Pork Carnitas


The secret to these perfect carnitas? Sweetened condensed milk. It caramelizes to a sweet coating on the meat.

Hands On Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs


  • 1 ½ cup water

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped white onion

  • 6 garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Pinch ground cumin

  • 4 whole cloves, stems removed

  • 1 tablespoon lard or canola oil

  • 4 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 2 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 recipe Corn Tortillas or 16 purchased 6-inch tortillas, warmed

  • Salsa Verde Cruda

  • Pickled jalapenos and/or sliced radishes

Salsa Verde Cruda

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and halved

  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and top part of stems

  • 2 tablespoon coarsely chopped white onion

  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile pepper, stemmed and seeded, if desired

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

Corn Tortillas

  • 2 cup corn tortilla flour (masa harina)

  • 1 ½ cup water

  • Pinch kosher or coarse sea salt


  1. In blender add water, onion, garlic, the 1 Tbsp. salt, marjoram, thyme, pepper, cumin, and cloves. Blend smooth.

  2. In Dutch oven heat lard over medium- high heat. Add pork; top with 1/2 tsp. salt. Brown pork 10 minutes; turn occasionally.

  3. Pour onion mixture over pork. Bring to a simmer; cook 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in bay leaves, juice, and milk. Cover; simmer 11/2 to 2 hours or until meat pulls apart easily, stirring occasionally. Uncover; simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

  4. Discard bay leaves. Skim fat from liquid. Shred meat with a fork; toss with cooking liquid to moisten, if desired. For tacos, serve meat with tortillas, salsa, jalapeños, and radishes.

Salsa Verde Cruda

  1. In a blender combine tomatillos, avocado, cilantro, onion, chile pepper, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Blend until smooth.

Corn Tortillas

  1. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until very hot. Meanwhile, cut two 8-inch circles from plastic produce bags or plastic wrap. In bowl mix flour, water, and salt. Stir to form a smooth dough (if dough feels coarse, add a little more water). Shape into 16 smooth balls. Cover with damp dish towel or plastic wrap. To make tortillas, place a plastic circle on bottom of tortilla press; top with a dough ball. Place other circle on top of the ball; clamp press down to make a flat disk. (If tortilla edges look cracked and jagged, dough needs a little more water.) To flatten without a press, roll between pieces of plastic wrap with rolling pin. Open press; remove top plastic piece. Lift tortilla; peel off plastic. Cook tortilla on griddle 30 seconds or until spatula can lift it without sticking. Turn; cook 1 minute. Turn again; cook 10 to 15 seconds or until tortilla puffs in spots; cook 15 to 20 seconds to brown. Transfer to paper towel. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in resealable plastic bag in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, place on hot griddle for 30 seconds per side.

    Pork Carnitas

Pressure Cooker Directions

Prepare as above through Step 1. In a 6-quart multifunction electric cooker, use saute setting to brown meat in batches, seasoning with a little salt and pepper with every batch. For stove-top cooker, brown meat in batches, over medium-high heat. Return all meat to cooker. Pour onion mixture over pork and lock lid in place. Set electric cooker on high pressure to cook 60 minutes. For stove-top cooker, bring up to pressure over medium-high; reduce heat enough to maintain steady (but not excessive) pressure. Cook 60 minutes. Remove from heat. For both models, immediately release pressure. Open lid carefully. Transfer to a bowl. Continue recipe through Step 4.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

476 Calories
19g Fat
29g Carbs
46g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 476
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 550mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 46g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 3.9mg 22%
Potassium 1134mg 24%
Folate, total 25.6mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.1mcg
Vitamin B-6 1.4mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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