Carnitas

Total Time:
3 hr 10 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
3 hr

Yield:
8 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 4 pounds pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes, some but not all of the fat removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • Warm tortillas, for serving
Directions

It does not get any better than slow-roasted carnitas. This recipe differs slightly from what may be served in Old Mexico. Traditional carnitas are cooked in lard, pulled from the oil, chopped, and served directly in tacos and such. This versatile dish is one of our most requested at Salsa Brava. It can be served in tacos, burritos, omelets, or just about anything else you can imagine. We use free-range pork-no hormones, no antibiotics. Our choice for cut of meat is the pork butt. (Not to be confused with the actual pig's butt.) The pork butt is actually a shoulder cut, and it can be purchased with bone-in or out. The bone found in the butt is the clavicle, and any butcher can remove it, if preferred.

Sprinkle the pork with the seasoned salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put a roasting grate at the bottom of a roasting pan and pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pan along with the liquid smoke. Arrange the pork on the grate and top with the onion and garlic. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 2 hours, then remove the cover and bake until the pork is fork tender, about 1 more hour.

When cooked through, transfer the pork to a large bowl. Shred the meat and stir in the pan juices. Serve with warm tortillas or use when making tacos, tamales, etc.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.


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    Seriously good Carnitas.
    Bangin!!! I add Pappy's to the dry rub and I follow the video recipe. Not the written recipe. They are different.
    I've been making this recipe for about a year, ever since I saw it on this site. It has blown people away, even those who are used to very authentic tasting foods. I've tried many other recipes, but nothing as good as this one. I don't have a grate for the bottom of my pan, but all turns out just fine. I sprinkle on a light dusting of cumin but everything else is according to the directions. Definitely a family favorite!
    m-m-m-,m-m!
    Very tasty! Followed the recipe the first time, except i didnt have liquid smoke so used worchestershire : . This time I'm using salt, pepper, garlic and onions. I've never had the carnitas this recipe is based on but these were delish. I didn't use the cooking sauce, but used some fresh broth, in the final mixture just like others said. Pork butt is so fatty so that helped to degrease the meal a little. But boy that fat makes it tasty...
    I gave this 4 stars only because you MUST view the video AND apply the info to your recipe when serving. I roasted my pork for 5 hrs, covered the entire time. Did not use liquid smoke, as they do at the restaurant. Came out super tender. I let it cool, shredded it, then heated it on a griddle w/the seasonings, per the video. WOW. It was really delicious.
    Loved it! It was my first time making carnitas. It turned out to be amazing. I cant wait to make it again. 
     
    I didn't use any garlic and also added chicken stock, bay leaves, and orange juice and peels. 
     
    I had a 4.5 lbs bone out pork shoulder that I cooked whole for 3.5 hours @ 325F. It turned out super juicy and tender.  
     
    I was hoping 4.5 lbs would feed 9 people but it seemed like we didn't have enough. I underestimated how much fat was on the shoulder. I guess that's why its so tasty! :
    Ok, so I may be spoiled by living in Flag and getting to dine at Salsa Brava frequently. This recipe was very good. I cooked it in a dutch oven at a little lower temp for a few hours longer. While the results were pretty darn good and we will be making it again, it is nowhere near the carnitas from Salsa Brava.  
     
    So if you want some good tasy pork, this is a great recipe, but if you want the best carnitas, head to flagstaff and get the real thing. If you go, try their salsa with the green sign above it, so good.  
     
    PS. I am pretty sure that salsa brava uses orange in their recipe but I am not 100% certain. I will have to go back and do more research :
    Made this last night for dinner, we all loved it. We had seen this recently on Diners,Drive-ins and Dives and couldn't wait to try! I did follow the video for the spice recipe, which we modified with ground pasilla pepper, and some additional chilpolte pepper, we like things with some heat! 8 lbs of pork butt was cooked for about 3 hours in a 325 degree oven, it came out great. Strained the liquid and removed most of the fat, and reduced by about half. Used this to warm the meat prior to serving. Very moist, not many leftovers. Will definitely make again!
    Absolutely delicious! Versatile enough for soft tacos or pulled pork sandwiches with bbq sauce. I also used the crock pot til it was fork tender (ridiculously juicy too, and reduced the seasoned salt by about half. Someone commented that in the full episode video (route 66 episode, many other spices were added, that the recipe here is not the true recipe; it appears the seasoned salt here was substituted for all the separate seasonings. It absolutely works. Remember to always read a handful of reviews before trying any recipe online...you skip a lot of "first-time recipe" mistakes that way.
    Fabulous! All the flavor without the lard! Brilliant! As to the other reviewers who had problems w/ the meat drying out....must have been an oven issue. i did reduce the season salt to 3 tbsp....4 just seemed too much...meat was delish and I didn't add all the pan juices as they were very salty
    I was privileged to actually eat at Salsa Brava while on vacation. I ordered the carnitas and it was so delicious. Looking forward to trying the recipe at home.
    Great tasting pork! Would not uncover for the last hour or add more water to pan as following the recipe as written will leave you with a burnt crusty mess. Also no pan drippings to add flavor.
    I have tried this delight at a local Mexican store here in Las Vegas and fell in love with it. I followed the seasoning and technique in the video and the only thing different i did was added some cumin to the spices. The aroma of it cooking is awesome! After 2 hours of cooking i had to try it and i tell you it's DELICIOUS!!!!!! Can't wait for it to be done! Follow the video!!!
    Agree with Robotron27 that the recipe isn't what appears on the video at all. Fortunately, I pulled the $20 worth of pork butt out of the crock pots and was able to salvage it from its salty bath water. John Conley should tell FN to take his name off this recipe, as it isn't what he demonstrated. This has to be the worst recipe I've seen thus far on this website.
    OK here's what I don't get: the recipe on the show, in particular the seasonings used, are not the same as the recipe given here. It's really quite frustrating to watch the show, wonder about the proportions of the ingredients etc, and then find something different here. Can you provide the real recipe? (By the way, on the show they clearly said it was baked for 5 hours, not 3, so which is it?
    First time making carnitas...I modified the recipe by browning the pork in a skillet and then coating the pieces with chili powder and ground cumin, everyone raved about it. I felt the recipe did not call for enough spice and I really like chili and cumin. I also made a sweet cabbage slaw as an accompaniment. I highly recommend with the slight modifications.
    I made this recipe in the summer and did not turn on the oven. I used my slow cooker, put all ingredients in the morning and the meat was ready in the afternoon. LOVED IT!
    I've made this for my friends that cook carnitas the traditional way (family recipes) and they were shocked at how good it was. I've used this recipe several times for tamales and whatever is left over I use to make posole.
    sometimes i just shake my head that recipes like this even get published
    I've been making carnitas for years, and I didn't know what I was missing until I tried this recipe! This recipe produces perfectly seasoned pork -- even if you are lazy like me and opt to rub and slow roast a pork shoulder (couldn't find butt with the spices (I shred the meat once it is tender instead of cubing. Thanks, John, for sharing your delicious recipe!  
     
    awesome in tamales. tk you
    I was so proud to make this for my husband From La Piedad, Michoacan. He was very pleased and I felt like I was learing something new and wonderful
     
     This is an amazing and easy recipe
     
     We love Salsa Brava
    I followed the recipe using inch-thick chops cut from pork butt, seasoned with seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and thin slices of onion laid on top of the meat.
     
     Otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter. Added low salt chicken broth to the au jus to defat it, then reduced it and added the reduction to the chopped meat,
     
     Had it on tortillas for tacos last night, then served it tonight with barbecue sauce on buns and sides. Seriously good both ways. EASY!!!
    This recipe is terrific and so easy. I made it for a group of friends, everyone loved it. I will be making this again!
    These were REALLY good, I did change a few things. I cooked in slow cooker, added cilantro, lime juice, and a little fajita seasoning (because I was out of seasoning salt) The meat fell apart though and was delicious! I was wondering where my garlic cloves went though lol. I took the onions out but couldn't for the life of me find the garlic...oh well, it was still wonderful! Thank you =)
     Oh I almost forgot- I made the black bean salsa from Guy Fieri's "coyote quesadilla" and it was AMAZING with the pork!! Will make again and again!!
    My first attempt at making carnitas was a total success! I used to purchase the packaged variety from the store, serve on corn tortillas with homemade pico de gallo and lime. After reading the label, and seeing the amounts of sodium - plus an $8.99 package which left my husband and I a bit hungry, I thought it would be great if I could make myself.
     
     I'm on a total kick of making everything from now on from scratch so I can control the sodium and quality of ingredients. With this recipe, I didn't use 'seasoned salt,' nor the amount called for. I did sprinkle on a little bit of salt, then ground pepper. The ending result needed to be salted, but this way I could do so very lightly on my taco.
     
     
     I purchased a 4-lb slab for just over $10. Prepared by cutting off a huge slab of fat from the top attempted to cut off as much more as possible wondering if it was going to be worth the trouble at the end. Cut it into thirds and took Andrea's advice and broke out my slow cooker. WOW. 5 hours on high and it came out beautiful! All the excess fat melted off the meat, which then shredded perfectly with a fork.
     
     So for around 10 bux, we got four/five portions (it does shrink) and healthier by not loading on the sodium or cooking in lard.
     
     Go for it folks, you'll be thrilled with the results!!!
    Yum/. I have several recipes for pulled pork, this is very easy. You can find the liquid smoke at the grocery store I have used the slow cooker, oven, and used my le cruseut on the stove. (keep covered0 You can used the pulled pork for tacos or use with BBQ sauce and serve on buns as a sandwich. Enjoy!
    This recipe is very easy & yummy. I added lime zest and baked for 3 hours.
    Very easy and very yummy! I may have cooked them a little longer than 3 hours, but they were fabulous!
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