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Mexican Carnitas Recipe

Mexican Carnitas Recipe

Ever hear of carnitas? They're easy-to-make pork crisps that are very popular in Mexico. The secret to this recipe is the quick frying. Be sure the meat is well drained before it's placed in oil, though, or it will splatter and pop. —Patricia Collins, Imbler, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. Bake: 2 hours YIELD:12-16 servings


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 large oranges, divided
  • 1 large lemon
  • Oil for frying
  • 12 to 16 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
  • Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream and avocado slices


  • 1. Place meat in a medium-size roasting pan. Sprinkle with garlic and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from one orange and the lemon over the meat. Slice the remaining oranges and place over the meat.
  • 2. Cover and bake at 350° for about 2 hours or until meat is tender. With a slotted spoon, remove meat and drain well on paper towels. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and fry meat in batches until browned and crispy.
  • 3. Serve warm in tortillas with toppings of your choice.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled pork mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Fry meat in batches as directed until crispy and brown. Serve as directed. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Nutritional Facts

4 ounce-weight: 341 calories, 19g fat (4g saturated fat), 50mg cholesterol, 387mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 18g protein.

Reviews for Mexican Carnitas

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aug2295 User ID: 4631582 221765
Reviewed Mar. 1, 2015

"This was really tasty. I agree the citrus was more subtle than I expected, but the frying really brought out the flavor. I served with chimichurri sauce on tacos."

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 12792
Reviewed Jan. 2, 2011

"I expected the citrus to shine through in this meat, which it didn't really, but the overall taste was still quite delicious! Served it up with avocado slices & fresh cilantro in corn tortillas."

Trilby Yost User ID: 5195621 201349
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2010

"I like that after the meat has baked it can be refrigerated (the taste actually improves) or even frozen. Later I only have to take what I need to fry, instead of frying it all for one meal and probably having leftovers."

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