The Perfect Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

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It's hard to believe I went until age 22 without falling in love with Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas. Never fear, we've made some changes since then and these Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas are now one of our favorite little indulgences. This is the type of recipe that you can make and then use for multiple nights for a variety of dishes!! Who can say no to that?

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas in tacos with guacamole and limes


 

Why I Love This Recipe

The pork shoulder gently cooks for 3 hours and when it's done, it literally melts in your mouth. Insanely tender and even more delicious with the addition of a little guacamole, it makes for a 100% satisfying meal. Add a skinny margarita and you couldn't pay me enough to share!

You could use this carnitas recipe and throw it into tacos, nachos, quesadillas, or any other application you deem fit. You honestly couldn't go wrong!

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

Ingredients & Substitutions

How to Make

Place the pork in a large dutch oven with the orange juice, lime juice, salsa and salt. Add enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours, at which point the pork should be falling apart to the touch.

Turn the heat up to medium high, and continue to cook the pork for 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring every once in a while, until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat as been rendered.

Parts of the pork should be caramelized and golden brown. Remove the dutch oven from the stove and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container for 4 days in the fridge

Tips & Tricks

This recipe is super straight forward! If you prefer a tomatillo salsa to a chipotle salsa, please feel free to make that substitution! And if you want to make your own, the recipes for both are linked above. But if not, feel free to use store bought as that's easier and 95% of the time exactly what I do too!

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

FAQ's

What kind of meat is carnitas?

Pork. Specifically the Pork Butt of Pork Shoulder

What is difference between pulled pork and carnitas?

Pulled pork is typically made from pork shoulder, slow-cooked until tender and then shredded. Carnitas, on the other hand, is a Mexican dish made from pork shoulder or butt that is braised or simmered until it becomes tender and then shredded or chopped.

What is carnitas vs barbacoa?

Carnitas is a Mexican dish made from braised or simmered pork, typically seasoned with spices such as garlic, cumin, and oregano. Barbacoa, on the other hand, is a traditional Mexican style of cooking meat, often beef or lamb, that is slow-cooked until tender.

How do you serve Carnitas?

Carnitas is traditionally served in tacos or burritos with toppings such as onions, cilantro, salsa, and lime.

Similar Recipes

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 9 votes
Cook once and eat a lot! I love to use these in many meals over the course of a week.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2 inch cubes
  • ½ cup fresh Orange Juice
  • ¼ cup fresh Lime Juice
  • 10 oz chipotle salsa
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste

For Serving

  • pico de gallo
  • guacamole
  • charred tortillas
  • chopped onions and cilantro
  • freshly shredded cheese

Instructions
 

  • Place the pork in a large dutch oven with the orange juice, lime juice, salsa and salt. Add enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours, at which point the pork should be falling apart to the touch.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high, and continue to cook the pork for 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring every once in a while, until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat as been rendered.
  • Parts of the pork should be caramelized and golden brown. Remove the dutch oven from the stove and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container for 4 days in the fridge

Notes

You could use this carnitas recipe and throw it into tacos, nachos, quesadillas, or any other application you deem fit. You honestly couldn’t go wrong!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 492mg | Potassium: 619mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

For another great comforting pork recipe, check out my Pulled Pork Sliders

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking

60 Comments

  1. I know that pork tenderloin could be drier - but do you think this would work with a tenderloin? The recipe looks AMAZING and I have one thawing in my fridge!!

    1. it doesnt have the fat content for this cooking method! There are some pork tenderloin recipes on my site if you want to use those!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, they were a hit! And so easy. The meat was tender and flavorful. I didn’t have chipotle salsa so I used chipotles in adobo, the whole can. It was delicious. I love Gaby’s recipes. Simple and delicious!

  3. Taking this along (the second time) for a hostess present. Because what is better for a weekend guest to bring than pork carnitas?!! Nothing, that's what i say!! This soooo good and sooooooo easy to make.

  4. 5 stars
    These carnitas were so easy and delicious! My husband and and I loved them. So yummy! We’ll definitely be making them again and again. Thank you!

    1. Yes - you could do it in a slow cooker just broil it on a sheet pan once it comes out to get it crispy on the edges!

  5. Delicious. I made for my daughter's 13th birthday party and we did a nacho bar. Everyone loved it. Will definitely make it again. I used Guy Fieri's chipotle salsa.

  6. Hi Gaby,
    I'm a huge fan of carnitas but have never "attempted" lol ...to make .
    This recipe looks super easy !! But, I'm curious what you refer to with the Chipotle salsa.?
    I've only bought Chipotle peppers in the can.

    1. I have my own brand of chipotle salsa you can buy at williams sonoma. Otherwise any other thin red salsa will work!! I like the ones that are flavored with chipotle. It's usually a fresh salsa so it would be in the refrigerated section of the market!

  7. Made this today and it was AWESOME! I did sort of change one thing. I added a small can of chipotles with the sauce into the citrus juice, then blended it with a blending stick instead of using chipotle salsa. Then poured it over the meat and cooked as directed. I served it on corn tortillas with Yucatán style hot pink onions with habanero chiles and chopped cilantro. YUMMMM!!!!!!

  8. I never comment on recipes but this one is worth commenting on! I made this last night for 20 people I doubled the recipe and they were amazing!!! I was hoping to have leftovers but no such luck. I have passed this recipe on to others and will most definitely be making it again!

  9. Do you think I could initially cook this in the crock pot then broil to get crunchy before serving? If yes, what temp and how long? Should I adjust fluids?

    Thank you!

    1. yes I totally think you could do that but I haven't done it before so I can't say how you should alter times with exact certainty. My initial instinct would be 8-10 hours on low. or 4-5 hours on high and keeping the liquids the same. LMK what you end up doing as I'm sure other people are curious!! Thanks 🙂

  10. This looks great! I'm having a nacho bar party and wondering if it would be possible to keep the carnitas warm in a crock pot? If so, do you have any tips for how to do that (liquids to add incase extra moisture is needed?) I'm also wondering if it would be possible to keep the nacho cheese sauce warm in a crock pot? Thanks!

    1. nacho cheese sauce in a crock pot = 100%

      carnitas - yes you can keep them warm in the crock pot too! Just dump the entire tray of carnitas after you broil them into a crock pot and keep it on low!

  11. Carnitas is one of our favorite meals around here. I love making it for a group, so fun. Your version looks excellent - love that OJ!

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