Three carnitas street tacos and bowl of salsa from the front.
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5 from 2 votes

carnitas

Pork carnitas make the most amazing tacos ever. Use leftovers with eggs, on nachos or toss them in a taco salad.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carnitas, pork carnitas, tacos
Servings: 12
Calories: 309kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-3 inch cubes
  • 1 orange halved
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 cloves garlic split
  • 1 cup rendered pork lard melted vegetable oil can be substituted if you can't get lard

Instructions

Dry-brine the pork

  • One or two days before you want to serve the carnitas, slice the pork shoulder in half (for a 3 lbs roast).
  • Salt liberally.
  • Wrap and refrigerate.

Make the carnitas

  • Pre-heat your oven to 275F.
  • Cut the pork into large 2-3 inch cubes.
  • Place the pork, bay and quartered onions in an oven proof dish just barely big enough to hold the ingredients. Make sure there's a bit of extra height so you don't spill hot oil onto your floor (yes, I did that the first time I made these)
  • Squeeze the juice of the orange over the pork then nestle the two rinds in with the pork and onions.
  • Pour enough pork lard overtop to just cover the meat.
  • Cover tightly with foil and cook until the pork is fork tender. This takes about 3-5 hours. This step will vary from oven to oven and the size of the pork chunks. Temperature control in ovens is not all that precise. Start checking it after about 2 1/2 hours.
  • When the meat is fork tender use tongs to remove the pork. Shred the pork. A couple forks works well for this.
  • Pour 6-7 Tbsp of the pork lard over the top of the shredded pork. Save the rest to do other things. It's now become about the best thing there is on the planet for frying eggs FWIW.
  • The pork will give off some liquid as well. Use a fat separator. Serious eats suggested making a cooked salsa with this leftover liquid. Not a bad idea at all.
  • When you are ready to serve, set your oven to broil with the rack about 4 inches from the element. Place the pork and fat on a sturdy cookie sheet. Broil until a bit of the pork starts to crisp (2-4 minutes). You want a mix of crispy bits and tender bits. Just a little crunch. Don't go crazy.
  • Taste and season. Depending on how much salt you added for the dry-brine you may or may not need more salt.
  • Serve with pico de gallo or salsa of your choice. A little squeeze of lime adds a nice bright flavour. A bit of cilantro works nicely.

Notes

For this you want the boston butt or blade roast. This is the same cut used for pulled pork. If you aren't sure ask your butcher.

Nutrition

Serving: 12servings | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 479mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 7.5mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1.1mg