I love Carnitas Tacos! Well OK I love tacos… But there is something about perfectly cooked Carnitas, tender and moist on the inside with a slight crust on the outside. Traditionally this is achieved using big copper pots to simmer the pork until tender then the are fired in the fat that they render. For today’s recipe I will cook them in the oven. It will take time but the results are worth it.
Step 1: Cut Up the Pork
For today’s recipe I used 5 pounds of pork shoulder cut into 2 inch chunks. The pork needs to be well marbled with fat, shoulder and Boston butt both work great.
Step 2: Season With Salt
Seasoning is about as easy as can be. To the cut up pork I added two teaspoons of salt. But feel free to season to your liking, black pepper, cumin, bay leaf or whatever you like.
Step 3: Add Orange
Place the pork in pans but do not crowd the meat. Cut up two oranges and squeeze the juice over the pork. Add the orange rinds to the pan.
Step 4: First Time in the Oven
Cover with aluminum foil and place into a 275 F oven for two and a half hours.
Step 5: Flip
After two and a half hours remove the pans turn the meat over and return the pans to the oven, uncovered without the foil. And cook for another two and a half hours. Yes a total of 5 hours!
Step 6: Flip Some More
Every 30 to 45 minutes turn the meat and return to the oven. This will help the meat get a nice even crust. If you want more of a crust the last 30 minutes or so increase the oven temperature.
Step 7: Shread
After 5 hours this is what you are rewarded with. Pork that is tender and juicy on the inside with a light crust on the outside.
Step 8: Serve
Serve you Carnitas on a hot tortilla with salsa of your choice, a sprinkle of cilantro, lime and chopped onion on the side.