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6 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes (includes chill time)
Cook time: 3 1/2 hours


Our Carnitas Recipe feeds 6-8 people; prep time is approx. 25 minutes, and total cook time is 3 ½ hours.

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder 
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups lard
  • 2-3 oranges
  • 3 limes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning mix

Seasoning Mix (good for two recipes)

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon, paprika
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon granulated onion
  • ½ teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients in seasoning mix and stir until well combined. 
  2. Cut pork shoulder into 6 equal chunks about 8oz each. Season each well with seasoning mix on all sides; use about 2 Tablespoons on all pieces combined.
  3. In a Dutch oven or cast iron or copper pot, melt lard over low heat. When melted, apply to half oranges and limes; give each a light squeeze.  Drop the fruit into the pot; next, add crushed and peeled garlic cloves, onion and bay leaves. 
  4. Using tongs, carefully place each piece of pork into the lard one at a time; it’s OK to push things around a little to completely submerge the pork, depending on pot size. It’s fine to add or reduce the amount of lard slightly. 
  5. Bring to a simmer; place bay leaves on top and cover, cook on low, maintaining a slight simmer for about 3 hours.  Start checking at 2 ½ hours, then every 30 minutes thereafter, for doneness. 
  6. The pork is fully cooked when it pulls apart easily with the tongs or a fork; it should be tender. When done, remove each piece of pork using the tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside. 
  7. When ready to serve, I like to crisp up the pork a little on a griddle or in a hot cast iron pan; it gives the carnitas an extra layer of deliciousness. 
  8. Serve with the homemade tortillas and some fresh lime, diced onion and cilantro — or whatever your favorite toppings might be.
  9. If you save the carnitas for later, let the pot of liquid cool. Scrape off the fat that solidifies on top save for later; keep the juice on the bottom to reheat. 

Note: These carnitas are perfect served on our Homemade Tortillas!

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