The Dish | Slow Cooked Carnitas

Whether by oven or slow-cooker, this is one of my favorite summer dishes — easy to make, delicious and feeds a crowd. Invite your friends over, mix up some Tres Agaves margaritas, and put some Pacificos on ice!    


For the pork:

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning 
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 navel orange, quartered
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • Head of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into 2 pieces 
  • 1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
  • ΒΌ cup neutral oil, such as safflower or canola

For the fixings:

  • 15-20 tortillas, wrapped in foil, warmed
  • 1 white onion, diced, 
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped, 
  • 2 avocados, sliced into cubes 
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Your favorite salsa

You can either use an oven or slow-cooker. 

  • For the oven, heat to 350 degrees.
  • In a large Dutch oven, combine pork cubes, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the oregano, and toss to evenly coat the meat in the spices. Squeeze orange juice all over the pork and add the juiced orange quarters to the pot.
  • Add onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf, and toss until well incorporated, nestling everything in an even layer. Drizzle oil evenly over the meat.
  • Cover Dutch oven with a lid and braise for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until pork is tender, stirring once halfway through the cooking. 
  • If using a slow-cooker, follow the same preparation instructions, have your cooker on medium-high and cook for 5-6 hours.   
  • Once the pork is cooked, remove the meat using a slotted spoon and place in a rimmed baking sheet. Using forks, shred the pork.  
  • Heat broiler to high, setting a rack ~6 inches from the heat source. 
  • Strain juices from the cooking pot through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on the solids; discard solids. Skim fat from the top and reserve the juices. 
  • Broil pork until golden and crisp in spots, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer carnitas to serving plates and drizzle with some of the reserved juices.
  • Serve warm with tortillas and toppings.

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