I like Mexican Food. As a young boy, my family traveled in Mexico for family vacations. I still remember the sites and smells of the various places we went; the street taco stands, tamale vendors and men walking the streets with live cabritos hanging in a bunch over their shoulders. The food was always wonderfully aromatic, full of spice and loaded with carbs.  As I got older, at first, the carbs seemed to hang with me; now they seem to hang on me.  As a result, we don’t eat a lot of Mexican food anymore.  Nonetheless, there is always that hankerin for some good ole Mexican food.  While there are several taquerias near the house, inasmuch as Baby Lady is from El Paso we try to cook Mexican food at home.  This recipe was my Mexican food fix and the downfall of my diet and healthy lifestyle, at least for a day.


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium oranges/4 small oranges, juiced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 10 peppercorns crushed
  • 1Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste


Make sure you use a fatty pork shoulder or butt because you will need the rendered fat for the frying stage at the end.  If you do not have enough rendered fat you will have to add lard toward the end to get the crispy meat.

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot (I use a 13 inch cast iron skillet). Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, thyme, salt and just enough water to barely cover the meat.

Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Slowly simmer uncovered and undisturbed until ALL the water has evaporated and the meat is tender (not falling apart) approximately two hours.

After the water has evaporated, increase heat to medium and fry  the pieces  the rendered pork fat turning gently as needed until they are brown and crispy on the outside, approximately 1 hr.

To serve, warm corn tortillas, and serve with avocado slices, chopped cilantro and other fixings of your choice, i. e. pickled jalapeños, salsa, pico de gallo, onions, lime wedges, slaw, etc.


7 thoughts on “Carnitas”

  1. I’m going to try this in the fall , I live in a small town with alot of Italian people , so the grocery stores carry alot of good pork around that time of year for making sausage etc. We don’t usually use much of the fatty meat, but in this case I can see why you would want a little. I also just happen to have this nice 9qt cast iron dutch oven that is purfect for this type of dish. I might have it with some chimichurri sauce I make

    1. Thanks for dropping by and your nice comment. This is a great recipe and your cast iron dutch oven would be great. You get the flavor of the pork with the crispy bits and a hint of the citrus. Let us know how you like it.

  2. Hi Richard! Just made simple carnitas sous-vide for the first time (post to follow). They were delicious. Cooked 36 hours at 65C/149F and spiced only with achiote paste and chipotle powder. I will try a sous-vide version of your recipe next!

Food for thoughts

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