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Pork Carnitas


Pork braised with lime, orange juice and aromatics, then pulled, and broiled until tender inside, and crunchy on the outside. A delicious filling for tacos, burritos or tamales.

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Rate this recipe 4.3/5 (23 Votes)


  • 1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8-inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium orange, halved
  • 18 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
  • Lime wedges
  • White or red onion, minced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Sour cream


Servings 6
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 80mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300°F.

Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat).

Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice).

Add juice and spent orange halves to pot.

Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.

Option: I cooked the meat in my electric pressure cooker on HIGH for 35 minutes, and it was fork tender.

Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid).

Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heat safe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes.

Personal note: This took 20 to 22 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half.

Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan).

Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.

Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.

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