Delicious Pork Carnitas Recipe – Receta de deliciosas carnitas de puerco


Yum! My mouth watering just looking at these tacos!

Yum! My mouth watering just looking at these tacos!

About 10 years ago I spent part of the summer at Trinity University in San Antonio, grading Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exams.  The work days were hard and long, but there was a bus stop right by the dorm I stayed in that headed straight to the Riverwalk.  So the second I was released from work, I jumped on that bus to spend my ten nights in San Antonio eating every kind of Mexican and Tex-Mex food imaginable – and left with a serious carnitas addiction.

That addiction led to years of experimentation with carnitas recipes – from books, online, friends, even trying to copycat and adjust restaurant dishes.  A few years ago, I FINALLY perfected the carnitas recipe, and it’s been a staple of all of our big family celebrations ever since – (most recently for Little Sister’s recent first birthday party!) This recipe is easy – it takes about 15 minutes to prepare before you put it in the oven and forget about it for awhile. The carnitas can be made up to 4 or 5 days in advance and still taste absolutely amazing, and it’s a fairly inexpensive way to feed a crowd, since pork shoulder is one of the cheapest cuts of meat available.


  • 8 medium garlic cloves
  • ½ medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (Mexican, if you have it)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 5 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into 2 inch chunks*
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola (I add a bit more because it caramelizes in the bottom of the pan and makes a great sauce)

*Note: Many people try to substitute a pork loin for the shoulder.  Don’t do it. However, the boneless pork country style ribs work really well as a substitution, and you can often get them for about $2.00 a pound a wholesalers such as Costco and Sam’s Club.

Here's a quick picture reference of the meat that I use

Here’s a quick picture reference of the meat that I use


Preheat oven to 450° F.  Combine garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, salt and ½ cup water in blender and process until fairly smooth. Combine pork and bay leaves in six-quart Dutch oven or deep baking dish that can hold pork in no more than two layers.  I make sure to line the pan with aluminum foil, because the sauce and the Coca Cola caramelize into sticky goodness – but it’s really hard to get out of the pan.

I use a big old knife to cut the ribs into two inch chunks like this

I use a big old knife to cut the ribs into two inch chunks like this

Pour garlic mixture and Coca Cola over pork. I recently made this recipe 6 times for the big birthday party, and used a generic cola instead of Coke, and it was my best batch ever.

Cover pot and cook in oven until pork is very tender, about two hours. At this point you have two options:

  1. Uncover pot and return to oven.  Continue cooking, tossing well and scraping bottom of pot every 10 minutes, until pork is slightly crispy on outside and deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.  
  2. Keep pot covered for another 15 minutes.  Turn off oven and uncover pork.  Leave in the oven about 25 more minutes.

Coarsely shred pork.  I pull all the fat off.  If I am serving on a different day, I let the pork cool before putting in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  On the day I serve, I put the pork in the crockpot with 2/3 cup water and 2/3 cup Coke, on low for about 6 hours before serving.

There are so many options for serving carnitas, but my favorite is over a warm corn tortilla with a fun spicy sauce (love this tomtaillo recipe from The Chunky Chef).  ¡Buen provecho!

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Easy Mexican Pork Carnitas Recipe


Hace casi diez años yo pasé un verano calificando exámenes internacionales de español en la universidad de Trinity en San Antonio, Texas.  Los días de trabajo eran largos y duros, pero había una parada de bus cerca de la sede, y el bus que pasaba iba directo al famosos Riverwalk.  Apenas salía del trabajo, montaba ese bus para pasar mis diez noches en San Antonio comiendo todo tipo de comida mexicana – y llegué a mi casa adicta a las carnitas.

Entonces pasé mucho tiempo tratando de perfeccionar mi recetas de carnitas… y por fin he logrado.  Hago las carnitas para casi todas las fiestas familiares, incluyendo la más reciente, la fiesta del primer cumpleaños de mi hija menor.  La receta es fácil… 15 minutos de preparación antes de meterlo en el horno.  Las carnitas se pueden hacer hasta 4 o 5 días antes y es una manera relativamente cómoda para dar de comer a muchas personas, ya que la carne de pecho de puerco es una de los cortes más baratas.


  • 8 dientes de ajo medium garlic cloves
  • ½ cebolla blanca, cortado en pedazos grandes
  • 1 cucharada de orégano
  • ½ cucharadita de tomillo seco
  • 5 cucharaditas de sal “kosher”
  • ½ taza de agua
  • 5 libras de carne de puerco: hombro o costilla, cortado en pedazos de dos pulgadas
  • 3 hojas de laurel secas
  • 1 taza de Coca Cola
De esta manera corto la carne antes de prepararla con la salsa

De esta manera corto la carne antes de prepararla con la salsa


Calentar el horno a 450° F.  Combina el ajo, la cebolla, el orégano, el tomillo, la sal y el agua en la licuadora.  Combine la carne con las hojas de laurel en una olla horneable con tapa.  La olla debe ser bastante grande para que el puerco quepa en no más de dos capas.  Revierte la salsa de la licuadora y la Coca Cola encima de la carne.  Cubre la olla y lo cocina hasta que la carne esté bastante suave, aproximadamente 2 horas. Destapa la olla y deja 30 minutos más, revolviendo cada 10 minutos.  

Desmecha la carne. Yo quito toda la grasa, pero es mi gusto personal.  Si no voy a servir las carnitas de una vez, pongo la carne en una taza con tapa en la refrigeradora.  El día de servir, pongo la carne en una olla de cocinamiento lento junto a ⅔ taza de agua y ⅔ de Coca Cola, y lo dejo a fuego bajo por alrededor de 6 horas antes de servir con tortilla de maíz y una salsa picante.  ¡Buen provecho!

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  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Nice recipe! I’ll have to try it. I recently made something pretty similar but in the slow cooker, and I let it cook a LONG time. I also used loin since I hardly ever buy pork and don’t really know much about the names. But I’ll ask about hombro next time I’m at the store.

    • Reply
      June 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      You definitely should – it’s awesome! You can ask for carne de pecho and you will get the perfect cut! Let me know how you like it. (P.S. I actually think it tastes even better when you make it with Big Cola – or “bikola” as the locals like to say.)

  • Reply
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    November 2, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Este sitio web es realmente un paseo a través de toda la información que quería sobre este este tema tan aditivo y no sabía a quién preguntar .