Slow-Roasted Pork Carnitas

Carnitas de Puerco
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Votes: 248
Rating: 2.85
Recipe from Season 7, Mexico —One Plate at a Time
Servings: 6Makes 1 3/4 to 2 pounds finished carnitas


  • 4pounds bone-in pork shoulder roast, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch slabs
  • Salt


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each slab of pork in half and lay the pieces in a baking dish (they should fit into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish without being crowded). Liberally sprinkle with salt (about 1 teaspoon) on all sides. Pour 1/3 cup water around the meat, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 1 hour.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Uncover the meat and cook until the liquid has completely reduced and only the rendered fat remains, about 30 minutes. Now, roast, carefully turning the meat every 7 or 8 minutes, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer. Break the meat into large pieces and serve on a warm platter, sprinkled with salt.



  1. Making this recipe for dinner!


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  2. I ate this recipe at my parents’ house during the 4th of July weekend and I think it’s a great method of making carnitas. My folks may have lowered the temp just a bit, but the idea was basically the same: a low, slow covered braise followed by an uncovered high-temp roast. I’ve been lucky enough to eat great carnitas both here and in Mexico, and I even made carnitas once at home in the traditional style, where you twice-fry the meat in lard. This recipe is easier, less messy and more economical than the lard method, and the results measure up to the best carnitas I’ve had: tender, flavorful meat with crispy caramelized edges, delicious on its own and even better with green sauce and avocado.

  3. This is my go to recipe for carnitas. Whether the pork will be used in making tacos or as the meat portion of New Mexican green chile stew, I just love the way the pork comes out. When I’m separating the meat from the bone, I have a tough time keeping myself from nibbling. It’s so good. We love to get a glass of wine and pick at the freshly baked meat. This has been a problem because twice I didn’t have enough meat left to make the dish for which the carnitas was prepared. I had to make more, which started the same vicious cycle of nibbling and drinking.

    For this recipe I use a low profile, five quart, enameled cast iron Dutch oven, rather than a baking dish covered w/ foil.

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