Traditional Pork Carnitas

Happy Pre Taco Thursday! Today’s recipe is not only easy, but super delicious and a definite crowd pleaser.

We made these for a family dinner and everyone loved them! Did you know that carnitas translates to “little meats” and is typically made by braising the pork in oil or traditionally lard. Obviously our recipe doesn’t involve cooking the pork in lard or oil, but cooking it in the next best thing: BEER!

Remember when you get your pork shoulder/butt don’t trim the fat! The fat helps keep it juicy and gives it SO MUCH FLAVOR.

Pork Carnitas

Traditional Pork Carnitas 


  • 6 pounds of pork shoulder/or butt
  • Kosher Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Bottles of Modelo or Your Favorite Beer
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoons Cumin
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons Garlic (Minced)

Step 1: 

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Step 2: 

Depending on the size of your meat, you may want to cut the meat into manageable size chunks. Season both sides of the pork liberally with kosher salt.

Step 3: 

In a cast iron pot/dutch oven/or pot, heat your vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, brown all sides of the pork. Remove from the pan and and blot them dry with paper towels.

Step 4: 

Pour in two cups of beer to deglaze the bottom of the pan of all the delicious brown bits. Next add the cinnamon sticks, the bay leaves, chili powders, cumin and garlic. Stir until everything is mixed together.

Step 5:  

Next, add the pork back to the pot. If needed add a little bit more beer (or water if you’re out) to cover the pork about two/thirds of the way. Place in the oven uncovered for about 3.5 hours.

Step 6: 

When the meat is ready, remove the meat to a platter and let cool. Strain the cooking liquid and return to the pot. Skim as much fat off the top as you can. Turn on the heat and bring the liquid to a boil and then lower the temperature.

Step 7: 

While the liquid is reducing, allow the meat to cool until you can handle it. Shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot with the reduce liquid and serve.

Pork Carnitas

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