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Pork Carnitas

Servings: 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

For the Pickled Red Onions

  • 1/2 large red onion cut into thin slices
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Carnitas

  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder Boston Butt, pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion cut into small pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp salt and 1/2 tbsp pepper or to taste

Instructions

For the Pickled Red Onions

  • To make the pickled onions: Add all of the juices, sugar, and salt to a jar and shake to combine.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the onions, cooking for 20-30 seconds to soften.
  • Drain and add to the jar of liquid while still warm.
  • Cover, shake, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (but it's better after 4).

For the Carnitas

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Cut pork into 3" chunks, discarding any big pieces of connective tissue, but keeping all of the fat.
  • In a large, wide oven-proof pot, dutch oven, or cast iron skillet, put the pork chunks into 1 layer.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin powder.
  • Scatter the garlic and onions on top.
  • On the side, combine orange juice and chicken broth (or water).
  • Pour over the pork until 3/4 submerged.
  • You want to be able to see pork on the top so you may not use all of the liquid.
  • Pour over the vegetable oil.
  • Place pot into oven on middle rack or so there is even space all around it.
  • Let cook for 4-5 hours, checking every 30 minutes or so. It should take about 1.5 hours for the liquid to start simmering and the fat to start rendering out of the pork.
  • After 1.5 hours, if the liquid is not simmering, turn up the oven by 50 degrees to kick start the process then turn it back down after it is simmering.
  • Turn the pieces over every 30 minutes. Eventually, you want the pork to be frying in its own fat with some of the liquid reduced. If it looks too dry, add some more chicken broth/water or OJ. Keep checking it with 2 forks to see how easily it pulls apart. When it falls apart, it is done. But make sure the fat has rendered out! The one thing you don't want is a bit chunk of fat on top of the pieces of pork.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly then shred with 2 forks or tongs, adding a bit of orange juice if it looks too dry.
  • Serve with corn tortillas, pickled red onions, slices of avocado, or your favorite taco toppings.
Nutrition Facts
Pork Carnitas
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 866
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 215.9mg72%
Carbohydrates 15.1g5%
Fiber 1.9g8%
Sugar 7.3g8%
Protein 54.4g109%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.