Simple Carnitas

Before I get started, I have to tell everyone to go and see Antichrist, directed by Lars von Trier. Kramer and I watched it last night and despite the fact that it was absolutely horrifying, it was very beautifully done and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s definitely not for those with a weak stomach, but if you’re a fan of horror movies, this one will blow you away, guaranteed.

Now, off of horror films and back to food. I love carnitas and I order it whenever I get a chance. It’s basically a Mexican version of pulled pork, if you’ve never had it before (it’s a staple here in Arizona). I had never made it at home before, though, so it was always a special treat to get it at a restaurant. Well, those days are over, because this recipe for carnitas is so easy and so delicious that there’s no reason to treasure restaurant carnitas anymore (although I probably will, anyway). The bold flavors in this simple dish are exciting and surprising, especially when you consider what few ingredients went into it and how it takes almost no effort to make. I was almost shocked at how easy it was to make carnitas in my own home! I ate mine over a salad, but Kramer ate his in a tortilla (pictures after the cut) and we were both very pleased with our dinners. The leftovers were great the next day, too! I just ate the carnitas straight up; can you blame me? If you’ve never had carnitas before, don’t bother going out – make it right in the comfort of your own home! You won’t be disappointed.

Simple Carnitas
Your very few ingredients.

Simple Carnitas
Chop up your onion and jalepeno pepper and toss in your pot.

Simple Carnitas
Cube your meat and add it to the pot as well.

Simple Carnitas
Add in just enough water to cover everything and add in your spices.

Simple Carnitas
Stir everything up and bring everything to a boil.

Simple Carnitas
After it’s come to a boil, turn the heat down and allow everything to simmer for about 90 minutes.

Simple Carnitas
Keep simmering until the water has mostly evaporated.

Simple Carnitas
After about 90 minutes, there should still be some juices left in the pot. Drain them and put the pork back in the pot. The original recipe said to

Simple Carnitas
Shred the pork with two forks and add the juices as you need it. You can keep the remaining juices in the fridge for leftovers.

Simple Carnitas
I ate mine over a fresh green salad.

Simple Carnitas
And Kramer ate his in a tortilla. Definitely give a squeeze of lime over everything to brighten up the already bold flavors!

Simple Carnitas
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 3 pound pork butt (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (seeds discarded)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • water
  1. Place everything in a large pot and fill with just enough water to cover everything.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for an hour and a half to two hours.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until almost all the water has evaporated and the fat has rendered. Drain the remaining juices from the pot and set aside to use as needed. Stir a few times to make sure that the pork turns golden brown and crispy on all sides.
  4. Shred the pork to the desire sized pieces with two forks and serve in tacos, on a salad, or however else you like.
Adapted From


9 Responses

  1. that girl down south says:

    I’ve always had carnitas as pulled pork prepared like above but then pan fried to give it that crispy texture. Try it if you still have leftovers. It is so good that way.

  2. Jen T. says:

    This looks awesome! I have a carnitas recipe from an old co-worker that uses orange juice and milk, which seems like a gross combination but it’s quite good. You may have just inspired me to make it again, or maybe I’ll give this recipe a try!
    For some reason your posts haven’t been updating in my Reader for about a week, will have to figure out what the deal is there…

  3. Beth D. says:

    This sounds really good. Love carnitas! I have been following your blog for a couple months now. You do such a great job. If you don’t mind me asking, what type of camera you use? Your pictures are always so clear, and show off the food so well…

  4. EAT! says:

    Love the leftovers!

  5. Kristie B says:

    These look so simple and delicious! I’m definitely going to give it a try. I found your blog when googling pulled chicken recipes a few months ago and have been following it ever since. I really enjoy your recipes and the layout. Keep up the good work!

  6. Susie D. says:

    I made this tonight. It is some of the best pork I’ve ever had. I served it on corn tortillas with sour cream and homemade salsa. Thanks for the great recipe!

  7. admin says:

    Jen: We’re working on a completely new layout and messing around with my blog all the time, so hopefully in a week or so everything will be fixed! I think that orange juice in carnitas sounds freaking delicious!

  8. admin says:

    Beth: Thank you very much! I use a Canon Powershot A640, nothing too fancy!

  9. admin says:

    Kristie: Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

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