Crispy Pork Carnitas are baked low and slow until fall apart delicious, then finished under the broiler so the edges are caramelized and extra crisp.
I am crazy about this pork recipe! Honestly, it has taken me more than a few tries to get the recipe just right, so sharing it with you now is exciting! Crispy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) is so tender and juicy, while at the same time deliciously crisp and browned on the edges that I can’t get enough. This is a perfect recipe to have in your back pocket for parties, tailgating and of course Cinco De Mayo parties!
This recipe makes ALOT of pork, definitely enough for leftovers or to freeze. for later.
Reasons to love this Crispy Pork Carnitas Recipe
- Easy to make with little prep needed
- SO versatile: use it to fill tacos, quesadillas, nachos, sandwiches and more
- Makes a lot of meat – great for parties and potlucks
How to freeze cooked Pork Carnitas
- Cook the pork according to the recipe.
- Allow to cool slightly before packing into freezer bags or freezer safe containers. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing or fill containers to almost full to allow as little air in the container as possible.
- Seal and label. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Tips and Hints for making the best Crispy Pork Carnitas Recipe:
- Start with quality meat – use organic pork if possible
- I always say this, but the best results start with quality ingredients, so use the best you can afford.
- When it comes to using spices, keep the shelf fresh by storing spices in a cool, dark place, away from direct heat or sunlight. In tightly closed containers whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 2 to 3 years and dried herbs for 1 to 3 years.
- Use fresh squeezed orange juice and lime juice for the best flavor with no added sugar.
- Check the temperature of the pork with a digital meat thermometer throughout the cooking process.
Let me show you how easy Crispy Pork Carnitas are to make!
Start with a large, well marbled pork shoulder. This one is a full 8 pounds. I trim off the excess fat around the outside but if you love the fat, then leave it on. Say la vie!
Just a few spices and the meat is transformed from ho-hum (yawn) pork to a super All-Star! Rub this mixture into every nook and cranny for the best results!
It looks so pretty I hate to put it into the oven. Just gaze at it a few moments! When you are emotionally ready, put it into the oven and soon you will be rewarded with a mouth-watering aroma.
Carefully remove the cover and see the pork in all it’s delicious glory! This was so worth the wait. Before shredding, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the cooked pork – it should be at least 150 F. Tip: I hate washing dishes so I remove the meat right onto the baking pan for shredding. Keep the juices in the pan to have some to spoon over the meat before broiling.
The meat looks a little pale, but just you wait! Drizzle a little of the drippings over the meat before putting the pan under the broiler. It helps to keep the meat juicy and add back in more flavor.
Top the meat with a few green onion pieces, then broil until you see those delicious crispy edges! Browning is such a beautiful thing! Crisp and delicious and totally worth the effort!
Essential Tools and Ingredients to make this Crispy Pork Carnitas Recipe:
- Pork Shoulder Roast – it is marbled with fat and connective tissue that melts over the long cooking time. That will keep the meat moist and succulent, and give it a texture that can easily pull apart.
- Dutch Oven or a heavy, deep covered pot – I love my Dutch oven. There are several styles to choose from but I prefer ceramic coated cast-iron. It can safely go from the stove top to the oven, and is perfect for braising meats, cooking soup, baking bread and slow-cooking roasts.
Looking for other tasty pork and Tex-Mex style recipes? Check out my collection here:
- Country Ham and Potato Bake – creamy smoked sauce and melted cheese
- Best Ever Oven BBQ Ribs – fall off the bone goodness
- Chorizo Shepards Pie – A spicy sausage and potato pie
- Lime Marinated Chicken Tacos – Tex-Mex flavor explosion in a shell
- Poblano Chicken Fiesta – chicken with a kick
- Mexican Chorizo Rice – Hearty Tex-Mex main dish or side
Crispy Pork Carnitas Recipe
- 8 pound pork shoulder roast boneless, trimmed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 medium orange
- 1 medium lime
- 2 medium jalapeno peppers stemmed, seeded, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 medium green onions cut into 2 inch lengths
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- Cut pork into large chunks, as needed, to fit into Dutch oven
- In a small bowl, mix oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Rub pork pieces all over with spice mix and place pieces into Dutch oven.
- Juice orange and 1/2 of lime and pour the juice over the pork. Cut second half of lime into 4 chunks and place around the pork. Tuck prepared jalapeno and onion around pork pieces.
- Cover Dutch oven and cook on center rack of 275°F degree oven for 3 – 5 hours or until internal temperature taken with a digital meat thermometer is at least 150°F degrees. Remove from oven and allow meat to rest for 10 minutes in Dutch oven. Transfer pork to a baking sheet and shred into bite size pieces.
- Preheat oven broiler to High. Place shredded pork on baking sheet under the broiler for 4 – 8 minutes until meat edges are browned and crispy.
- Serve warm on tortillas with your favorite toppings.
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