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A skillet of pork carnitas served with fresh salsa.

Pork Carnitas Recipe

This recipe for pork carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) is tender meat slow cooked with citrus and spices, then broiled to crispy perfection. It's a perfect taco filling and tastes even better if it's made a day in advance. 
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 346kcal
Author Sara Welch


  • 4 pound boneless pork butt or boneless country ribs fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium orange quartered and juiced (keep the rinds)


  • Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat to 300 degrees. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it in batches. Transfer the browned meat to a plate.
  • After all the meat is browned, combine the meat with the rest of the ingredients in the pot, including the orange rinds. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered. Once it simmers, cover pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 3 hours.
  • Transfer the meat to a 9x13 dish. Degrease the braising liquid by skimming with a large spoon or using a fat separator. Pour the remaining liquid over the meat. Cover the dish with foil and transfer to the fridge; chill overnight.
  • The next day preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dish from the fridge. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until juices are bubbling. Switch the oven to broil. The meat needs to broil for about 6-8 minutes, until the top is well browned and slightly crisp. Taste and add additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately with your favorite mexican fixings.


Freeze It: This recipe makes a lot of servings. After the meat has gone through the initial braise, you can portion off some of it for the freezer. I freeze the meat in a resealable bag. When you're ready to use the meat, thaw it in the fridge and then proceed with the broiling step of the recipe.
I think the calorie estimate here is too high, it doesn't take into account the grease removed from the braising liquid. I can't figure out exactly how to account for that. I figured you'd rather have a ballpark estimate on the nutritional stats rather than nothing at all.


Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 670mg | Potassium: 886mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3.1mg