Pork Carnitas is one of the first recipes that I posted when I started out as a blogger back in 2017, but with technology moving forward at such a rapid pace, the earlier post is buried somewhere in an error message. Oops.
A Longtime Favorite Ranch Recipe
I have seen other recipes for Pork Carnitas which resembled pulled pork or braised pot roast of beef. But this recipe is the traditional way that we make carnitas at the ranch. Deeply fried and finished with milk and an orange placed in the cooking pot, these carnitas are distinctive. With a lightly crispy crust, we chop the carnitas before adding them to hot corn tortillas.
Carnitas is definitely a winter dish. Back in the olden days, pork processing happened during the cold months of the year, especially around Christmas time. Rendering lard, making tamales and making a batch of carnitas with the leftover bits of pork was the annual tradition. Of course, these days you can simply head to the supermarket and pick up the ingredients needed for making carnitas. It’s fun to think about the old days, but boy I love the convenience of the supermarket!
The toppings for carnitas can ranch from lettuce or cabbage, chopped radishes, pineapple bits, avocado slices, chopped onion, cilantro and tomato…whatever you like on your tacos. Of course, you can make a Salsa Verde , Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Salsa or a Roasted Tomato Salsa to go on top. I usually load mine with Pickled Onions.
Pork Carnitas are for Parties!
Be aware that this is a party sized recipe for Pork Carnitas. The recipe isn’t difficult or tedious, but carnitas are rich, delicious and incredibly special. Why enjoy them alone? It wouldn’t make sense!
I love making carnitas on the weekend when we have time to enjoy them. After a long work week in front of my computer or behind the camera, a fresh batch of carnitas, a spicy salsa and a cold beer are just the ticket.Print
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 70 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
3 lbs. pork (boneless ribs work well /1.36kg) cut into 2″-3” cubes (5cm/6.5cm)
1 cup water (240ml)
¼ cup lard (50g)
1 unpeeled orange, cut in half
1 cup evaporated or whole milk (240ml)
12–16 corn tortillas (Heat in advance, keeping them warm and ready to serve)
Place pork meat in a 6 qt Dutch oven or saucepan (6lt) and add water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until all the pork is browned and cooked through. Uncover the pork and continue to simmer until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the pieces of pork so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add the lard and orange halves and continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Occasionally turn the pork pieces with a spatula, so that they brown evenly. Add the milk to the pot and continue to cook the pork for another 20 minutes, until the carnitas are golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the carnitas from the cooking pot and drain on paper towels.
Serve warm with corn tortillas and salsa.
If your cooking pot is messy after making the carnitas, simply allow the cooking pot to cool, drain the excess cooking fat, and fill the pot with water. Return the pot to the stove, and bring the water to a boil for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot cool down. Drain the water and easily remove the baked-on residue.