How to Make Carnitas

Perfect for tacos, burritos, or just by the forkful, this Easy Carnitas Recipe yields delicious carnitas: rich, tender shredded pork with crispy, crunchy edges. Everything you wanted to know, and more, about cooking carnitas is in this post.

I know I say this about every recipe I post, but there are a few that really make me giddy. One of them was my oven-roasted tri-tip, which has become a huge hit. And today I have another recipe I’m extremely happy about: carnitas!!!

My Freezer Meatballs were another (these have not been popular at all, people, go fall in love with them!!). How often do you cook carnitas? Do you know what carnitas tastes like? Because they are so good, my friend. Now let’s find out How to Make Carnitas.

How to Make Carnitas


What are Carnitas?

In Spanish, the word carnitas means “little meats.” The pig is braised until it is so tender that it practically falls apart, and then it is fried over high heat until the exterior is crispy and wonderful. The ultimate result is pork that is both tender and full of crunchy, crispy bits and is incredibly delicious.

It’s the kind of dish you’ll want to serve to guests not only because it tastes fantastic (and makes a lot), but also because it gives the impression that you’re a culinary mastermind. If you serve these carnitas at a party or potluck once, I guarantee that your guests will be talking about them and asking for the recipe months later.


  • We’ll be using vegetable or canola oil instead of the lard called for in classic carnitas recipes.
  • Shoulder roast, also known as pig butt and Boston butt, is the greatest cut of meat for carnitas because it is well-marbled with fat and becomes very tender after a long braise.
  • Big onion: white, yellow, or red onions are all good options.
  • A touch of tanginess is added to the pork with a squeeze of lime.
  • The pork gets its flavor from a combination of garlic and chili powder, oregano, and cumin that is added during the braising process.
  • Instead of using water as the braising liquid, we’ll use chicken broth to give the pork a richer taste.

Preparing Pork Shoulder for Carnitas

Pork shoulder, as previously said, is a rather fatty cut of meat. The huge fat cap (the fatty coating on one side of the roast) and silver skin (the thin, silvery blue membrane that attaches closely to the meat) should be removed before cooking.

Don’t stress out about the tiny marbles of fat that may or may not be present in your meat. The remaining fat after braising can be removed by hand while shredding.

The roast is ready to cook when it is chopped into large pieces, around the size of a woman’s fist. PS: It’s okay if your chunks aren’t perfectly uniform or attractive. You plan to shred the pork so that no one will ever suspect a thing.

How to Make Carnitas

Making carnitas entails three distinct procedures. The second and third stages take little attention from you, but the first does require that you pay close attention to it.

Step 1: Season the meat and sear it. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your roast and Dutch oven (this is the Dutch oven I always use for carnitas). Browning the meat on all sides can take up to 15 minutes, so make sure the pan isn’t too crowded.

Step 2: Slow and drawn-out preparation. The onions, garlic, spices, lime juice, and enough chicken broth to mostly cover the meat go in after the meat has been browned. After about two and a half hours of covered simmering, the beef should be soft enough to shred with a fork.

Step 3: Make it crunchy. I love this part the most. Now that the meat is soft, you can fry it up until it’s nice and crunchy. The meat is shredded before being placed on a baking sheet and cooked at a high temperature for 30 minutes, with the addition of cooking liquid every now and then to prevent drying out. As soon as the edges are sufficiently browned to your satisfaction, it’s ready.


The Spanish word for “little meats” translates to “carnitas,” a popular Mexican meal. The pork is braised or boiled until it is tender enough to be shredded, at which point it is shredded. We next roast the beef shreds until they are golden and crispy.

Juicy Mexican pulled pork is what you get with this carnitas recipe. Family and friends often ask me to make this again. For a deliciously unique flavor, the pork is simmered with lime and spices before being baked till fork-tender. Accompany with fresh, warm tortillas and salsa. Hope now you know How to Make Carnitas.