Traditional Carnitas (Mexican Pork Confit)

Carnitas is Mexico’s version of pulled pork, slow cooked in lard (pork confit) with traditional Mexican flavors. When done right, this dish is juicy & tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. 

There are many ways to make carnitas, but most will argue that it is NOT carnitas if it isn’t slow cooked in manteca (lard). Although I agree with this sentiment, I have tried carnitas prepared in other ways and thought those were pretty tasty too. The slow cooker method is great! 

Thats not to say I don’t think it is important to teach people the traditional way of making carnitas. This is a dish that Mexican people are very passionate about- every region has their own style of making it but it is said to have originated in the state of Michoacán. 

One thing I will say is that I can definitely tell if carnitas were/weren’t cooked in lard. It does give it more of an authentic taste, but if you didn’t grow up eating it then you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. 

Ingredients:

  • Pork butt- I dry brine large pork butt chunks in kosher salt for an hour before cooking. Over night in the fridge would be really great if you have the time. If you don’t have an hour to do this, that’s totally fine too. You may also use pork shoulder but I find that it doesn’t turn out as tender as pork butt since it has less marbling. 

  • Manteca- manteca is lard and a lot of people would argue that it’s not carnitas if it isn’t slow cooked in lard (confit). I’ve made carnitas many times using a completely different method and it turned out pretty good. But it is important to note that the traditional way to make carnitas is by slow cooking it in lard. I think it also gives it a more authentic taste.

  • Seasoning- Salt, Mexican oregano, cumin, & black pepper

  • Orange- use both the juice & peels!

  • Aromatics- garlic, onion, bay leaves, and cloves. I’ve seen a lot of carnitas recipes that also add cinnamon. I’m personally not a fan but feel free to add a cinnamon stick in there as well. 

  • Evaporated milk- milk is a great tenderizer and I’m using evaporated milk because it goes through a process called fore-warming, which prevents it from curdling when introduced to high temperatures. You can use regular whole milk, but just be careful because it can curdle and turn sour when you pour it in. It’s best to add it in after the water and orange juice, since they will bring the temperature down a bit. 

  • Mexican Coca cola- add this in the last 20-30 minutes of cooking for color & flavor. I don’t like to add too much since it is sweet- half a bottle is enough. 

Tips on how to make authentic tender, juicy, & crispy carnitas

Here are some of my tips for making the best carnitas at home! The full recipe with ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this blog post. 

  • Make sure you get the correct cut of pork. For a long time I used to think pork shoulder and pork butt were basically the same thing, but they are not. Pork butt, often called “Boston butt” comes from the upper part of the shoulder and has higher fat content. Pork shoulder comes from the bottom shoulder and has less fat, so less marbling which means less flavor/tenderness. 

  • Cut the pork butt into large chunks with flat, even surface areas so that they brown nicely. My pork butt was about 3.5 pounds and I cut it into 6 pieces. 

  • Sprinkle kosher salt all over the pork and rest in the fridge overnight for the best results. This is called dry brining and allows the salt to penetrate the meat and give it more flavor. It will also help with browning. If you don’t have time to do this overnight, 1 hour rested on the counter is fine. 

  • Use lard that has been rendered from your local butcher, or from the Mexican market. These are usually darker in color and give a better flavor. The white lard you buy in grocery stores are usually hydrogenated and lack the flavor needed for carnitas. 

  • During the first 40 minutes of frying, be sure to lift the pork pieces occasionally to make sure they are not sticking or burning on the bottom. If kept at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, you should only have to lift a couple of times. Try not to disturb the pork too often as it will prevent even browning. 

  • Don’t worry if your pork doesn’t look like it’s getting enough color in the first 40 minutes. You don’t want them to brown TOO much or the outer layer will be too tough. It will take on more color after you add the coke.

  • After adding the evaporated milk, trust the process! If your heat is too high when you add it, it may look like it curdled, and for a good 10-20 minutes it is not going to look pretty. Be patient and let the evaporated milk do its job, which is tenderizing the pork even more. 

  • During the slow cooking portion of this recipe, flip the pork as needed to get even browning on all sides. Keep the temperature between 200-220 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Add the coke in the last 20-30 minutes of slow cooking for flavor and color. This is optional but highly recommended. 

What to do with the leftover lard

Lard can be reused, but it degrades each time and also retains a strong taste of whatever it was used for originally. You should only reuse it once or twice.

I filter the lard and set some aside to refry leftover carnitas, but you could also just mix it in with the carnitas and store in the fridge that way. You don’t need a lot! Just enough so that you can add them directly to a pan to reheat them. 

My favorite way to reuse carnitas lard is to make refried beans! I’m pretty sure this is the secret to how some of the best Mexican restaurants make super delicious refried beans. 

What to make with carnitas:

There are SO many ways you can enjoy carnitas. The possibilities are endless. 

Here are some of my favorite things to make:

  • Tacos

  • Tortas Ahogadas

  • Burritos

  • Flautas/taquitos

  • Burrito bowl

  • Empanadas

  • Gorditas

  • Enchiladas

  • Quesadillas

Storing

One of the things I really love about this dish is that it freezes VERY well. If you have leftovers that is- you can portion them out and freeze to use for a quick lunch or dinner later. 

To reheat, thaw out in the fridge then cook in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat, covered for 5-7 minutes. You can add a little water to the pan to add a little more moisture back to the carnitas if needed, but I don’t usually have to do this. 

Traditional Carnitas (Mexican Pork Confit)

4.99 from 55 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 3 to 3.5 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb lard
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cloves (spice)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 oz Mexican coca-cola

Instructions
 

  • Cut your pork butt into large chunks. I had a boneless 3.5 lb pork butt and cut it into 6 even pieces.
  • Cover in kosher salt for 1 hour. This is called dry brining and if I have time, I usually do this overnight in the fridge.
  • Melt the lard in a large pot over medium heat. You can use a wooden spoon to check when it is hot enough- bubbles will float to the surface rapidly.
    *You only need enough lard to cover 80% of the pork- it does not need to be fully submerged. For 3 to 3.5 lbs of pork butt in a 10 inch pot, you'll need 1 lb of lard.
  • Add the pork butt chunks and leave it for 20 minutes, picking up each piece occasionally to make sure the bottom does not stick/burn. Adjust the heat to medium low if it starts to brown too quickly. The temp should be around 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After 20 minutes, flip over and repeat on the other side. Don't worry if your pork doesn't look like it's getting enough color. You don't want them brown TOO much or the outer layer will be too tough. It will take on more color after you add the coke.
  • Next reduce the heat, then add the onion, garlic, black pepper, cumin, Mexican oregano, cloves, and bay leaf, juice of an orange, the peels, water, & evaporated milk. Slow cook for 1 1/2 hours between 200-220 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add Mexican coca-cola and slow cook for another 20 minutes.
  • Remove from pot and let it cool. The pork chunks should be so tender that you can see them jiggle when handling.
  • Shred the carnitas easily with your hands and that's it! The inside should be super tender and juicy, and the outside crispy with a beautiful dark & shiny color. See notes below for ideas on what dishes you can make with carnitas.

Notes

There are SO many ways you can enjoy carnitas. The possibilities are endless. 
Here are some of my favorite things to make:
  • Tacos
  • Tortas
  • Burritos
  • Flautas/taquitos
  • Rice bowl
  • Empanadas
  • Gorditas (recipe for gorditas here)
  • Enchiladas
  • Quesadillas

Storing

One of the things I really love about this dish is that it freezes VERY well. If you have leftovers that is- you can portion them out and freeze to use for a quick lunch or dinner later. 
To reheat, thaw out in the fridge then cook in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat, covered for 5-10 minutes.

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

This Post Has 109 Comments

  1. Lindsey

    5 stars
    Absolutely phenomenal carnitas recipe! I’m so happy I stumbled upon it. This will definitely be a new go to in my household.

  2. Tamás

    5 stars
    Wow, it just worked! I never had proper carnitas, I’m from central Europe and all the mexican restaurants are just crappy here. This was my 5th attempt to make it myself and with this, mixed with some proper salsa verde, cilantro in homemade tortillas, I feel like this made it to my top 5 food ever! Thank you so much!

  3. Anonymous

    this might sound like a stupid question, but do you take the pork out of the lard before adding the spices, juice, water, and evaporated milk?

    1. Pete

      No you leave it in the lard the whole time.

  4. Kevin M.

    5 stars
    This recipe was amazing, couldn’t have asked for a more delicious and fairly straight forward recipe. Definitely plan on making again (and I took your tip and used the leftover strained lard when I made beans). Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Katlan Grinnell

    5 stars
    I couldn’t get the meat to brown. I wish I cut into thicker chunks. I was only able to fit half of my pork in the pot, so I will try again. Any tips to get better browning?

  6. Crystal

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I’m going to!! I’ve tried making carnitas in the past but not like this. Now this might sound like a stupid question but on one of the steps you say to slow cook the pork, do you mean slow cook on the stove, and if so on the low setting or do you mean slow cook in crockpot on low setting?? Please help!!

    1. David

      This is a stovetop recipe, not for a slow cooker. Never tried but I don’t know if putting lard in slow cooker is a good idea or even possible.

    2. Anonymous

      It would be slow cook on the stove.

  7. Alexander

    When cooking in batches should we add more coke and oranges and everything else everytime ? or will the lard retain those flavors

    1. Alexander

      can also cook them concurrently in separate pots but would like to limit the amount of dishes after

  8. Anonymous

    Do you begin cooking the pork at room temp?

    1. Anonymous

      It’s almost always going to best to cook meat when at room temperature. The muscle structure will constrict less.

  9. Anonymous

    5 stars
    made her previous carnitas recipe countless times so thought I’d try the updated traditional version and it’s just as good/even better ! always a crowd pleaser whenever I make it 🥹

    1. Robb

      5 stars
      There’s a simple solution to the issue of milk curdling. You simply need to warm the milk and water before adding it to the confit. I put all my additional ingredients into a pan to warm them, then I whisk the warm contents into the conditioner. No curdling.

      1. Robb

        sorry… whisk the liquid into the confit. (autocorrect got me!)

  10. Sharon

    5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for carnitas and it turns out perfect every time! Easy to follow instructions, authentic and delicious!

  11. Crystal - Lovelylilcb

    5 stars
    Absolutely so delicious and such an easy recipe to make … reheats well too!! Only way my 2 year old will eat pork so far

  12. xtina_11

    LOVE LOVE this carnitas recipe. Saw it way back on instagram and decided to make it for super bowl, I did it the day before to allow myself some time (used meat for tacos next day) .
    Mexican Coke was a nice touch. these were a hit and will definitely make again.

  13. Devon

    5 stars
    Best carnitas! I love dipping a tortilla in the oil before frying it to make a crispy taco.

  14. Kimberly

    5 stars
    These are the BEST carnitas I’ve ever had. The first time made, they were gone instantly. I’ve made them several times since and always double it, they’re phenomenal, everyone loves them!

  15. Carlos

    5 stars
    I’ve made more carnitas in the last few years then I ever have before so good

  16. Kturcios0826

    4 stars
    Loved this recipe so easy to follow but best of all So delicious

  17. jenchonbomb

    5 stars
    seriously my go-to carnitas recipe! I grew up in So Cal, so after moving out of state it was hard to find a spot with carnitas that scratched the itch. now I have zero worries because I just make it myself lol. Thank you so much, Stella for sharing your amazing recipes and creations!! Love always, @jenchonbomb

  18. Amalia

    5 stars
    This is the best carnitas recipe, omg i love it

  19. jannicee

    5 stars
    I’ve tried many carnitas recipes but this is hands down theeee best! Flavors are deep and texture is ALWAYS perfect. This dish is a crowd pleaser every time I make and pairs perfect with pickled red onions. Thank you for sharing this gem 🫶

  20. Brookes

    5 stars
    This recipe is delicious! When I was a kid, my dad used to make carnitas on a disco (obtained from a tractor by means I am unaware of) outside with at least four blocks of Manteca. This recipe reminds of those nights! The addition of orange was an unexpected and welcome twist that added complexity to the dish’s flavor. I love to make this recipe for the most special occasions!

  21. Hazel

    5 stars
    I have made this so many times, the recipe is spot on! Perfect to save in the freezer and when ready, thaw out and reheat. The taste gets better and better!

  22. Suzan Santos

    5 stars
    I have made this 3 times and absolutely LOVE it! It is not a quick and easy recipe, but if you value authentic, amazing flavor, then this is worth it and a recipe to try! The flavor was so good I could eat it every day. My son actually ate the leftovers so quickly I was mad at him because I wanted to eat them! I couldn’t blame him-it is that good! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! All your recipes are so flavorful!

  23. Cindy avillegas

    5 stars
    My go to carnitas recipe- I make it with my adult daughter’s when they come visit.

  24. Jon

    5 stars
    I made this. It turned out amazing!
    Used the authentic manteca from my local carniceria (Sonoma, Ca) (don’t tell my wife).
    You website is on my shortlist every week.
    Thank you.

  25. Lynn

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a dozen times and the family loves it every time! My oldest asks for it when he comes home from college. Thank you so much for sharing such a fabulous recipe!!

  26. Anthea

    5 stars
    This is my go-to carnita recipe!

    Thanks for sharing

  27. Samantha Cervantes

    5 stars
    Out of all my saved recipes of yours, this one is my absolute favorite!! So easy and simple to do that I honestly was in disbelief the first time I made them. I’ve now made it about 6 times 😍 They always come out perfect and so flavorful! Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes 🫶🏼

  28. Janet cortez

    5 stars
    I’ve made a couple of your recipes and they are delicious this one is one of my favorites reminds me of the carnitas my grandma use to make. When I saw you shared this one I knew I had to try it and it has been the best one I love it I’ve made it more than once!

  29. Ami A

    5 stars
    Love the recipe!!!! Everyone loved it!! Thank you

  30. Myer Lauj

    5 stars
    I love all your recipes!! But this one is an A+! My son is autistic and he does not eat meat but every time I make this specific dish following your recipe he always wants to eat! Thank you so much for sharing recipes! 🥲🫰

  31. Michelle @mxbernardino

    5 stars
    This is the first recipe I watched and tried by you and it’s been a favorite in our home.

    Thanks for sharing the best recipes!

  32. @leehanshengstudios

    5 stars
    This is my all time fave recipe~ I’m allergic to regular oj so I use blood orange juice and this is my absolute favorite go to recipe of yours

  33. Haesu_lee

    5 stars
    Just made this tonight! One of my go to recipes- turns out amazing every time!

  34. Thtran0930

    5 stars
    I love this recipe so much! I literally make it every other week in bulk!

  35. Ohmar Go

    5 stars
    This was my favorite recipe of yours so far! I’ve made it several times and it never fails me. Thank you!!

  36. Phil

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! So easy to follow and delicious results

  37. Anonymous

    I was afraid of the condensed milk but you were right! Excellent recipe, thank you!

  38. Dave in SoCal

    My pork is brining in the fridge. Tomorrow is the big day ! FYI… I live in Southern California and went to a local Mexican Market today for some of the items. They had the brown lard and the bottle of Mexican Coke I bought does have Cane Sugar !

  39. Melissa

    Hot tip… I bought 2 pork butts and rendered my own “lard” by cutting it in small pieces and starting it on low heat with a bit of oil.

  40. Liz

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe 3x already and it is amazing!! So thankful to have found this 🙂

  41. Rafael Ebron

    I’ve done pork butt with shio koji and I’ve made your carnitas before. I may experiment with shio koji instead of the brine and then go into the rest of your recipe. Maybe will make it even more tender/salty? Oh and I don’t know about calling this “pork confit” 🙂 It kinda is but carnitas is carnitas.

  42. G h

    If you don’t drain the lard prior to adding the extra flavors and ingredients like the milk, how do you save it for future use since the spices, soda and milk will now be mixed in.

    1. stellanspice

      If you don’t want those flavors transferring to whatever you want to reuse it for, then you shouldn’t use it. Those ingredients do not alter the flavor so much that it can’t be used for something like refried beans or reheating the carnitas. And you also shouldn’t reuse the lard more than once or twice.

      1. Tony

        So to be clear before I start. i do not drain the lard when adding everything? i only drain, filter and store the lard when i am finished cooking and ready to serve?

  43. Kathie

    5 stars
    My pork is dry brining in the fridge! I can’t wait to taste 👅 it!! I cut out the bone. Do you have any suggestions for using it somehow??
    Thanks for the recipe! 8)

    1. Joshua

      I cooked the bone right with everything else, the marrow adds a wonderful depth of flavor!

  44. Molly

    5 stars
    Question – do you simmer for the 1.5 hours or just keep on low heat? assuming simmer but wasn’t sure! TY!

    1. stellanspice

      The initial fry should be about 250 degrees (first 40 minutes). The rest should be at 220 degrees Fahrenheit which is kind of between “low heat” and a “simmer.”

  45. Ashley

    I can’t, I don’t think I will ever make carnitas another way. It was so fall apart tender but still had that craveable crunch. It tasted so damn good I wanted to just stand there and fill up just picking at it. I’m so glad I found this recipe!

  46. Peter

    awesome recipe. thanks! I’m going to be cooking a large family gathering, so I’m gonna do about 8 lbs of pork shoulder. I’m concerned about fitting everything on the stove. could I do the first step of browning in batches on the stove, and then transfer everything to a deep pan and put in the oven to finish for the last hour or so?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Peter, you can definitely do that but my only concern is that this is a recipe that kind of needs to be babysat. You need easy access to the pot to move the pork around occasionally to make sure it isn’t burning or sticking to the bottom too much. When you stick it in the oven, set the temp to 225 for the slow cooking portion. Then when you add the coke, crank it up to 275 for the last 20 minutes, checking on it a few times. Hope this helps!

  47. Mumsie

    What do you do with the lard after cooking? just throw away? just wondering

    1. stellanspice

      I filter it out and re-use some of it for refrying leftover carnitas. Lard can be reused, but the quality degrades each time and you shouldn’t use it with heat over 360 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also retain a strong taste so whether you can re-use it depends on what you want to use it for. Hope that helps!

  48. Lois Stevens

    Is the 4 tsp salt listed in the ingredientsv for dry brining 3 lb of meat? Is any other salt added during cooking? If I don’t dry-brine, when do I add the 4 tsp of salt?

    1. stellanspice

      No other salt is added. Follow the recipe as written even if you are not dry brining over night. You can cook the pork shoulder right after adding salt to it.

  49. Birgit

    5 stars
    Absolutely fabulous recipe!! Is the recipe intended for 4 people? How much raw pork would I use for 12 people?

    1. stellanspice

      It depends what else you are serving this with. Are they for tacos? For 12 people I would double the recipe, but you will still have leftovers. They freeze extremely well.

  50. Anonymous

    5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic! I will definitely follow this again. I used an 8lb pork butt that had a bone that I cut out and 2lbs of pork belly and 2lbs of lard was a bit too much. After taking the bone out I probably had 6 pounds of pork butt, I didn’t weigh it. I wasn’t seeing the browning I expected based on pictures in this recipe. I removed at least 8 oz of lard after about an hour and then I was getting the browning. I doubled everything else in the recipe and flavors seemed great. This reheated very well in small portions in a skillet for tacos all weekend.

  51. Christina

    Hi – making this today. If I double the recipe (and thus lard as well), do I double the spices/coke/orange?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Christina, I would double just about everything except for the lard. With the lard, it really depends on the size of your pot. You need just enough lard to cover about 80% of the pork in the pot. Don’t focus too much on this detail- it doesn’t have to be an exact amount, just make sure most of the pork is submerged in the lard. I recommend using as wide of a pot as you have- 10 inches is ok but 12+ is better.

  52. Lou

    Once you fry the meat pieces, could you transfer it and the remaining ingredients to a slow cooker?

    1. stellanspice

      I have not done this but I don’t see why not. My only concern would be that the heat may not be high enough in a slow cooker, especially for the last 20 minutes when the Coca-cola goes in. Use the highest setting for the slow cooker to be safe.

  53. Carmen

    5 stars
    Literally AMAZING!! I forgot to add the Coca Cola at the end and the meat was still so flavorful and tender. Seriously, make this. Best recipe ever. 10/10. It was such a hit in my house. I’m Mexican and this is how carnitas should taste, juicy and fatty.

  54. Justin

    After brining but before browning do you wipe the excess salt off or cook with it intact? Does it liquify while brining?

    Maybe a huge batch tomorrow first time 🙌🏽

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Justin, do not remove the salt. It will dissolve into the pork shoulder and you won’t be able to brush any off anyway. Good luck with your large batch!

  55. Ricardo

    5 stars
    love this recipe! but I need to make a 12lb pork roast and would like love a agusted recipe for this Please 🙏 and thank you!

  56. Hannah

    5 stars
    Strange question: can I cook them in something other than Manteca? I know they won’t be authentic, and I’ve made this recipe 3 times and we love it, but the smell of the Manteca makes me feel so sick… I can’t stand it. Any other option that would yield similar results?

    1. stellanspice

      You can use vegetable or canola oil. Many people do, although it is not the traditional way.

  57. Kevin

    5 stars
    Amazing. Definitely add the cinnamon. I use 2 sticks, and OMG…its amazing.

  58. Sara

    5 stars
    We have moved far from any Mexican shop worth its salt (pun intended!). I have been searching and searching for a recipe that will give me the nostalgic taste of home and boy was this one it. These are the absolute *closest* I have ever come to replicating those perfect carnitas we always bought on Saturday mornings. I followed your directions specifically with no changes, and they actually simmered longer while we waited for rice and beans to finish cooking. It was just perfect. Thank you for sharing.

  59. Shelly

    I have been researching recipes and I think I have decided to try this one. I’m making a lot for a celebration of life for my very dearest and best friend ever, who passed 17 days ago. Thank you for the recipe, I hope I don’t screw it up.

  60. Debbie Luna

    these are the best carnitas I’ve ever had! l didn’t have any cola so I used a scant tablespoon of brown sugar. I’ll try the Mexican cola next time. thank you so much!

  61. Amy

    So…3 cloves of garlic or 5? 8?
    It’s cooking now.
    I added 9 ( I like garlic) I also added jalapenos and one Serrano. (I like heat)
    I will let you know how we liked it!

    1. stellanspice

      Hello Amy, the ingredient list states 5 cloves of garlic and 3 “cloves,” as in the spice. They are not the same thing. Hope that helps!

      1. Penny

        3 cloves of what spice?? the black pepper?

        this is definitely being made today! I have most of the ingredients on hand, except the lard and Mexican Cola.
        Is there a difference between Mexican and American Cola?

        Thank you!!!!😁

        1. stellanspice

          The name of the spice is called cloves. The difference between American and Mexican cola is that the former uses corn syrup. Mexican cola uses real cane sugar.

          1. Brandon

            can I fry pork in Dutch oven on the stovetop, then cover and transfer to the oven at 220 degrees for slow cooking portion? I am asking because I feel it would be difficult to regulate the tempature on the stovetop.

  62. Karen Eddy

    The ingredient list calls for 2 oranges, but the directions call for the juice of one orange and the peels. So is it juice of one orange the the peels of 2? Can you clarify please? And, what spice would you substitute for mexican oregano if it is not available?
    Thank you.

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Karen, you just need one orange. If you can’t find Mexican oregano, I think marjoram might be the best substitute. Mexican oregano can be bought online if that is an option for you as well.

  63. Dianna

    How much and what kind of salt do you brine the pork with in the brine stage? I have over 3 lbs of pork butt and will likely salt tonight and leave until tomorrow morning to cook. I would hate to oversalt the meat because there’s no coming back from that kind of mistake. I do have Diamond kosher salt which is less saltier than Morton’s. If I have between 3 and 4 lbs of pork shoulder meat, would I need to go heavier on the spices? Finally, I have no Coca Cola…I have a can of Sprite or Pepsi. Is either of those acceptable?

    1. stellanspice

      I use 4 tsp of Morton coarse kosher salt. For your amount of pork, I would just add a pinch more of all the spices. The salt does most of the work. Pepsi will work just fine. Hope this helps!

  64. Luis

    5 stars
    Simply the most amazing carnitas I ever made . Thanks for your recipe . I’m m from south texas – Harlingen , and this carnitas are as good or better than anything I have tasted in restaurants. !

  65. David

    Maybe a dumb question but is this cooked entirely uncovered as the pictures suggest? Or should I cover the pot for last two hours or so when simmering?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi David, not a dumb question at all! I will make sure to edit the instructions to make this more clear. You should cook this uncovered the whole time. Cooking it uncovered will allow for more browning and deeper flavors. Hope this helps!

      1. Lisa

        5 stars
        I’ve tried a few of you recipes and this one is hands down a fave in my household! So flavorful and the meat just falls a part beautifully!

  66. Daniel

    I think you left out when to add the Mexican oregano. I assume you add it in with the rest of the spices, right?

    1. stellanspice

      Hi Daniel, yes thank you for letting me know! I fixed the instructions 🙂

  67. I am drooling is I am reading this recipe. I love Carnitas and I’m so excited to try this recipe. My question is where do you find Mexican Coca-Cola?

    5 stars
    I am drooling is I am reading this recipe. I love Carnitas and I’m so excited to try this recipe. My question is where do you find Mexican Coca-Cola?

    1. stellanspice

      I get it from my local Mexican market- Northgate. If you can’t find it, regular coca-cola is totally fine. I am not 100% sure but I’ve been hearing lately that Mexican cola is no longer made with cane sugar (which is why it is better), so it might not matter that much.

  68. Sef

    5 stars
    I knew it would be good as I used lard and all the authentic ingredients. Tasted a piece right before adding the Coca Cola when almost and had to slap myself!! Thanks for the recipe… this my go to when u want carnitas. I cooked Carnitas before but it wasn’t this good!!

  69. Jack B

    5 stars
    This was so good! Like, as good as anywhere I’ve ever had. The only thing I did differently was put a little crisp on it in a pan before putting it in tacos. That’s how my grandma made it. Thanks for posting this!

  70. Frankie

    5 stars
    I have been looking for this particular recipe my whole life. you nailed it! Its so great!

    Thanks!

  71. Chris Flanigan

    5 stars
    I made this for a birthday party/graduation celebration and it was a hit. It was absolutely perfect in every way.

    I held the cooked carnitas in a crock pot for a few hours and added some chicken broth to keep it moist.

    I made two modifications: 3 cloves instead of 5 and 1 orange instead of 2.

  72. Kevin

    5 stars
    Great recipe and explained well. I’m hungry reading it. Thanks for sharing it.

  73. PETER

    A clarification…. Do you leave the salt on after brining, and do you drain the excess lard after the pork is seared?

    Thanks,
    P.

    1. stellanspice

      Yes leave the salt on, no need to rinse it off. Do not drain off the lard- the pork needs to cook in it the entire time. Hope this helps!

  74. Lupe Solorzano

    5 stars
    Gracias las voy hacer el domingo….. gracias x la receta muy bien explicada…

  75. Mike

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe and a huge hit at our house! I have cut back to two cloves and one large orange per batch and it seems to be the way we like it. Boiling the meat in lard makes a huge difference. It’s a keeper!

  76. Marlen

    5 stars
    Omg, I can’t believe I just made carnitas ??

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Hi, I'm Stella!

I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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