The BEST Pork Carnitas

Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 20 hours
Servings: 16
It was high time we made the BEST Pork Carnitas Recipe and this is it. A hint of citrus, juicy meat with those classic crispy bits!



  • 2 Cups Orange Juice
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Orange Peel
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

Pork Rub

  • 3-4 Lb Pork Butt , bone-in * (see notes for using boneless or cubed pork shoulder)
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Orange Peel
  • 2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander


  • Canola Oil , for final crisping
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth


For the Brine

  • Combine all brine ingredients in a large pot and stir to combine.
  • Add the pork and place a lid on then stick it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

For the Pork

  • Heat the oven to 225 degrees F.
  • Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Mix the rub together and rub all over the pork.
  • Mix together the liquids and pour in the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Add the pork.
  • Cook for 12-14 hours or until internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.
  • Remove the meat and let rest for up 2 hours.
  • Shred the meat and place the liquids in a fat separator.
  • Heat some oil in a pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the shredded pork in small amounts and toss as it begins to crisp. Remove to a pan and repeat until all batches are done.
  • Toss with a little of the juices from the fat separator and serve!


  • If you use a boneless or cubed pork shoulder, it will most likely be done sooner. Keep your eye on it. I would start checking around 9-10 hours.
  • To make this dish in a slow cooker, follow the same instructions except cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. You will still want to crisp them up in a pan on the stove after the meat has rested.
Nutrition Facts
The BEST Pork Carnitas
Amount Per Serving (1 /2 Cup)
Calories 644 Calories from Fat 387
% Daily Value*
Fat 43g66%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Polyunsaturated Fat 23g
Cholesterol 192mg64%
Sodium 2691mg117%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 52g104%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.