Carnitas at Home

Before meeting Paul, I never ate much pork: definitely bacon, but not much else. Beef has become a bit too heavy for my taste. I can only eat so much chicken. And we are too carnivorous a bunch to entertain vegetarianism, so pork has taken a starring roll in our regular rotation of meals. This sounds as if pork has a utilitarian role in our family, that is not so. We LOVE pork: carnitas, loin, chops, sausages, ribs, salami, prosciutto, and of course bacon. Pork is my family's meat of choice.

Mexican cuisine, hip to the wonders of pork, puts out so many great pork dishes. Whenever we go out for Mexican food, Carnitas is the family favorite - the simple preparation is a great way to enjoy the porky deliciousness.

A few times a year we make our own carnitas, using Paul's mom's easy recipe. This time, on top of homemade tortillas we added chopped watermelon radishes, avocado, cilantro, salt, and lots of lime juice.

  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • handful of coriander seeds
  • dozen whole black peppercorns plus a bit of ground pepper
  • 1 whole dried red pepper chopped
  • salt

Generously salt pork the night before cooking.

Place all ingredients in large pot (again we use the Le Creuset dutch oven). Completely cover pork with water. Cook several hours, about 4, until fork tender. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400.

After pork is cool enough to handle, remove from water and discard excess fat (leave on some fat that will caramelize in the hot oven). Place manageable carnitas chunks on a baking sheet, or ceramic baking dish. Place pork in hot oven until it is warmed through and sizzling. You may even want to stick the carnitas under the broiler briefly to insure crispy edges.

Serves 8


  1. this is looking ridiculously deli-ish!

  2. I also HEART pork, its just so good in any way jijijii... love your blog...

  3. Thanks Anonymous! Can you tell me.... how can pork be so tasty;)?

  4. Erin, have you tried cooking the pork in a crockpot before putting it in the oven? I'm curious if that would work while I'm at school during the day.

  5. Lady Natalie, I haven't done it in a crock pot myself - sadly I don't have one. But my guess is it would be great. Slow-cooked pork is almost always good.

  6. What is the purple fruit-like thing in the pictures? I don't see it mentioned in the recipes.

  7. Watermelon radishes. They are so cool looking (though these photos aren't the best). But any crisp radishes are a nice addition to a carnitas taco.


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