Easy Pork Carnitas

Introduction: Easy Pork Carnitas

This simple carnitas-style recipe makes an amazing filling for tacos, burritos etc. This version uses pork shoulder, although we've used the exact same technique with beef and even chicken and it works just as well. You'll notice that there are no specific measurements given - it's pretty flexible and forgiving so you can adjust it to make it your own.


  • Pork Shoulder
  • Salt / Pepper
  • Orange

For the tacos:

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocados
  • Cilantro

For Pico De Gallo

  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • White Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Lime
  • Honey

Step 1: Prepare Your Meat

We made this with a pork shoulder roast, but you could easily use pork shoulder steaks as well. Make sure to choose a piece where the meat is well marbled with fat, this is the secret to the crispiness of the end product.

Trim any large excess pieces of fat from the pork shoulder. Cut the rest of the pork into small cubes around 1/2 inch in size.

In a bowl, combine the pork with the juice of Addan orange and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Heat up a large pan on a medium heat for a few minutes and add the pork to the pan. Add enough water to the pan to almost cover the pork.

Step 2: After 15 Minutes...

As the water heats up, keep an eye on it. After about 15 minutes the water should be gently bubbling and you can stir up the pork and turn the heat down to simmer.

Step 3: After an Hour or So...

Stir the carnitas occasionally over the next couple of hours. The pork will braise until it's tender, and as the water evaporates, the fat in the pork will render out, and this will heat up and make the outside of the carnitas nice and crispy.

Step 4: After 2-3 Hours...

After a few hours the water will have evaporated and the rendered fat will make the outside of the pieces of pork nice and crispy. You can loosen the bits that stick to the bottom of the pan by adding a little water to the pan and scrape it up.

Step 5: Make a Little Pico De Gallo

Chop up onion, tomatoes, and jalapeño into equal size cubes. Mix in a bowl with a teaspoon of honey, the juice of half a lime and a pinch of salt.

Step 6: Assemble Your Tacos!

Serve on corn tortillas with avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream and a little squeeze of lime.

Step 7: Video Version of This Recipe

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    8 years ago

    Looks amazing. I love carnitas and will try this recipe soon. I'll let you know how it works. One question: Do you cook the pork uncovered the whole time so the liquid evaporates? Also, do you ever add water as it evaporates? I guess I had two questions. Thanks.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks kaboom! Yes indeed, I cook it uncovered the whole time, on very low heat. Sometimes the water will evaporate a little too quickly (if it's very hot out etc) and so I always keep a little water nearby to add in and help get the crispy stuff off the bottom of pan. Honestly - after an hour or so the pork is basically cooked, so the rest of the cooking is basically to get the level of crunchiness on the outside that you like. Good luck and please let me know how it turned out!