' Al Lago Wines - Carnitas


Recipe by Simone Lagomarsino


We love carnitas! Who doesn't love carnitas on nachos, tacos, and salads?! If you agree, you'll love this recipe!

At a Glance

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Yields: 8 - 10 Servings


It is important to have a 5.5-quart Dutch oven to prepare these carnitas.



3-4 pounds of boneless Pork Butt Roast (leave some of the fat on the roast, but none of the skin)

Half of a White Onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of Oregano

½ teaspoon of Cumin

Juice of 1 Lime

½ cup of Tequila

1 cup of Water

¼ cup of Orange Juice

2 tablespoons of Green Tabasco Sauce (this is optional, to taste)

½ teaspoon of Salt

½ teaspoon of Black Pepper, freshly ground

½ teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

1 tablespoon of Cilantro, chopped

Optional: Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil, approximately ¼ cup, as needed



Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, whisk the liquids (the water, the lime juice, the orange juice, the tequila, and the Green Tabasco Sauce). Then, add the onion as well as the garlic and whisk it further.  Excluding the pork butt roast and the cilantro, add the rest of the ingredients now and whisk it together. Into a 5.5-quart Dutch oven, put your pork butt roast.  Pour the liquid and the herb mixture over the pork, and place the lid on the Dutch oven. Place it in the oven for about 2 hours.  Remove the roast from the oven after 2 hours and add additional liquid, if needed. (If it is needed, add about a ½ cup of water, but most likely it will not be needed. There should be about 2 cups of liquid, so if you have less than 2 cups of juice, add the additional water). Put the lid back on the Dutch oven, and put the pork back into the oven for another hour. At that point, take the pork out of the oven and take the roast out of the Dutch oven and let it rest.  Let the liquid left in the Dutch oven cool and then put into a container and cool further in the refrigerator.  Once the pork roast is cooled, use two forks to pull the pork apart into bite-sized pieces.  Once the juice of the pork is cooled in the refrigerator, skim about 3 tablespoons of the congealed pork grease from the top of the juice, and put the grease into a cast-iron skillet. Be careful, because you do not want to include any of the juice -- just the pork grease. If you include any juice at all, it will begin to spatter, which can be very dangerous. If there is not enough congealed pork grease or if you are uncomfortable with this method of using pork grease, then use canola oil or a vegetable oil instead. Heat the skillet on very high heat. When the pork grease or oil is hot, add 1 ½-2 cups of the pulled pork.  Cook it on high heat and brown on each side of the pulled pork.  Turn the pulled pork periodically when it is browned and keep turning periodically until there are many pieces that are crispy.  Take the skillet off of the heat and add ½ cup of the juice from the pork (not more grease – but just the juice/broth from the pork).  This should sizzle a bit, but since it is off the heat, it will mix in and add flavor and moisture to the pork carnitas. Remove the pork from the skillet. If you want more servings of Canitas, wipe the skillet; return the clean skillet to the very high heat, and add another 3 tablespoons of the congealed, pork grease from the juice / broth of the pork. Heat them in the skillet on the very high heat, and cook another 1-1/2 to 2 cups of the pulled pork, as noted above. Repeat these steps as many times as needed to have the amount of Carnitas you would like. Put the Carnitas in a serving bowl and sprinkle them with the chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately. 

Surplus pulled pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, and cooked in the skillet in the same fashion when you are ready to use it.


Serving Suggestion:

We serve this with a wonderful Ranch Salad Dressing with Avocado and Cilantro with Carnitas and Taco Salad (to access the recipe, click here), or a Queso Dressing on a Carnitas Nacho Salad (to access the recipe, click here), nachos, tacos, and many other wonderful Mexican dishes.


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