Carnitas Recipe with Pork Butt/Shoulder

This carnitas recipe is simple and perfect for entertaining. I love how you can serve it with different homemade toppings like my pumpkin salsa or pickled veggies. Don’t be scared of lard. Fat is good for us! 

Confused on what meat to choose, why you should only eat pastured raised? See the full post here.

PLUS, Butcher Box is offering my readers $10 off your order, PLUS FREE BACON!! 

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This recipe makes tacos for about 6 hungry people. Leftovers are perfect on a salad the next day.

Prep Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 2.5 hours


  • 3 lbs boneless pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes *always choose pasture raised, organic, no hormones or antibiotics

  • Make the rub with 2 tbsp sea salt, 2 tsp paprika powder, 1 tsp ancho chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, & 2 tsp garlic powder

  • Avocado oil or grass-fed lard (yes lard) for frying

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 orange, cut in half

  • 1 white onion, chopped

  • For tacos: Corn tortillas, sliced avocado, lime wedges, pickled veggies, and salsa

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Cut pork into 2-inch chunks, toss with spice rub and set aside.
3. Heat a dutch oven or any heavy bottomed oven-ready pan over medium-high heat with just enough oil/lard to cover the bottom.
4. Once oil is hot, brown the cubed pork evenly on each side, going in batches, so there is only one layer of meat at a time. I usually do 2 batches.
5. When all the meat is browned, transfer to a plate. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with 1 cup water, using a spoon to break up the brown bits.
6. Put all of the meat back into the pan and cover with about 1 cup water until it's nearly submerged. Add cinnamon stick, orange and onion.
7. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Braise in oven about 2- 2.5 hours.
8. Stir the meat after one hour.All of the liquid should be evaporated by hour 2. Carnitas should be ready in 2.5 hours or when you can easily shred the meat with a fork.
9. When meat is fork tender, transfer to a baking sheet. Use forks or your hands to shred the meat into smaller pieces.
10. Turn your broiler on to high and place a rack towards the top. Broil the pork for about 5 minutes or until the outside begins to get crispy.

Serve family style with warm corn tortillas, pickled veggies, limes, avocado and salsa.