Sep 29, 2009

Ken, this is a winner, a five star! I bought that huge package from Costco that contains about 15 lbs of boneless pork shoulder. That meat is a pain in the neck to cook with because of all the fat, but it's the fat that makes it tasty, too, so I endure the misery of cutting it off. I actually cooked this according to directions in my Magnalite roaster on stovetop, and it took two batches to get the job done. For the first batch I used all the salt, and then the second batch I used half that amount. For my family, it will probably rest in between the two amounts. Otherwise, the ingredients are just perfect because one flavor doesn't outdo another, and the resulting meat is very yummy. I made a double batch of Mexican Rice II from this site to go with it, and I used the broth from the meat for half of the recipe. Next time I will use the broth for ALL of it because it makes a spectacular replacement for the chicken broth, adding a depth of flavor to the rice that can't be duplicated. Now I am glad that I saved the broth for my freezer for future uses. What a perfect recipe! Thank you!

Jul 27, 2009

Fantastic! My roast was frozen solid, so I threw it in the slow cooker whole, along with everything else. Cooked it on low for 9 hours and the result was amazing. Loved the subtle orange flavor and the bay leaf added a really great earthy tone to the meat. I shredded and then served the meat in flour tortillas with lettuce, tomato, cilantro, and a bit of plain yogurt. Will make again! Thank you!

Feb 05, 2010

Unbelievable! I can hardly shred the meat without eating at least half of it! My only changes are to use limes instead of oranges (only because hubby doesn't like them) and I also throw it all in the crock pot like others have done. When I serve it, to give it the same "texture" as my favorite mexican restaurant, (without the added calories) I put meat on a sheet pan and throw in a very hot oven for just a few minutes. Gives it the crispy edges that I love. Wonderful recipe Ken- Thanks!!!

Jan 18, 2011

Wow this was awesome! My whole family loved it and it smelled wonderful while simmering! I had went online to browse lots of different ways of making this; some people simmered in lard, some peanut oil and I didn't like either of those methods so I used this recipe and was not dissapointed. I did take advice I found for adding a can of cola to the water; or you could add a can of beer. After two hours I took off the lid, took out oranges and bay leaves then turned up the heat and let the liquid cook down; it took about 15 minutes and then I let the meat brown in it's own fat... Delicious! Thanks for the awesome recipe Ken!:) Tip: wait until you've skimmed fat off top before adding all the spices... they tend to float too.

Feb 01, 2011

OUTSTANDING!! Did add a 1/2 bottle Bass Pale Ale beer and Chicken Stock plus little water, enough to cover pork. Also used a red onion instead of white and placed it all in a slow cooker for 3 hours. Came out sooo tender and very favorful. Served with white corn tortiillas, avacado, cilantro, sour cream, chopped roma tomatoes and homemade spanish rice. Yum!! My husband ate till it hurt, now that's says alot. Thanks so much Ken!

Feb 03, 2010

oh - my - merciful - heavens. Here's what happened. I got a deal on a bone - in shoulder. Over twelve lbs. I really do not like to fool with great big pieces of meat. Trust me, it was worth it. It's probably 30 mins away from removing from the oven. My daughter and I couldn't resist (I mean, the SMELL is amazing) So when I went to turn it, we picked off some done parts and threw them in the skillet with onions and peppers. We ate this on homemade tortillas with cheese. (I'm stuffed) It will have taken it 6 hrs. and 15 minutes at 325. I cut the yucky stuff off. Cut the oranges, onion and 1 lime in the bottom of my roasting pan ( I would have thrown the bay leaves in here, but I didn't have any.) I made a rub of the kosher salt (and yes, there is a huge difference. It will be too salty with table salt), cumin, garlic and peppercorns. I turned it a couple of hours after sticking it in. Before it all fell apart, I got the fruit and most of the onion and pepper corns out of the broth and added another cup of water. It wasn't quite totally off the bone last time I checked, but it had been shredded into the flavorful broth and I'm looking forward to enjoying this for quite awhile. Thanks, Ken. AWESOME recipe.


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  • Calories
  • 188 kcal
  • 9%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 6.6 g
  • 2%
  • Cholesterol
  • 63 mg
  • 21%
  • Fat
  • 9.6 g
  • 15%
  • Fiber
  • 1.3 g
  • 5%
  • Protein
  • 18.4 g
  • 37%
  • Sodium
  • 2332 mg
  • 93%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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