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May 3, 2011

Oven Carnitas for Five-O de Mayo

Filed under: Mexican Food,Pork,Recipes,Uncategorized — Erik Nabler @ 7:50 pm

Well, Drinko de Mayo is coming up, an American drinking celebration commemorating a relatively minor battle in Mexican History where the Mexican Army in the Battle of Puebla in 1862 scored a surprising victory over French Forces. Widely celebrated in the United States, it is of minor note in Mexico. It is akin to St. Patrick’s Day, where those of Mexican Heritage in the United States can celebrate their roots. However, it is also a good reason to hoist a glass and for the rest of us to pretend we are Mexican, or at least un poco Mexican. It is also a good time to dig in to some great Mexican food, such as –

This is a very easy and great recipe for Carnitas. Instead of having to slow roast the pork for hours and hours, this recipe takes very little work. It takes time, 2-1/2 to 3 hours start to finish, but mostly that is just having things in the oven. So, whip this up and impress your friends. It has a great pork taste and makes wonderful carnitas tacos, or really outstanding carnitas burritos. If you are going to make burritos, I highly recommend black beans rather then refried or other types.

I did, once, go to a true Mexican Carnitas roast where they butchered the pig right there, cooked the carnitas and some other stuff for several hours while we drank beer and anything we could get our hands on. I was pretty useless for butchering a pig, but I could certainly hold my own in the drinking department. The carnitas were awesome, but this recipe is easily as good and about a thousand times easier.

Oven Carnitas

Serves 6-8 depending on garnishes and stuff.


*Pork Shoulder, boneless – about 4 lbs. Trim fat cap and cut into large (2-3 inch) chunks

*1 teaspoon ground cumin

*1 medium onion , peeled and quartered

*2 bay leaves

*1 teaspoon dried oregano

*2 tablespoons lime juice

*2 cups water

*1 orange , halved

* salt, pepper


1. Put oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, (optional ground chipotle pepper) and water in large Dutch oven (you should just barely cover meat). Squeeze orange juice and remove seeds. Put juice and spent orange halves in. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and place in oven; Cook about 2 hours turning meat once. Meat should tear easily.
2. Remove pot and turn on broiler. Strain chunky junk from pot (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy, 8 to 12 minutes..
3. Tear each piece of pork in half. Toss in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Broil 5-10 minutes per side until meat is browned and edges are very brown but not charred. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.

Suggested garnishes are shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, salsa fresco, lime wedges, sour cream, a good bottle of bourbon, Mexican rice, a good bottle of bourbon, guacamole, thin sliced radishes, and perhaps a good bottle of bourbon

Ummm, Ummm, Bueno!


  1. Oh, THANKS. Now I have to go make dinner before I can finish reading my own blog.

    I’d forgotten about Cinco de Mayo. Perhaps I should do a Margarita post?

    Comment by raincoaster — May 3, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

  2. A margarita post would be excellent. I could cross post on the Liquorlocusts if you like. A guest post as it were. Or not, but do a good margarita post. and try the recipe, it is excellent and easy. Takes a few hours but not much work.

    Comment by Erik Nabler — May 3, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

  3. That would be teh ossum, but could you preface it with a couple of sentences? I don’t want to piss off the Google Gods by having duplicate material all over the web. USually an intro paragraph is enough to get them to go “okay, it’s not spam.”

    I have an awesome Margarita story involving Chez Jay on the Venice/Santa Monica border.

    Comment by raincoaster — May 3, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

  4. Ah, surely. I am not familiar with the mysterious ways of the google gods. I may have to change this around a bit.

    Comment by Erik Nabler — May 4, 2011 @ 12:25 am

  5. Sadly, the ways of the internet Up North are unsmooth and there’s no point doing a margarita post now, as it is officially Sixo de Mayo. Oh well.

    Comment by raincoaster — May 6, 2011 @ 1:04 am

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