crispy pork carnitas

Crispy pork carnitas make some of the best tacos around. Little bits of pork wrapped in a soft corn tortilla. That is just good living.

I’m so obsessed with pork carnitas. Tacos in general I suppose. I can’t do it like they do in Mexico. Giant pots of carnitas simmering pork lard is a bit over the top for my kitchen. Sad but true. 

Oven baked pork carnitas

This is a scaled down version. No giant pots. No cooking tons of pork a week. But a little bit of pure pork goodness nonetheless. And there’s pork lard. Tasty, tasty pork lard.

These are taqueria style carnitas. Probably how they make them in restaurants outside of Mexico. Not quite the same but really close.

You get a mix of meltingly tender pork and little crispy bits. Serve that up with a little salsa and a squeeze of lime and you could probably fool yourself into thinking you are in Mexico.

Get the recipe here.

Sous vide style

Sous-vide is a more upscale approach. This is seriously tender pork. Think of slow cooker done right. The more sophisticated carnitas. Upscale even. 

If oven baked is what they serve at that little taqueria downtown, this is definitely uptown. Posh Mexican restaurant tacos. 

I came up with these by accident. Rick Bayless was taking about these crazy pork paves he serves at Topolombambo. So I tried to make them. 

I failed. They totally self-destructed when I tried to fry them. But that epic fail gave me this sous vide approach. So I’m not too broken up about it. 

Get the sous-vide recipe here

I like both versions. A lot. Just depends what you are going for. If you want downtown – oven style is best. If you want uptown it’s sous vide all the way. Try them both. You can’t go wrong.


These crispy pork carnitas are as close as you are going to get without a plane ticket to Mexico.


10 thoughts on “crispy pork carnitas”

  1. 5 stars
    This looks and sounds AH-MAZING! Pork carnitas is my all time favorite, we usually do it on the smoker. The crispiness in your method speaks to me, and I love Alton Brown and Serious Eats! Out to purchase some pork lard now haha. Can’t say I’ve EVER bought lard of any sort before but I’ve got a pork butt in the freezer and I need to make this NOW! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you! Once you get some lard you’ll find all sorts of places to use it. Pretty much in anything you are making that’s Mexican in origin I like lard better than oil. Roasting potatoes, frying eggs, re-fried beans, making chili – all good. It’s adds a nice porky flavour to everything.

    • My pleasure. It’s a bit more work than a slow cooker (but not a lot) and the difference is dramatic. The trick is sourcing the pork lard but vegetable oil will do in a pinch.

  2. What do you mean who needs sriracha? Everyone needs sriracha! …and duck fat, and pork fat…haha You should see my fridge, its jars and containers of everything and anything – I almost have no room for food! These pork carnitas look TO DIE FOR. The browning and the crisping! This looks right up my alley, I like how you even mention how high up to put the meat in the oven for the proper crisping!!

    • Haha. My fridge looks exactly the same. There is never any room for food. I’m more of a sambal oelek fan than Sriracha and now that they are using it in fast food commercials it’s time to move on:-) Maybe I’ll get a small bottle – more room for stuff in the fridge that way.

  3. Yess carnitas!! I love carnitas, but have never made them at home! I definitely will now though. If I don’t have a fat separator, can I just spoon the fat off the top? Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to make this!

  4. We just bought half a pig from a local farmer, so I happen to have tons of pork lard in my freezer right now! I was wondering what to do with it, now I know.:) I absolutely love carnitas, can’t wait to try it out.


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