carnita tacos

Mom emailed me a recipe for carnitas a few weeks ago, and it has been on the menu to try ever since.  I had never heard of carnitas before she sent me the recipe.  Carnitas, which literally means “little meat,” are a type of braised pork.

Now that I have discovered how amazing carnitas are, the recipe will be added to the SneakySpoons favorite recipes page and will be a regular in our house in the future.

carnita meat

Since the meat is cooked over a dry heat it taste almost like a dry rub.  Meaning the meat isn’t moist, but it has a ton of flavor.

carnita taco

We served our carnitas on homemade tortillas with the taco trio and we would also recommend adobe chili asian slaw.


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes, fat left intact
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • For serving: corn tortillas, queso fresco, cilantro, red onion, adobe chili sauce, slaw
  1. Place the pork in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and salt. Add just enough water to the pot to cover the pork (don't worry about adding too much water, it will simmer off later).
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, without stirring, for 2 hours. (If you find a couple pieces of meat have surfaced and are red, you can turn/flip those over to make sure they get cooked. I also saw a few recipes online that covered the meat while it cooked, which I think would help the meat shred quicker. I saw another recipe that cooked the meat in beer instead of you could experiment.)
  3. After the 2 hours, increase the heat to medium high and stir/turn the meat. Use tongs to stir and encourage the meat to fall apart.
  4. Continue cooking for 45 minutes or until all of the water has evaporated, leaving only the pork fat. Cook in the fat, turning as needed, until the pieces are somewhat crispy and browned.
  5. Add more salt as needed and serve.
If it is going to be a few minutes until you eat or if you are reheating the meat, you can add a little water back to the pot to keep the meat moist.

Adapted from:  Buns in My Oven Authentic Tex-Mex Carnitas

carnita meat2It made about  1.5 quarts of meat, which was enough for 4 meals (one of which I will be sharing with you on Tuesday!  I can’t wait!)

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