Mexican Style Tacos de Carnitas (Crispy Pulled Pork Tacos)

Carnitas are the epitome of Mexican comfort food in my book. The slow braising process fills your kitchen with a gorgeous aroma that will have everyone excited for supper. The pork is quickly seared, slow braised to fork tender, shredded, and added to a baking dish for a quick roast in the oven. The residual fat left in the meat cooks off and crisps up the meat into delicious little morsels. Yum!

 I opted to serve the carnitas with corn tortillas and a zesty lime and cilantro coleslaw (Recipe here) The favors were a perfect combination. Fragrant, savory meat with crispy, tangy slaw. Simple and delicious.


  • 4-6 pounds pork shoulder (cut into 2-3 large but manageable pieces and trimmed of fat)
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Peel of 1/2 orange (large pieces that can be easily removed)
  • 6 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 2 dried California chile peppers (or medium heat dried chile pepper of your choosing)
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed


  • Rub pork with salt and cumin
  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy oven-proof pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat
  • Brown pork on all sides one piece at a time
  • Discard all but 1 teaspoon of rendered fat from pot.
  • Return pan to heat, and deglaze with beef broth
  • Add remaining ingredients to the broth, and return pork to pot. (pork should be about 3/4 covered with broth)
  • Bring liquid to a simmer
  • Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 3-4 hours, or until pork is fork tender
  • Turn meat halfway through cook time and add water if needed
  • Remove pork from broth and transfer to a large baking dish
  • Shred with 2 forks discarding any large pieces of fat or gristle
  • Return pork to oven at 375 degrees for an additional 15 minutes (any residual fat will render and crisp up the shredded pork morsels)
  • Separate liquids and solids from pot, and reserve liquid
  • When pork is crispy and golden on top remove from oven and spoon some of the reserved braising liquid on top (reserve remainder for re-heating if desired)
  • Serve with tortillas, slaw, and lime

Recipe Notes:

This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday. Shredded pork is  super versatile, and reheats really well. A platter of carnitas can easily become pulled pork sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos, any thing you can imagine. I like to make a very large batch of this early in the week, freeze half in small 2 serving batches for later use, and plan my weekly menu around the rest. It can go straight from freezer to microwave! Endlessly cheaper and yummier than takeout.

Pork shoulder is a very inexpensive cut of meat, that goes on special pretty often at my local market. I frequently buy large roasts for less than $0.80 a pound. This is a perfect way to turn a very cheap cut of meat into something special. Perfect for feeding large groups on a budget.


13 thoughts on “Mexican Style Tacos de Carnitas (Crispy Pulled Pork Tacos)

  1. Pingback: Enchiladas Verdes – Lightened Up Green Enchiladas with Shredded Pork and Spinach | Happygoodtime

      • ok this recipe is awsome! I followed the directions to the T. But we are having pulled pork sammies. So delish! Oh and by the way my hubby Chris Duncan works with your Ovi! thanks for your blog. so steeling your caprese apps for superbowl!

      • I’m so happy you guys enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for the feedback – it’s much appreciated. Great to “meet” you! It’s amazing how small the internet/world actually is.

        Steal away! Just make sure you have plenty of people around for those caprese apps, they’re dangerous. Ovi and I ate them all…=)

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