Coca-Cola Carnitas

Total Time:
2 hr
10 min
1 hr 50 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds fatty pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pork fat or neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil, for frying (see Cook's Note)
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Corn tortillas, for serving
  • Suggested toppings: salsa verde, diced onions, cilantro leaves, sliced radishes, lime wedges and sliced avocado
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Sprinkle the pork on all sides with the garlic powder and plenty of salt and pepper.

  • Heat the pork fat over medium-high heat in a small, heavy Dutch oven or braiser (see Cook's Note). Add the pork and fry on all sides until well browned, about 20 minutes. Add the Coca-Cola and 1/2 cup water (there should be just enough liquid to cover the sides of the meat). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the tarragon, bay leaves and thyme. Cover and simmer until the pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours; the Coca-Cola will caramelize and the liquid will evaporate completely.

  • Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred. Serve with warm corn tortillas (charred over a flame) and toppings on the side: salsa verde, diced onions, cilantro, radishes, lime wedges and avocado.

Cook's Notes: You can get pork fat from your local butcher, which adds extra flavor when frying. If unavailable, substitute a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil.

We use a 1 1/2-quart braiser to cook the pork and recommend you use something similar; the pork should crowd the pan a little so that it stays moist.

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