These slow roasted crispy pork carnitas are simmered for three hours and then placed under the broiler to get that crispy perfection you’re looking for.
Made by braising or simmering pork in oil until tender and then fried to crispy perfection. Everyone knows about Taco Tuesdays. Well for our family, there is also Taco Mondays, Wednesdays, Thurs… you get the picture! When thinking about what Lauren and I have most often for dinner, it’s probably some variation of tacos.
The first legit street tacos I ever had were authentic pork carnitas. I remember before even eating them, thinking it was odd to have a taco with no cheese. I mean I thought tacos and cheese went together like peanut butter and jelly, but it was just some crispy pulled pork, fresh onion and cilantro with a squeeze of lime! After one bite my opinion changed and I’ve been hooked on simple old school tacos ever since.
While I’ve had about every type of taco imaginable, carnitas are still my all-time favorite! The key for me is to get the pork crispy. After trying a variety of carnitas recipes, this has become my go-to. So give these crispy pork carnitas tacos a try.
What Ingredients Ingredients are in this Crispy Pork Carnitas Recipe:
- Pork Shoulder
- Orange Juice
- White Onion
- Corn Tortillas
How to Make Pork Carnitas
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices. Toss the cubed pork in the spice mixture, making sure it’s entirely coated.
- Heat large dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the pork on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
- Add the Coca-Cola, orange juice, water, lime juice, 1/2 the chopped onion and bay leaf, bringing to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 2 to 1/2 hours.
- With 30 minutes remaining, remove cover and simmer to reduce liquid. Once liquid is reduce, shred pork with two forks.
- Turn broiler on and place shredded pork on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until pork starts to char. Remove and add 1/4 cup of the juices to the pork. Repeat broiling 1-2 more times depending on the amount of char you like.
- Serve pork over warm tortillas with some chopped onion, cilantro and lime juice.
Do I Have to Use Pork Shoulder?
No. While I’ve used pork shoulder multiple times, I’ve actually given pork tenderloin a try and personally don’t notice much of a difference. Yes there’s a less fat so it doesn’t caramelize as much, but it tastes great. It’s a little healthier for you as well.
Do I Need to Use Coca-Cola?
No. You can easily substitute Coca-Cola for a light beer like Corona or chicken stock. I personally like Coke the best as it really helps caramelize the pork, which gives it great flavor.
Can I Make in Slow Cooker?
Yes. You still have to sear the pork in a skillet but then just transfer the pork to a slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. Then cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, removing the lid for the last hour so the liquid can evaporate.
Other Taco Recipes
- Cider Beer Braised Pork Tacos
- Crispy Tofu Tacos
- Slow Cooker Crispy Chicken Tacos
- Brussels Sprouts Tacos
- Cuban Mojo Pulled Pork Tacos
Crispy Pork Carnitas
- 3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 3" chunks
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup Coca-Cola (but you can use beer or chicken stock)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- juice of two limes
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- corn tortillas
- limes and avocado for serving
- Mix together the spices, salt and pepper. Toss the cubed pork with the spice mix. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the pork on all sides. Should be 2-3 minutes per side. Add the beer, orange juice, water, and juice of two limes. Add 1/2 the chopped onion and bay leaf and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover and simmer on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (1 hour more for pork tenderloin)
- Remove lid and continue to cook for another 30 minutes at which point the liquid should reduce and caramelize. Preheat oven to broiler and prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use forks to shred the pork and broil under high heat for 2-3 minutes until the edges start to brown. Remove and add 1/4 cup of the juices and broil for another 2-3 minutes. Add a little more of the broth once removed to make sure it's crispy but moist.
- While broiling the pork, heat an 8 inch frying pan to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and cook the corn tortillas individually on each side for about 30 seconds. Repeat for however many corn tortillas you'll be using. Serve with pork, chopped onion, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
NOTE - You can also cook in a slow cooker. Repeat steps 1-3 but then transfer the seared pork to a slower cooker. Add the liquids, chopped onion and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Remove the lid for the last hour to let the liquid reduce.