Get Your Carnitas Fix: The Ultimate Recipe Guide

Hey there, fellow foodies! Are you a fan of Mexican cuisine? If you are, then you’ve probably heard of carnitas, one of the most popular and loved dishes in Mexico. Carnitas are made from pork that has been seasoned and slowly cooked until it’s tender and juicy. The result is a delicious and flavorful meat that can be used in a variety of ways, from tacos and burritos to sandwiches and salads.

Get Your Carnitas Fix: The Ultimate Recipe Guide

But, if you’re not lucky enough to live in Mexico, finding good carnitas can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate recipe guide to help you get your carnitas fix at home. We’ve gathered some of the best recipes out there so you can make your own delicious carnitas and enjoy them anytime you want. So, let’s get cooking!

Carnitas Recipe: The Ultimate Guide to Authentic Mexican Pulled Pork Dish

What is Carnitas?

Carnitas are a popular Mexican dish that is made of slow-cooked pork. The pork is juicy and crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside. The name ‘carnitas’ comes from the Spanish word for “little meats.”

Ingredients and Preparation

The key to making authentic carnitas is using pork shoulder. Other ingredients include orange juice, lard, garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. The pork is first cut into large chunks and then simmered in a mixture of orange juice and spices until it is tender. After that, the pork is fried in lard until it becomes crispy and golden brown.

There are a few things to keep in mind when cooking carnitas. First, it is essential to use a heavy-bottomed pot to cook the meat and to keep the heat low and slow. Second, it is important to let the pork cook until it is falling apart before frying it. This will ensure that the pork is tender and flavorful.

Serving Suggestions

Carnitas can be enjoyed in many ways. One popular way to serve carnitas is in tacos. To make a carnitas taco, place the crispy pork on a corn tortilla and top it with chopped onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Another popular way to enjoy carnitas is in a burrito. Simply wrap the pork in a flour tortilla with some rice and beans, and you have a delicious and satisfying meal.

Carnitas can also be used to make nachos, quesadillas, or eaten alone as a main dish. The possibilities are endless! Top off the dish with some freshly chopped onions, cilantro, and lime wedges, and maybe even your favorite hot sauce, for a burst of flavors.

Overall, carnitas is a classic Mexican dish that is easy to make and incredibly flavorful. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make your own delicious and authentic carnitas that everyone will love.

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Your Carnitas Recipe

Creating the perfect carnitas recipe is easy, but it requires a lot of care and attention to detail. Follow these tips and tricks to make sure your carnitas come out flavorful, tender, and crispy every time.

Choosing the Right Cut of Pork

The success of your carnitas recipe largely depends on selecting the right cut of pork. While pork shoulder is the most commonly used, you can also use other cuts such as pork belly or ribs. The most important thing is to choose a cut that has a good balance of lean meat and fat. The marbling of fat throughout the meat is what gives the carnitas their tenderness and flavor.

If you are trying to reduce the fat content of your dish, it is possible to use a leaner cut of meat, but you may need to add more liquid to the cooking process to prevent the meat from becoming dry.

The Slow-Cooking Process

Slow-cooking is the key to achieving that melt-in-your-mouth texture that sets carnitas apart from other pork dishes. It is essential to braise the pork in liquid until it is fork-tender. The cooking time can vary significantly, but it is common for the meat to be cooked for 2 to 4 hours. The longer cooking time allows the fat to break down and the juices to infuse into the meat for maximum flavor.

When slow-cooking your pork, be sure to keep the heat low and steady. Do not allow the temperature to rise too quickly, or the meat may become tough. You should also stir the meat occasionally to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Crisping Up the Pork

While the slow-cooking process is important for tenderness, the final step in creating the perfect carnitas is to crisp up the pork. To achieve this, you will need to fry the meat in lard. The lard provides a rich, savory flavor and allows the meat to crisp up evenly. It is important to use a deep and wide pan to avoid overcrowding the meat. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of frying, which will not give you the crispy exterior you desire.

When frying your pork, you should keep a close eye on it to prevent burning. Use tongs to turn the meat frequently until it is evenly browned and crispy on all sides. Once the pork is crispy, remove it from the pan and let it drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

By following these tips and tricks, your carnitas will come out perfectly every time. Experiment with different cuts of pork and seasoning blends to find your signature recipe.

Savor the Flavor: Thanks for Reading!

We hope you enjoyed our ultimate guide to making delicious carnitas at home. Whether you’re an experienced cook or just starting out in the kitchen, these recipes are sure to satisfy your cravings for juicy, flavorful pork. Don’t forget to experiment with different toppings and side dishes to create your perfect carnitas feast.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article. We appreciate your interest in our recipes and we hope you’ll come back for more culinary inspiration in the future. Until then, happy cooking and savor the delicious flavor of homemade carnitas!


1. What is the best cut of meat to use for carnitas?

We recommend using pork shoulder or pork butt for the most flavorful and tender carnitas.

2. Can I make carnitas in a slow cooker?

Yes! Simply brown the pork in a skillet first, then transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

3. What should I serve with carnitas?

Common toppings for carnitas include diced onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and avocado. Serve with warm tortillas and your favorite Mexican-inspired sides like rice and beans.

4. How can I make my carnitas crispier?

After cooking the carnitas in the oven or on the stove, spread the meat out on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for a few minutes until crispy.

5. Can I make a vegan version of carnitas?

Yes! Try using jackfruit instead of pork for a delicious, plant-based alternative.

6. How long do leftover carnitas last in the fridge?

Leftover carnitas can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

7. Can I freeze leftover carnitas?

Yes! Carnitas freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

8. How do I reheat leftover carnitas?

Reheat carnitas in the microwave or on the stove with a splash of water or broth to keep the meat moist.

9. Can I use a pressure cooker to make carnitas?

Absolutely! Pressure cookers are a great way to make tender, flavorful carnitas in a fraction of the time.

10. How do I make carnita tacos?

Warm up some corn tortillas, add carnitas, and top with diced onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!