If you want Mexican street food at its finest in a gringo kitchen, these carnitas are not going to let you down.
The pork has a perfectly crisp exterior and unleashes incredibly seasoned flavors.
Taco night is a weekly event at our house. There’s just something about the perfect proportion of meat to tortilla to toppings. It’s the perfect harmony of flavors in one perfect messy bite.
Mexican Street Food Style Carnitas
If you want Mexican street food at its finest in a gringo kitchen, these carnitas are not going to let you down. The pork has that perfectly crisp exterior so wonderfully spiced and flavored when chewed on.
Really, I may have eaten an entire bowl of just the shredded pork before I even made the pickled onions. So if you want a true Mexican feast for Cinco de Mayo, start here, with this perfect pork and build up from there. I did, and I’ll show you how on Thursday.
Or, you could just shove tiny little pico de gallo topped carnitas in your mouth all day. I won’t judge. This makes a big batch…
A Great Carnitas Recipe
Carnitas are so easy to make, and you can use the meat for so many dishes. It is an easy win on so many levels. Everyone loves to eat it and will go from seconds to thirds. So, you literally can’t overdo it by making too much.
Truth be told, carnitas can be done two ways. Both are authentic, but just differ in regionality as far as what is popular. One, and this is the way I do it, is cooked low and slow in braising liquid. In the other version, the pork is slow cooked in lard.
Nothing wrong with that. I just prefer the braising method since I think it seasons the meat so nicely before you crisp it up.
More Mexican Street Food Style Recipes
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Carnitas: Mexican Pulled Pork
- dutch oven
- 1 3 ½ – 4 lbs boneless pork butt, fat trimmed to ⅛″, cut into 2 chunks
- 2 cups water more or less
- 1 onion peeled and halved
- 2 tbs lime juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1 orange halved
- Toppings: Minced red onion fresh cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, pico de gallo, sour cream, and lime wedges
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Place the pork in a Dutch oven with the onion, lime juice, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, 1 teas salt and ½ teas pepper. Add the water, it should cover just barely cover the meat.
- Squeeze the juice from the orange into the Dutch oven and throw the spent orange halves in there as well.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and transfer to oven.
- Cook for 2 hours, until meat is easily shredded with two forks, flipping the meat once halfway though cook time.
- Remove the meat from the Dutch oven and discard the onion, bay leaves, and orange.
- Place pot over high heat and simmer the liquid stirring occasionally until it leaves a trail when a spatula is run through it and it is thick and syrup like, about 8-12 minutes. It bubbles while cooking so use caution.
- Turn the oven to broil.
- Shred the pork into bite sized chunks.
- Fold in the syrup and spread out mixture in a single layer onto an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
- Broil on lower middle rack for 5 to 8 minutes, until meat is crispy but not charred.
- Carefully remove from oven, flip the meat and broil again for 5 to 8 minutes longer.
- Serve carnitas with desired toppings.