in Cinco de Mayo, Mexican & TexMex, Pork, Salads, Tacos, Enchiladas & Quesadillas


One of the things I enjoy about living in Houston is the availability of fantastically authentic Mexican food. There’s Tex-Mex and then there’s Mexican. You’d be hard pressed to drive through many areas of town without finding a Carniceria (a Mexican meat market) or Panaderia (Mexican bakery) in nearby strip centers.

Shelves of the markets are adorned with handmade corn and flour tortillas, cream-filled cuernos, fresh tamales, ground chorizo, and hand-wrapped blocks of leche quemada.

Leftover Carnitas in Salad

Carnitas (Mexican pulled pork) are a new discovery to us. We’re big on traditional Tex-Mex but pork isn’t usually on the menu – fajitas (beef), chicken quesadillas, and fish tacos… there’s always room for those are on the menu!

Leftover Carnitas in Salad

Tip: Leftovers make a fantastic lunch salad the next day!

1 4-pound boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
juice of 1 lime
2 cups water
1 medium orange, halved and juice (seeds removed)

For Garnish:
Lime wedges
Chopped onion
Chopped jalapeno
Shredded Monterrey jack

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Add all the ingredients in a Dutch oven. On the stove top, heat the ingredients until they begin to simmer, stirring to combine the spices and meat. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. After the dish has been in the oven for 1 hour, stir it so as to turn the meat, and continue cooking for one hour more. Meat should be very tender and falling apart.

Remove from oven and remove the pork from the dish, transferring it to a bowl. Keep the liquid but discard the bay leaves, onion and orange rinds. On the stove top, place the Dutch oven over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid has thickened and is reduced to approximately 1 cup.

Turn oven to broil and lower racks to near the bottom of the oven. In the bowl, shred the pork using two forks. Pour in the reduced liquid and add salt and pepper to taste. Place the pieces of pork on a wire rack on a baking sheet. Broil the meat for 5 to 8 minutes on each side until well browned. Serve immediately with tortillas and garnish.

Serves 6-8
The adapted-from source is missing. On purpose.

13 comments… add one
  • Yum, I can almost smell the cilantro from here. San Diego is also lucky to have delicious authentic Mexican food and carnitas is one of my favorites. Beautiful pictures!

  • Good morning dear! i really adore mexican food but I’m afraid sometime I don’t eat “original” mexican dishes here! 😀 but I enjoy it anyway!
    You are really lucky!

  • That looks absolutely fantastic.

  • Mollie

    I have been dying to try this recipe too! It looks amazing… maybe this weekend!

    We don’t get a lot of great authentic Mexican food here in New England. 🙂

  • You are SOOOO lucky! If it weren’t for the heat (I’m too old for that), I’d move down there JUST for the fresh Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican. I could eat that everyday. I dream of having a panaderia within 100 miles. This is going on my list of dishes to make this week!


  • Yum, that looks great. I love carnitas and just mexican food in general!

  • I’m in the middle of Minnesota….just try to find anything authentic when it comes to Latin food! If I want something authentic in taste, I have to make it in my own kitchen. Same goes for Chinese/Thai food!

  • I feel really fortunate to live close to a carnesaria also – although we mostly use it for carne asada!

  • i’m dying to try this recipe! looks great shawnda!

  • Mmmmmm, I’m a big fan of carnitas and I can’t wait to try your recipe! While they are rare on Tex-Mex menus, Los Cucos has them and they’re wonderful, especially with their green sauce and homemade tortillas.

  • ruhama

    I heartily agree with you on the yumminess of this recipe–we liked it a lot. We also like the carnitas recipe in the International Cook Book (by the Test Kitchen people)–it’s slow fried in the oven, though, so it’s a little more carmelized. Mmmm…

  • Three words – I’m SO making this!

  • mayala2372

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I’ve been wanting to make carnitas for a while now, but couldn’t find my favorite recipe. There are tons of recipes out there for carnitas, but not the real thing. You rock!

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