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Pork Carnitas: How to Make This Traditional, Delightful Homemade Recipe

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Pork Carnitas are an absolute favorite in our house, though we don’t have them very often. Being a household of two, this recipe makes plenty for us to eat on for a few days or to freeze some for another day. The flavor makes it worth every penny and every minute it takes! Definitely high on my recommendation list!

If you’d like to make your Pork Carnitas a part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration or even just a full Mexican or Spanish meal, try making some Tamarindo with it! Tamarindo is considered a Mexican drink, though it’s also famous in Costa Rica and the fruit originated in Africa!

This is another recipe that I totally recommend a dutch oven for, as they cut down on dishes and can easily go from the stove top into the oven. If you don’t have one, you could take the handles off of a pot that has a lid (so they don’t melt) and put it in the oven that way. Although you will need to pay attention so that you can modify the cooking time. I’ve never tried it that way, so I can’t really tell you how long to cook it in a metal pot.

What You’ll Need


    • 4 pound boneless pork butt, with fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
    • 1 ½ tsp salt
    • ¾ tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 white onion, peeled and cut in half
    • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 TBSP fresh lime juice (though refrigerated lime juice can work too)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium orange, juiced, keeping the spent halves

How to Make Pork Carnitas

  1. Pork Carnitas: How to Make This Traditional, Delightful Homemade RecipeMove oven rack to lower middle position and pre-heat oven to 300°.
  2. Put all ingredients, including orange halves, in dutch oven.
  3. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered. When it begins to simmer, cover pot and transfer into the oven.
  4. Cook until meat falls apart when prodded with fork, about two hours (in a dutch oven, adjust for any other type of pan).
  5. Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with parchment paper.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork from the dutch oven and place on the parchment paper.
  7. Remove the onion and orange halves from the liquid.
  8. Bring the liquid to a boil on high heat and condense it down into a syrup like consistency, be sure and stir often so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Takes about 20 minutes.Pork Carnitas: How to Make This Traditional, Delightful Homemade Recipe
  9. Use 2 forks to pull apart the pork into three equal sized pieces then gently fold pork back into the syrup mixture, trying not to break the pork down any further. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.Pork Carnitas: How to Make This Traditional, Delightful Homemade Recipe
  10. Spoon the syrup covered pork, spreading evenly to a single layer, back onto the parchment paper. 11. Move the rack to the middle of the oven and turn the oven to broil. Put the cookie sheet back in the oven until it is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes, then flip the meat and repeat.

Pork Carnitas: How to Make This Traditional, Delightful Homemade Recipe @Crafty_ZooWhat to Serve With Them

We mentioned the Tamarindo in our intro, so we’ve got our drinks prepared, remember you can make the Tamarindo up to two days ahead of time. So, we’ll just discuss sides here.

Serve the Pork Carnitas on yellow corn tortillas, we like to warm ours in a hot cast iron skillet. We also usually have Spanish Rice and sometimes a salad. Guacamole is also a wonderful addition to serve on them! Plus, it’s healthy and who doesn’t love a little bonus of healthiness in a delicious meal!

For dessert, you could do a Pineapple Pie (easily made ahead of time) or, for something quick, some fried apples with ice cream!

If you’d like to branch out and go full on traditional, I highly recommend the cookbook Aguas Frescas & Paletas. It is filled with other traditional Mexican drinks and frozen delicious treats!

What will you serve with it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and any changes you made!


Hi all! My name is Kaycee. I live in Arkansas with my husband of over 12 years! We have a grown daughter, a son-in-love and 2 grandson. Just love being Nonna! We also have an angel waiting on us to join her one day, she was 11 months old when she went to Heaven. We also have two great Chihuahuas and a Great Dane, along with several fish in our koi pond. My educational background is in Psychology and Child Development but my heart is in ministry, crafts, fun, reviews and my website, My Crafty Zoo. I look forward to continuing to share my life through word and pictures with you and love hearing your feedback! Thank you for taking the time to read and allowing me to share! I look forward to reading your comments!

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