Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

I had a friend tell me this weekend that if she sees a recipe with too many ingredients, she immediately puts it aside as too difficult to make. If anybody else feels the same way she does, then these pork tacos are for you! Not only is there a short ingredients list, but the recipe couldn’t be easier and it tastes like you slaved all day over it.  The pork simmers for hours on the stove, requiring little to no attention, and in the end it literally melts in your mouth. It’s tender and flavorful and is sure to have people going back for seconds.  We’ve served it to guests twice now and both times have had people eating the leftover pork straight out of the pot.

I’m still trying to convince my friend that a long ingredient list does not mean the recipe is difficult, but in the meantime, these pork carnitas are proof that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a great meal.

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

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Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas


3 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 cups beef stock
2 cups Orange Juice
14 oz chunky salsa
Corn or Flour Tortillas for serving
Salsa, Guacamole and Cheese (for toppings)


Combine the cubed pork, stock, orange juice and salsa in a dutch oven or oven safe saucepan, The liquid should totally cover the pork. If it doesnt, add a little water until the pork is submerged. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer with the lid on for 3.5 hours. The pork should be falling apart to the touch.

Towards the end of the cooking time, pre-heat the oven to 450. When the pork is done, drain the liquid from the pork. Using a fork, gently pull apart the meat in the bottom of the pot or saucepan. Place the pan into the oven for 20 minutes for the pork to caramelize.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Serve the carnitas with corn or flour tortillas, salsa, cheese and guacamole.

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39 Responses to “Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas”

  1. 1

    Mari — February 28, 2011 @ 3:23 am

    Oooh! This is one I'll be trying for sure. Thanks!

  2. 2

    Priyanka — February 28, 2011 @ 5:20 am

    Lovely :)

  3. 3

    Denise — February 28, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    You had me at slow cooker and a small list of ingredients — plus it looks so good.

  4. 4

    Jessica @ How Sweet — February 28, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    Craving one of these! Yum!

  5. 5

    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — February 28, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

    D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S !!!

  6. 6

    Melissa — February 28, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    Do you think this could be done in a crock pot, rather than on the stove? Sounds delish.

  7. 7

    RecipeGirl — February 28, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    My husband's absolute favorite- carnitas!

  8. 8

    The Hughes Family — February 28, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    I guess what you are going to have to do…is invite this friend over again…wow her with an amazing meal with a lot of ingredients and I think that will cure me! :-) We had so much fun! :-)

  9. 9

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — February 28, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    Melissa – I haven't tried it, but I'm guessing the crockpot would be fine. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  10. 10

    Maria — February 28, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    Great dinner idea. I know Josh will love these!

  11. 11

    Sandra — February 28, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    Oh that looks so delicious..Love your tasty photos!

  12. 12

    Tracy Wood — February 28, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I just printed this recipe – it looks great! I love the idea of the orange juice. We eat this kind of food every week – thanks for sharing!

  13. 13

    Chelsea — February 28, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    Wow, these look delicious. We've been eating a lot of Mexican-type food lately, but primarily with beef and chicken. You've inspired me to use pork!

  14. 14

    Eliana — February 28, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    Love recipes that are easy to put together but don't skimp on flavor. These look amazimg Megan.

  15. 15

    Heather Christo — February 28, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    This sounds so good- I have actually been craving carnitas…

  16. 16

    Sara — February 28, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    Oh that looks delicious! I've never had carnitas but I'm sure I will love it—but the idea of purchasing pork butt is weird to me. HA

  17. 17

    Kristen @ Change of Pace — February 28, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    Oh my husband would love this. I'll have to try it!

  18. 18

    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — February 28, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

    Oh wow, Megan, these carnitas are mouthwatering! I've been in the mood for some good bright, summery flavors lately and this would be just perfect. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  19. 19

    marla — February 28, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

    I like simple ingredients that say a lot. These look great Megan!

  20. 20

    Happy When Not Hungry — February 28, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

    I just had pork carnitas tacos the other night at Mexican restaurant. Will definitely have to try this recipe. Yum!

  21. 21

    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — March 1, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    I actually made pulled pork on Sunday (a massive batch), this looks like a terrific use for it!

  22. 22

    Elle — March 1, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    That looks so incredible at this moment. Well, it would anytime-but just made me so hungry!

  23. 23

    FromTheHeartsOf — March 2, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    Yummy! Those look so good!

  24. 24

    Melissa @IWasBornToCook — March 2, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

    Yeah, this is perfect. I'd definitely make it in the crockpot…just to have it be even easier! :)

  25. 25

    Kudos Kitchen — March 3, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

    I wish you could hear my stomach growling as I'm looking at your photos :)

  26. 26

    Megan — March 3, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    I always order carnitas when we go Mexican and you can be sure I'll try this!

  27. 27

    Peggy — March 4, 2011 @ 2:56 am

    I love slow cooking meals! This sounds really great!

  28. 28

    Anonymous — March 6, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    Just made these for Sunday dinner, they went down a treat. Fantastic recipe!

  29. 29

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — March 7, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    Anonymous – So glad you liked these! Thanks for stopping back to let me know :)

  30. 30

    Bonnie — March 10, 2011 @ 12:39 am

    Just made these for dinner tonight – YUM! Definitely a “make again” as I call them, after checking with the husband. Side note, when asked how we were going to eat the rest of the guacamole without tortilla chips, (silly me, forgot to buy some), I suggested pretzels. YUM.

  31. 31

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — March 14, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    Bonnie – So glad you liked these! It's deifnitely one of our favorite meals now! Glad you found a way to eat that leftover guacamole :)

  32. 32

    Samantha — July 7, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

    @ Sara– You can ask for Pork Shoulder instead, it's the same cut!

  33. 33

    pork carnitas recipe guy — July 30, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    Pork carnitas can be cooked in a slow cooker as well. It is so convenient to fit around a busy schedule – just load the cooker, turn it on and go. If you time it just right, it should be ready for dinner time. To get that crispy effect, preheat the oven as soon as you get home, pull or chop the pork and spread on a large baking pan. Pop it in the oven until it reaches the desired crispiness.

  34. 34

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — August 1, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    pork carnitas recipe guy – Thanks for the information! Next time I think I will try it in the crockpot. Do you know how necessary it is to chop the pork into pieces beforehand?

  35. 35

    Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas » — March 22, 2012 @ 9:35 am

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  36. 36

    Lora — March 22, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    Hi Megan – would it be possible to cook this in a slow cooker and if so, how long should I let it cook in it for?

    • megan replied: — March 23rd, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

      Yes you could definitely cook these in the slow cooker. You would probably still want to finish them in the oven though, to help caramelize them. I’m just guessing on the time, as I’ve never done them like this, but maybe 6 hours on low? Just cook it until the meat is falling apart tender. Good luck, and I hope you’ll let me know how they turn out!

  37. 37

    Amy Kay Brown — August 10, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    Made these this week for dinner and they were delicious 😉 We were able to use the cooking broth to make rice (served with the pork) so as not to waste it. My husband also used some to make a quick tomato/egg soup.

  38. 38

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