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Carnitas are a truly amazing one-pot dish. After some time and TLC, you'll watch the meat go from simmering to frying, leaving you with tender chunks and crisps bites of pork - the perfect filling for a taco. We love the combo of pickled onions, sour cream and avocado for toppings.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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3 pounds fatty boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks

Kosher salt

2/3 cup vegetable oil or lard

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

Large pinch crushed red pepper

Small pinch ground cloves

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 bay leaves

Juice of 2 limes

Two 3-inch strips orange peel

1/2 small white onion, finely chopped

Soft corn tortillas, for serving

Suggested toppings: sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, pickled onions, chopped avocado and pico de gallo


  1. Toss the pork with 2 teaspoons of salt. Transfer to a 6- to 7-quart Dutch oven or pot along with the oil, oregano, red pepper, cloves, garlic, bay leaves, lime juice, orange peel and onion. Cover with 4 to 5 cups of water. Bring to a high simmer, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot and simmer gently, checking occasionally to give it a stir, until the pork is tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and orange peel. (The pork will not look super-attractive at this point but don't panic!)
  2. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer vigorously, stirring frequently, until all of the water has evaporated, leaving only the oil, and the pork has browned and begun to fry slightly at the bottom of the pot; continue to cook, scraping up the bottom of the pot frequently to release the fried bits, 30 to 40 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork from any remaining oil in the pot.
  3. Serve with tortillas and suggested toppings to make tacos.