Carnitas Recipe – Authentic Mexican Pulled Pork

Homemade Pork Carnitas Tacos with Cilantro and Onion | Brent Hofacker

Carnitas Recipe – Authentic Mexican Pulled Pork

Carnitas, which means “little meats” in Spanish, is a beloved Mexican dish featuring tender, juicy pork that is both braised and crisped for an irresistible texture. Here’s a simple recipe to make authentic carnitas at home.


  • 3 lbs of pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Water, enough to cover the pork


  1. Prep the Pork:

    Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the quartered onion, minced garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, cinnamon, and bay leaves.
  2. Add Liquids:

    Squeeze in the juice of the oranges and lime over the pork. Add enough water to just cover the meat.
  3. Cook:

    Bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the pork is very tender.
  4. Preheat the Oven:

    While the pork is cooking, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  5. Crisp the Pork:

    Once the pork is tender, remove it from the pot, and place it on a baking sheet, spreading it out in an even layer. Increase the heat under the remaining juices and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  6. Bake:

    Pour the reduced cooking liquid over the pork on the baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and roast until the edges of the pork begin to crisp and brown, about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Serve:

    Break the pork into smaller pieces using a fork. Serve hot with tortillas, diced onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Enjoy your homemade carnitas with a side of guacamole, salsa, or your favorite Mexican rice. This dish is perfect for a festive gathering or a family dinner. Happy cooking!

Leave a Reply