Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baked Pork Shoulder for Carnitas

My family loves, loves, loves Mexican or Tex-Mex food! I make it every week, even if it's only Taco Salad or Tacos. But this week I made Carnitas, which is a taco made with braised pork shoulder and they are so good! Pork shoulder roasts are usually very economical to buy and you get a lot of meat for your money, which is a major plus these days. I paid $1.49 pound for this 71/2 pound roast roast which will last several meals, or I can put half in the freezer, which I did.
To prepare the roast, first rinse well with water and pat dry with paper towels. Add your spices, lots of spices, then brown it some on top of the stove. Add some chopped onion, garlic cloves, peppers and some broth or water and stick in a slow oven for a few hours. You could also do this in the slow-cooker. When done you take couple of forks and shred the meat and I like to add

the onion and pepper mixture that I have fished out with a slotted spoon. At this point, you can freeze some of the meat if desired. You will need to add some of the pan juices to the meat to keep it from drying out in the freezer. To ready the meat for the tacos, place meat in a hot oven for 20 minutes or so, until the meat browns and then it is ready to devour! Place meat on heated corn tortillas and whatever toppings you desire! The flavors are amazing and the meat is tender!

Add a squeeze of lime, if desired, along with salsa, sour cream, avocado, cilantro or whatever you favorite toppings are. Carnitas are very addictive. This meat is very addictive, as it is also good served by itself. We also use leftovers for sandwiches. Note: you may use a smaller pork roast, just adjust the cooking time. A 3 pound roast will get done more quickly.
1 pork shoulder roast, any size (mine was 71/2 pounds)
4-6 cloves of garlic , I used 4 very large cloves
1large onion,diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced, or other peppers of choice
spices- chili pepper, cumin, garlic powder, kosher salt and pepper, or others you like
2 cups broth or water
Corn tortillas, softened
Rinse roast with water and dry well with paper towels. Liberally sprinkle roast with salt and pepper and other spices. In a dutch oven in 2 Tbs. oil, brown the roast on all sides over medium high heat. Watch carefully as the spices can burn easily, so do this quickly. (You can skip this if pressed for time.) Add the liquid to the pot along with the garlic, peppers and the onion. Cover and bake in a slow oven. I baked it at 300 degrees for about 41/2 hours. Meat is done when a fork can easily pull the meat apart. Remove from the oven and taking a fork in each hand, shred the meat. It should fall into bite sized pieces easily. Then, I like to take a slotted spoon and gather the bits of onion mixture from the broth and add it to the meat. I don't want to waste a bit of goodness here! You may freeze some of the meat for a later meal, as long as you add some of the pan juices to it ti keep the meat moist. To do the Carnitas, pace the shredded meat in a baking pan and place in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or so until meat is brown and slightly caramelized. Now you are ready to build your Carnitas!
Soften the corn tortillas by placing in the microwave until they puff a little. Or, you may cook them in a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat, flipping over when they begin to puff. You will need to drain them on paper towels, if frying. Place tortillas on plate and add all the yummy toppings you want! The meat is melt in your mouth goodness, and it only gets better when you add salsa, avocado, green onions and whatever else you like! The only problem with these is that you may want to eat a vast amount, as the flavors are so enticing and delicious! Do you make Carnitas and if so, what toppings do you like?


  1. this looks so good - i can imagine using the meat in many ways, the main one being in a meat pie with mixed cheeses
    here in crete, greece, we don't have access to texmex cuisine, but i can imagine eating it regularly if i lived in the us

  2. Oh yum! We love tex-mex food in our house too. I will certainly give this roast a try :)

  3. I have never made carnitas, only ate them in restaurants. Yours look absolutely delicious!

  4. Oh these sound to die for and they look absolutely delicious. I would love right right now!

  5. I love carnitas but have never made them at home. I think it's time I try - great recipe.

  6. This is a great recipe with beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This looks absolutely delicioso. I don't cook Mexican enough and I don't use my slow cooker enough. You've sold me on pork shoulder.

  8. Oh this looks delicious can't wait to try. The Pork looks so tender.

  9. Looks delicious. I love guacamole with my carnitas and plenty of salsa :)

  10. This looks and sounds totally yummy, Lynda. And I'm not surprised you don't eat lamb around here, it's mega expensive. Pork is so much more economical, but sometimes you just crave things from your past and have to have them.

    I am from the hill country of Lancashire in England where sheep abound, so lamb (and mutton if you go back some) has always been a staple food.

  11. I'm doing this tomorrow for my wife and I. I'll let you know how it turns out


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