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Carnitas - A Family Feast

Apparently we’ve been holding out on you!  One of the most searched-for terms on A Family Feast is “Carnitas” and we are finally sharing our recipe today!

Our carnitas are another recipe inspired by The Edgewater Café, a North of Boston Mexican restaurant that my husband Jack worked at years ago which was hugely popular among the locals!  While carnitas were actually not offered on The Edgewater’s menu, the head chef liked to talk and share recipes, and Jack listened well (and wrote the recipe down)!

To make carnitas (which literally means “little meats”), cubed pork butt is cooked low-and-slow in lard and citrus – then browned under the broiler.  The result is an extremely moist texture with an amazing, flavorful caramelized crust!

Carnitas - A Family Feast

Serve carnitas simply in a warmed, soft flour tortilla with some cilantro and chopped onion – or you can really go wild and smother it with toppings just as you would for a taco!  But we actually like the carnitas simply served – the meat is SO good!

One last note – don’t be scared by cooking with lard! The lard, which can be found in many supermarket meat departments, is simply the cooking medium that helps keep the pork tender, and all is discarded after cooking.  The pork does not retain the fat from the lard – and in fact, it gives up some of its own – and all you are left with is amazingly tender, delicious carnitas!

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Carnitas - A Family Feast


  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 3 pound pork butt, cut into large pieces at least 2×2 inches in size
  • 1 pound lard (if you cannot find lard at your local market, use suet)
  • ½ orange, skin on, quartered
  • 1 lime, skin on, quartered
  • 4 medium garlic cloves skinned and left whole, slightly smashed
  • 1 jalapeno stemmed and sliced into ½ inch rings, seeds left in
  • 1 medium onion, skinned and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. In a 9x11x2 casserole dish, or similar volume oven-proof vessel, place all ingredients. Cover with parchment and foil and bake for five hours.
  3. Remove from oven and scoop out meat with a hand strainer or spider strainer. Dispose of remaining liquids and solids.
  4. Place cooked pork on a foil-lined sheet pan brushed with the olive oil and place under broiler for five minutes. If the bottoms seem too wet, flip the pork and broil the other side for another minute or two. This step needs to be watched – you want the meat to caramelize without burning it or drying it out.
  5. Serve simply in a warmed flour tortilla with chopped onion and cilantro.

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Pork Medallions Portuguese - A Family Feast

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Craving more pork recipes? Check out these recipes from my fellow bloggers:

Caramelized Onion & Bacon Smothered Pork Chops – All Day I Dream About Food

Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze – Kalyn’s Kitchen

 Carnitas - A Family Feast

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  • AprilRay wrote:

    Great dish, easy to put together, pop it in the oven and forget about until dinner time!! Will continue making this for life!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you are enjoying the recipe AprilRay!

  • Marie wrote:

    Can I marinate my cubes overnight?

    • Jack wrote:

      You could, but I don’t think it would make much difference. There is a little acid from the orange and lime that may tenderize the meat some, but negligible. It certainly won’t hurt it.

      Good luck,

  • Tammy Davis wrote:

    I made this today and was awesome. I realized the only thing I forgot was to brush the meat with olive oil before placing under broil! This is a great to use again and again! One question! How do you distribute the ingredients in the pan? I had a pound of lard in a square so I cut in pieces and laid in the pan, same with bacon fat! Small 1/2 tsp. Spread out in the pan. Next spread meat then everything spread out on top of meat. Mix all dry ingredients and spread over everything and drizzle with olive oil! Is there actually a different way flavors are distributed? Great dish! I just want to make sure on the prep!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Tammy – Your approach is perfect. If you’d like, you can toss the meat with the dry seasonings before spreading it out into the pan, but that’s optional – you did everything right! 🙂

  • Sylvia wrote:

    Martha, this is my first Pinterest review. These Carnitas were so delicious. My husband and daughter couldn’t stop saying how good they were and I agree. Once I cut the meat the prep was very easy. I used a quarter cup of canola oil in place of lard because I didn’t have any. Believe me if I could just run out to the store these days I would so I had to substitute. The pork had fat that I cut and cooked it along with the pork chunks so I think this helped the flavor. I followed all the other aspect of the recipe and used the parchment paper and tin foil and I think this was key to the cooking process. I only had to cook it for 3 hours as my oven runs hot and it was juicy and tender. I also did the last step of broiling and it was perfection. I will be is recipe again and again!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sylvia! So glad the recipe was a hit!

  • BETTY wrote:

    I have a question, how much oil do I use use to replace the Lard ? Thank you

    • Jack wrote:

      2 1/4 cups Betty.

  • Shannon wrote:

    Hi Guys, Big fan from Marblehead here. Quick question about making this a couple of days ahead of time. After cooking should I strain the meat before refrigerating, or just refrigerate it all together and strain right before broiling the meat? Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Shannon! (I lived on Prospect Street for a few years right out of grad school…I love it there!) As long as you tightly wrap the meat before refrigerating, you can strain most of the lard before refrigerating. Also, if you plan to prep this more than a day or two ahead of time, I’d suggest freezing the meat. Then thaw and broil the day of serving. Hope that helps!

  • David Higgins wrote:

    Was great .

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks David!

  • SandySue wrote:

    Pork Carnitas
    I know that you put 1 lb of Lard in the ingredients of the recipe, but I don’t see them in the Instructions. Could you please tell me, do you mean to include it in the ingredients for baking?? I will be making this soon, and I want to make it right. Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sandy Sue – Yes – in step 2 it is included as part of the “all ingredients”. The pork cooks in the lard (which melts in pan from the heat of the oven). Hope that helps!

  • Jamie wrote:

    I’m currently making this, I’m using a big pot with a lid, do I use the lid or use foil

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jamie – If your dutch oven is oven-safe, you can definitely use the lid instead of foil.

  • Amy wrote:

    I see we can do chuck roast. You said less time. About how long do you think ? I have already made the pork version 2 times and love it. Going to a family dinner and want to make both kinds.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Amy – Jack suggests checking for doneness around the 3 hour mark (assuming the same 2 1/2 to 3 pound roast size). It may still take a little longer but it should be close after @ 3 hours. Hope that helps!

  • Rose wrote:

    Is there a healthier recipe for carnitas without using all thay colesterol clogging fat?

    • Martha wrote:

      I don’t know Rose – you might try doing a Google search to find one that suits your needs. FYI – you won’t actually eat the lard in our recipe, it’s just the cooking/braising liquid and once you brown the meat in the oven at the end of the recipe, it will drain off. Good luck!

  • Karen Boydston wrote:

    I made this once and it was fabulous. Last two times, meat has been dry. Can you suggest anything?

    • Jack wrote:

      If you used the same cut of meat and followed the same method using the same ingredients, I’m struggling to understand why. Is your oven temperature off? Did you broil them too long? Did you change butchers? Was the meat lean or fatty? Too many variables to be able to proof positive identify the culprit. If I was a betting man, and I’m not, I would start with the meat. I always look for a nice fatty pork butt when making this dish. Sometimes supermarkets pull a fast one and call a meat one thing when it is actually something different. I have personally seen my local market try to pass of a spoon roast as chuck. Suggest that you get your roast from a reputable butcher. If the meat is very lean, it may dry out. Second place I would look is your oven temperature and how long you broil. This dish is typically not that sensitive to minute changes so again, hard to understand why it would be dry.
      To summarize, I would get cheap oven thermostat to test the true temperature of your oven, then look for a good butcher and stay away from supermarkets. We were lucky to find a small independent butcher the next town over with reasonable prices and have seen an enormous difference in quality.
      Wish you luck,

  • Cecilia wrote:

    Can this be cooked in an enameled cast iron with lid?
    Please advice.
    Thank you.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Cecilia – Yes – you can use that. The cooking time may vary depending on the size of your pan.

  • David wrote:

    I’ve been searching for a “real deal” carnitas recipe for a while. Mexican food is pretty simple and I hate to go out for Mexican if I can make it. I cooked this to the letter and used a large Dutch oven. It is absolutely amazing. Thank you!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome David! So glad you enjoyed the recipe as much as we do!

  • Marsha wrote:

    I have often wanted to try carnitas. I saw this recipe and it sounded so good ! Followed the recipe exactly and It was amazing! Can’t wait to try it again. Thank you for sharing !

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Marsha – so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • AshleyfromKentucky wrote:

    Amazing….. Don’t change or edit in any way. So simple and not very costly. Will definitely be making again.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Ashley!

  • Erin wrote:

    What about pork tenderloin?

    • Jack wrote:

      I would lean towards no. A pork butt is the best option for this dish. The tenderloin of pork has no fat and would dry out during the cooking process and may just shred apart.
      Happy Thanksgiving

  • Michael Connolly wrote:

    I would just saw that white corn tortillas rather than flour tortillas are called for.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Jose wrote:

    worst recipe for carnitas ever

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re sorry to hear you were disappointed in the recipe Jose. Was there something in particular you didn’t like about it or did you have issues with how the recipe was written?

  • Brittney Armacher wrote:

    Oh my goodness!!! These were amazing. I hate myself for not doubling the recipe like many people suggested. So tender and tasty. I will make this time and time again. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Brittney – so glad you enjoyed the carnitas!

  • Pauline wrote:

    Made these yesterday for the first time in a while, this time following the recipe to a T. Had them simple as suggested with tzatziki on the side. Awesome…. my all-time favorite of your recipes!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Pauline! So glad you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!

  • Laura wrote:

    I made this in a crockpot today, 4.5 hours on high and then, turning a couple times, 10 minutes under the broiler. It was all very tender and delicious, but not caramelized as much as the photos. I made it for a buffet, so with my also needing to prep and cook other foods, the crockpot option was good. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Laura! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! If you’d like that caramelized look and taste – even after cooking it in the slow cooker – you can put the meat on a sheet pan and broil it for a few minutes.

  • Loueita Hargens wrote:

    I made these for our Cinco de Mayo fund-raiser for church yesterday. They were a huge hit. I got a little skeered of all the lard, so I only used half a pound, but I also didn’t have quite that much meat. The broiling part was a little scary also, but it took the exact time as the recipe stated. So good. So, so good. I will not go back to the way I was doing them (dry rub). Thanks for posting this online. Really, really good. And raised $700 to send disadvantaged kids to a week of vacation bible school this summer. (we had many other things on the buffet of course, but the carnitas went FAST)

    • Martha wrote:

      Awesome Louseita!! So glad the carnitas were a hit and congrats on a successful fund raiser!

  • Kris wrote:

    What is pork butt, not a term used in th UK

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kris – Great question! In the US, the pork butt is actually the shoulder cut of meat (don’t ask me why!). 🙂 Hope that helps!

  • Robin wrote:

    Hi Martha,
    I would like to make this a day prior…will that work? Should I do the broiling the next day?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Robin – We’ve actually done it both ways and broiling the day before or the day of works fine. I’d personally do the broiling the day before and then reheat the day of – either in a foil covered pan or even in the microwave. Hope that helps!

  • David wrote:

    I tried the recipe for dinner tonight. It turned out just as pictured. I did have one question. The meat is amazingly tender and caramelized great. But, any suggestions to add a little more flavor? I loved smelling it cook, but feel like the lard and bacon fat might have kept the full flavor from flavoring the meat. The finished, tender meat has only a hint of the amazing flavors. When I served it I added a little extra Kosher Salt and some lime juice and cilantro. That worked great to round out the flavors.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback David. You could always try more seasonings during the cooking process, as well as (what you did) when serving.

  • WarsawNan wrote:

    I make this every couple of weeks. SO good! After the initial bake, when I scoop the meat out I also get the onions and broil them along with the pork. When the lard/bacon fat cools a little, I strain it and freeze it to use the next time I make carnitas. One of my favorite meals!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Doris wrote:

    This is by far the best recipe for carnitas I have ever tried (and I’ve tried a bunch). I am lucky to have a Mexican grocery store nearby so obtaining the lard was not a problem. I used my cast iron dutch oven for the cooking . Just the best!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Doris!! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Roger wrote:

    Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Pan Sauce

    I am surprised to see pork cooked rare like this – I always use internal temperature as a safe guide.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Roger – Current USDA guidelines suggest an internal temp of 145 F for pork tenderloin. In this recipe we took it out at 143 F, knowing that the tenderloin will continue to cook/internal temp will continue to rise as it rests before slicing.

  • Sharon Holloway wrote:

    All that food and how to make it, wow I love it

  • IFortuna wrote:

    This sounds delicious. Hubby would not eat it if I made it. He is very traditional so that is how I make our carnitas. I cook it in the pressure cooker then I toss it in a dry frying pan to make it crispy or under the broiler. Both work fine.
    We make our carnitas tacos with corn tortillas and top with pico de gallo, heavy on the cilantro.
    Believe it or not, suet is impossible to find in our markets. I have to order it on line to use it in my steamed puddings. I guess you can use suet for this recipe, it is fat from the kidneys of cattle though whereas lard is from pork. All the markets seem to carry lard. We never use either when making our carnitas. Pork roast produces its own fat so we find it unnecessary.
    Thanks for the recipe, I am still drooling. It looks so good. : )

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you! I love the idea of making carnitas in a pressure cooker – much quicker I imagine!

  • Betty wrote:

    Made these last night and they are delicious!!!! Very easy to make and the aroma in the house for the five hours is wonderful. I have this recipe saved to make at least every other week. My husband loves this recipe and the flavors are spectacular.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Betty!

  • anonomyssy wrote:

    Is this a good crock pot recipe?

    • Martha wrote:

      For the best results, we recommend following the recipe as written. In a slow cooker, you won’t get the same great caramelization on the meat as you will by cooking it in the oven. Also, if you scroll through earlier comments, we did have a reader cook the pork in a slow cooker and then use the broiler to try to get the caramelization – she felt the meat dried out. You might find her comment helpful if you want to cook this in a slow cooker. Hope that helps!

  • Kelli wrote:

    Hi! This recipe looks superb!!!!
    Will the roaster work with this recipe as I have a large family and the 6 lbs of pork butt is what I have.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kelli – I have to admit that neither Jack nor I have used a countertop roaster – just the oven – for this recipe. I think it will work but the cooking time might vary. Also, you’ll still want to caramelize the meat at the end in the oven to get that crispy texture. Please let us know how it comes out!

  • Chelsea wrote:

    Ohmygoodness. This recipe is staying with me forever. So delicious and authentic to how carnitas are classically made. I was glad to actually not depend on my slow cooker. I ended up using the bacon grease to lube the pan for broiling and that worked out great. Made a little homemade salsa to go with. Thanks so much for the simple goodness that is carnitas! Fantastic!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much Chelsea! So glad you enjoyed the recipe as much as we do!

  • Danielle wrote:

    Hi. Would it be okay to leave out bacon fat? If I do, should I add anything else?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Danielle – The bacon fat adds a lot of flavor to the recipe so I would not recommend leaving it out for best results. 🙂

      • Danielle wrote:

        Thanks Martha! I made the carnitas tonight without the bacon grease (didn’t have any) and it turned out delicious! Can’t wait to make it again using bacon grease to see how much better it tastes!!

        • Martha wrote:

          So glad you enjoyed the recipe Danielle!

  • Jan wrote:

    Can the Carnitas be cooked in a slow cooker?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jan – For the best results, we recommend following the recipe as written. In a slow cooker, you won’t get the same great caramelization on the meat as you will by cooking it in the oven. Also, if you scroll through earlier comments, we did have a reader cook the pork in a slow cooker and then use the broiler to try to get the caramelization – she felt the meat dried out. You might find her comment helpful if you want to cook this in a slow cooker. Hope that helps!

  • Viki wrote:

    I do not have cassarole pan can i use an aluminmum pan instead

    • Jack wrote:

      If the cooking time was short, I would say probably. But I would be worried about how well a thin aluminum pan would hold up for 5 hours. Do you have a Dutch oven or an oven proof pan of any sort like cast iron?

  • Daniel wrote:

    I have this recipe in the oven RIGHT NOW and I’m so excited! It sounds amazing. I was slightly confused on how to use the lard, as it’s a new ingredient for me. I put all the ingredients in the baking dish and then sort of placed clumps of the lard dispersed evenly over the rest of it, assuming it would melt down and everything would mix together nicely while baking.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds exactly right Daniel! Hope you enjoy the Carnitas as much as we do!

      • Daniel wrote:

        On the page again as I’m planning on making these again and I just wanted to say YES I very much enjoyed them, they were amazing! Here’s the finished product:

        So delicious. I was thinking about making a large batch and bringing them into my office to share with everybody (small company). Do you have any suggestions to keep the meat moist and tender? I’m pretty sure the only method we have to reheat is a microwave.

        • Martha wrote:

          Hi Daniel – So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Reheating in the microwave should work just fine – it’s what I’d do too at the office.

  • Thomas wrote:

    I’m going to make this on New years day. I have a 7 pound roast. Should I double the ingredients?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Thomas – Yes – doubling should be enough! We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Dora King wrote:

    Hi, Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic recipe! Was a great dish to pop in the oven and was a nice treat to mix up our tortilla night! I felt I needed to spread the word on this great recipe so I shared it on my food blog with a link back to you

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe Dora!

  • Marica Bledsoe wrote:

    Sooty if this is a dumb question, but just how do you use the lard in this. Do you put in the bottom of the casserole, and place the meat with the other ingredients and coat it well?? then place it on the lard??? Or how exactly? thanks for any info. 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Marica – No such thing as a dumb question! 🙂 Just place the lard in the pan (bottom is fine) – the heat from the oven will melt it. The lard is essentially the cooking/poaching liquid. Hope that helps!

  • Susan Lindstrom wrote:

    These Carnitas look wonderful! Question, if I am making them in my slow-cooker, can I use the lard to brown the pork before I put it in my cooker?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Susan – We haven’t done it ourselves but I think that might work. (Or – you can cook them in the slow cooker without browning and then brown them at the end in a broiler similar to the original recipe.) Please let us know how it comes out! Thanks! Martha

      • kelli wrote:

        hi ! i just want to say that your carnitas look amazing and i will be trying this recipe soon ! i love cooking with lard (manteca) and i also love getting it from the mexican market in the back where they ladle it out of the deep fryer where they have cooked their carnitas and chicharones into a container for a very reasonable price . we call it ‘liquid gold’ . i also would like to commend you on your patience in responding to the comments 🙂

        • Martha wrote:

          Thanks Kelli! 🙂 I never thought to check a Mexican market for lard – great suggestion! Hope you enjoy the recipe!!

  • dolores wrote:

    Sorry, confused with this Carnitas recipe, do I mix the Lard with all ingredients and smear the pork butt with it, or spread it in the pan that I’ll be cooking it in?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Dolores – The lard is a solid – just place it in the pan along with the other ingredients (you can put it on the bottom if you’d like, them place the meat over it). The lard will melt in the oven once it is heated. Hope that helps!

  • Amy Dube wrote:

    My husband thinks he is not a fan of pork. I am making this dish now and am thinking he will dive into it! I had to make a few substitutions but will let you know how I make out! I did not have fresh limes so I used some lime juice, I did not have lard so I used crisco, I did not have fresh jalapenos so I used jarred, and I had fresh ham steaks to use up so I cut them into 2×2 chunks. If this cut of meat doesn’t work, I will be trying again and following your recipe exactly! Your photos look amazingly delish!!! Thank you for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Amy! Please let us know how your version comes out!

  • Lynn wrote:

    This looks delish! I want to do a test run on Thursday before I make it for my Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday. Ive never cooked with lard before. Is Crisco considered lard? Also, do I put the lard in the bottom of the pan first by scooping it out and then placing the rest of the ingredients on top? Probably a silly question, but lard being in solid form has me confused on how to incorporate it into the pan.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lynn – Lard is beef fat while Crisco is vegetable. So – in a pinch, you could definitely use Crisco, but if possible try to find lard (most supermarkets sell it in the beef aisle – or ask the butcher – they likely have it in back). Lard is less expensive but more importantly it adds some great flavor to the dish! And yes – the lard will melt once the pan is in the oven so just put all the ingredients in the pan and let it bake! Hope that helps clarify – please let us know if you have any other questions!

  • katie wrote:

    Could I deep fry the pork after baking instead of broiling to quicken the process for individual orders

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Katie! I think it would work! Please let us know how it comes out!

  • Athee wrote:

    Sorry, it’s me again! Thanks for replying above. went ahead and bought a glass baking dish and it’s in the oven right now for dinner. I didn’t have fresh jalapenos, so I sprinkled the meat with a bit of jalapeno powder. I cut the meat in 2 inches chunks like you said, which is kind of big, but I guess that’s ok for cooking. Not for eating though, so would you cut in smaller chunks before or after the broiler? I was actually wondering how big the chunks in the picture you posted with the recipe were. Hopefully you see this in the next 5 hours, lol ! 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Athee – After the meat cooks the 2-inch chunks that you started with will be smaller in size. We broiled them as is and did not cut them any smaller. Hope that helps!

  • Athee wrote:

    Hi, can I use a braising cast iron like the one in this pic? I don’t have another casserole dish.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Athee – A cast iron pan should work but the cooking time might be less (since cast iron heats up hotter than a glass dish). Hope that helps!

  • Corinne/CO wrote:

    Love this recipe! Just a few questions? Do you cook in glass or metal pan for the 5 hrs & do I need to use pan spray! I don’t eat jalapeños so can I use the fresh green chilies instead? Can I cut meat into 1 inch pieces rather then 2 inch size & shorten cooking time? I like smaller pieces to eat just my preference. Sorry for all the questions. LOL Thanks for any answers!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Corrine – Either glass or metal pan will work, no pan spray is needed (unless we state it in the recipe) and yes – you can substitute green chiles. I’d personally recommend cooking as written in the 2-inch cubes so the meat doesn’t dry out – you can always cut it smaller once it is cooked. Hope that helps! Enjoy the recipe!

      • Corinne/CO wrote:

        Thanks So Much for you responding to my questions! Can’t wait to make this.

  • Terra wrote:

    We don’t usually cook bacon at home so I don’t have any bacon fat. I know that would add more flavor, but if I don’t have it, should I just add a tiny bit more lard?
    Thanks! Can’t wait to try these!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Terra – Yes – a bit more lard can be used instead of the bacon fat. Hope you enjoy the carnitas!

      • Terra wrote:

        Thank you for the quick reply! I ran to the store on my lunch and threw everything into the crockpot since I’m not going to be home and I worry about having the oven on. I will report back on how it turns out in the crockpot! 🙂

        • Martha wrote:

          Great – definitely let us know! You will however probably want to crisp it up under the broiler to caramelize it a bit before serving!

          • Terra wrote:

            Yumm! The pork turned out really well in the crockpot. I put them in with all the ingredients and cooked them on high for 4 hours and the last hour, I turned it down to low. It was awesome coming home to a house that smelled so good! I did put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes and I will say, they were definitely more tender when they were straight out of the crock pot. The broiler dried them out a tiny bit and I didn’t feel like they really glazed that much. So I would say, if you are going to do them in the crockpot, just enjoy it as is. I made some Spanish rice, got some fresh pico de gallo and turned them into pork street tacos so if you go that route, it won’t matter as much if they are caramelized. Next time I cook these when I’m able to stay at home, I am going to do it in the oven so I can get the caramelized effect (my FAVE). But if you want awesome pork tacos, the crock pot is great and you can feel ok about leaving the house without having the oven on for a long time. Thanks for the awesome recipe! I took a pic to show how they turned out but it isn’t letting me attach it. But the tacos looked great! 🙂

          • Martha wrote:

            Thanks for letting us know Terra!

  • sharon wrote:

    Made this over the weekend. So easy! Love just quartering things and leaving them in big chunks. Cuts down on prep time. My family and friends were so impressed. They loved it! I will definitely be making this again. A little healthier way to serve the carnitas, is to use a Romane lettuce leaf as your tortilla. Still delicious and adds a little crunch. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      Great suggestion Sharon! So glad you all enjoyed the carnitas!

  • Kathy wrote:

    So dry!! Put pork on top – was that my problem??

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kathy – From your comment – it doesn’t sound like you followed the directions to bake in lard or suet? Salt pork won’t render down in the same way as lard or suet… 🙁

  • Stephanie wrote:

    Does the jalapeño make the carnitas spicy? Also about the bacon fat! Can I buy bacon fat or do I just cook bacon and drain the fat? I feel like that is the silliest question ever but I really want to make this and make it to the “T”! It sounds super yummy!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Stephanie – The jalepeno adds a little bit of heat but it doesn’t make it overly spicy. If you are worried about too much heat, I’d suggest leaving out the seeds but still including the rings from the peppers. And yes – we cook bacon and save the rendered fat for recipes like this! I don’t think I’ve ever seen bacon fat sold in the store – but it’s possible that some markets do! Hope that helps – and please let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Sandra Boone wrote:

    Hi Martha. I am preparing you recipe and am wondering if I am using half of the pork do I cut the rest of the recipe? Should I use a smaller baking dish?

    • Martha wrote:


  • Jen Sawyer wrote:

    Hi, Martha! This looks amazing, however we have friends coming over who don’t eat pork. Can this be made with beef instead, and what type?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jen – Yes – you could. The equivalent beef cut would be a chuck roast. We’re thinking that the beef will take less time to cook than the pork so you might want to cut back on the cooking time. Hope that helps! Let us know how it comes out!

  • Kim Porter wrote:

    One HUGE complaint! There was not enough to make everyone happy! Will most definitely be making double the recipe next time around. Growing up in Southern California, we always had plenty of great Mexican restaurants nearby. Now we live up in the Pacific Northwest and it’s just not the same. I’ve made several recipes for carnitas in the past two years, and this is the very best of the bunch! Thank you so much for a truly great meal.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Kim! We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Dawn wrote:

    I am going to make this in an hour or so. I probably won’t get a response in time. During the 5 hours, do you stir it at all or just let it cook?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Dawn – No stirring required! Just let it cook!

      • Dawn wrote:

        Thanks for the quick response.

  • jebs wrote:

    Do u squeeze the juice out of the orange and lime or just quartered it?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jebs – just quartered is fine!

  • Tricia wrote:

    This looks amazing, but have you tried anything less fattening than lard. I have a wedding dress to fit into in less than 2 months lol. Would some good olive oil work?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Tricia – We haven’t tried olive oil – the lard adds a lot of great flavor to the dish (the meat doesn’t soak up the oil)! But if you do try it – I’d recommend a light olive oil (or even canola oil) rather than extra virgin – the EVOO has such a strong taste that will definitely impact the flavor of the finished dish. Hope that helps!

  • Eleisha wrote:

    I use Le Cruset cookware, can I use the cast iron pots with lids instead of foil & parchment paper?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Eleisha – For the carnitas, you really want to use a wide, flatter and more shallow pan so the meat will caramelize. I’d be worried that in a dutch oven for example, the meat toward the bottom of the pan would not cook in the same way. We’d recommend cooking as written in the recipe for the best results.

  • Lorraine Pawelec wrote:

    My mother -in-law who was born and raised in Portugal made pork similar to carnitas called (don’t know correct spelling) but pronounced re joins wish I had gotten the recipe. I’ll have to try this and see if it tastes the same!

    • Martha wrote:

      I hope you enjoy it Lorraine! Let us know how it compares to your mother-in-law’s recipe!

  • JC wrote:

    While this is not an authentic recipe for Carnitas, it is a lot easier and I am definitely going to try it ( with the exception if the jalapeno).

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you enjoy the recipe JC!

  • Lisa wrote:

    Which color of onion is used? A white, yellow or red?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lisa – we used Vidalia but a white onion will work just as well.

  • Tracy wrote:

    Rats! I bought a pork shoulder instead of a pork butt? Think I could substitute the shoulder?
    Dying to make this, too Ö

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes! You should be fine – both cuts are from the shoulder (even though its called pork butt). Hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • Tracy wrote:

        You’re so sweet to answer my plea! Love your website! I truly appreciate all your time, effort and sharing that you both put into it. I emptied my black ink cartridge the day I found your site.
        Have a great weekend!!

        • Martha wrote:

          Thanks Tracy! We’re glad you found us!! Have a great weekend too!

          • Tracy wrote:

            Wow! My second batch is browning in the oven as we speak. I’ve never had true carnitas before but I can’t imagine them tasting any better than this! Absolutely tender yet caramelized goodness means this is an eternal “keeper”.
            Thanks, again!!

          • Martha wrote:

            So glad you enjoyed the recipe Tracy!

    • Kimberly Cohen wrote:

      Pork shoulder and pork butt are the same thing. Slow cook by smoking, crock pot, or low heat oven roast.

      • Martha wrote:

        Thanks Kimberly!

  • Chelsie wrote:

    I have made these twice now, and have bought multiple roasts of pork butt and put them in the freezer specifically for this recipe. I live in San Diego, home of some of the best Mexican food, and have NEVER had carnitas as spectacular as these. This recipe is now a staple in my home. I followed the recipe exactly as it is written. SOOOO easy, even more delicious. And the smell for the five hours it is cooking is divine. I never comment on recipes, but had to for this one. Thank you for sharing this recipe, my family will be forever grateful.

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Chelsie!! Thank you so much! You have made both of our days with your kind words – but especially my husband Jack who is so thrilled when our readers love our recipes! Thank you for taking the time to comment!! Martha

  • dee wrote:

    Can you cover it with just foil? I don’t have parchment.

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes – you can use just foil if necessary. The parchment prevents the foil from touching the food at it cooks (the acids from the peppers, etc could make the foil disintegrate) so just be sure that the foil is pulled taut across the pan.

  • Jeannie Ramos wrote:

    I just read aloud this recipe to my husband. His response”So when you gonna cook it” ! lol
    Tomorrow ok with you I said ? lol !

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL Jeannie! We hope you both enjoy the recipe!

  • Laurie wrote:

    My oven is on the fritz. Can I use a slow cooker on low for the five hours?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Laurie – Yes – the slow cooker might take longer but it will still work. You do want to brown the meat at the end to get the caramelization – so if your broiler isn’t working as well, you can brown the meat on the stove top in a pan. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    • Danielle wrote:

      This is exactly what I came here to ask! Did you ever try it; if so how did it turn out?

      • Martha wrote:

        Hi Danielle – Hopefully Laurie will respond! We haven’t tried it ourselves in the slow cooker.

  • Michele wrote:

    Do you bake it with the whole 1 lb of lard for the 5 hours? Do you just dice it up?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Michelle – Yes – The pork gets cut into cubes and is baked with the lard (which is soft like shortening so you would just measure that out and it will melt). If you are using suet (if lard isn’t available) that would be cut into cubes as well so it will melt quicker. Hope that helps clarify! Let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Cyn wrote:

    You did not just post a picture of fried pork—Ok, let me take a moment to wipe this side drool…
    OMG, this looks authentically divine, I’m in the process of moving so I’m a little bummed that I can’t cook this now but I will be sure to test this recipe out next week.

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL Cyn – I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!! Good luck with your move!

  • Trish wrote:

    Is there anything you can substitute the lard for?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Trish – If you can’t find lard, most supermarkets sell packages of suet which can be used instead. Hope that helps!

  • mike wrote:

    wow,these sound really good,,,,will try sunday….

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Mike!

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