Carnitas.  The best way to prepare this perfect style of pork is right here.  I worship carnitas.  I always have and always will.  Carnitas means “little meats” but there is nothing little about the flavor.  I use the pork shoulder which has a nice amount of marbled fat in it.  The fat is part of the secret…. it flavors the pork in the roasting portion of this recipe.  Mmmm.  I used my new Martha Stewart Cast Iron Dutch Oven to complete this heavenly delight and I only have high regards for the results. Carnitas may seem like an elaborate dish to pull off but all you need is a little bit of love and some patience.  The outcome is worth the time it took to slow cook this tender, moist, succulent crunchy meal.

Ingredients for carnitas:

5 – lbs of pork shoulder

meat seasoning (1 teaspoon of each: salt, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper)

1/4 – cup vegetable oil

1/2 – onion

9 – garlic cloves

1 – dried pasilla chile

1 – tablespoon oregano

1 – teaspoon salt

2 – cans coca-cola

1 – cup whole milk

4 – cups chicken broth

extra salt to taste for roasting

Cut pork shoulder into 3 inch chunks. Remove some of the extra fat on the outside.

Then season meat generously with meat seasoning. Set to the side.

In a 8 quart dutch oven over a medium flame add vegetable oil and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Then take a portion of the meat and fry on each side just to brown 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from dutch oven and set browned meat to the side. Repeat till all meat is browned.


Once all meat is browned add it all back into dutch oven and add in onion, garlic cloves, pasilla chile, oregano, salt, and coca-cola.

Next add in the milk.

and last add in chicken broth.

Bring the flame up to high and bring to a boil. Once broth is boiling cover with a lid and lower flame to low. Simmer for 3 hours.

After 3 hours the meat will have shrunk and there will be a little fat at the top of ther mixture. Mine looks like this.

Preheat your oven for 450 degrees fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with a aluminum foil or a baking mat and remove all pieces of pork with a slotted spoon from liquid. Allow pork to sit on baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then break up the pieces of meat with a fork or your hands. The meat will be extremely tender and practically fall apart on it’s own.

Stick it in the oven for 10 minutes and it will get slightly crunchy on top. The fat in the meat will melt and it will fry in it’s own fat. Remove from oven and place in a bowl or on a platter.

Squeeze lime over top and eat in tacos, burritos, tamales or tortas. Carnitas are simply the best.

 Photos by: Mando Lopez and Nicole Presley
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19 Responses to Carnitas

  1. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE carnitas!! I never knew there was Coke in the recipe – is that standard? I’ve ordered carnitas a million times at restaurants but never attempted making it myself; it always seemed like one of those magic things that are too complicated to make at home. Maybe I was wrong!

    • Nicole says:

      Coke is not the standard. A lot of people use orange juice. It just depends on the recipe. If you decide to give this dish a go, please let me know about your experience!

  2. Li says:

    Wow! I wish I could make something this awesome!

  3. Marylou says:

    Looks super yummy Nicole and I absolutely love your pan! I stopped at the picture of the lid to admire it’s shininess for a min lol

  4. pattie says:

    Oh man, my man would LOVE these! He would be drooling over the pics right now if he were here.

  5. Elise says:

    My mouth is watering. Yum. Definitely trying this recipe. I usually just use water, onion, and garlic.

  6. I don’t do pork but that casuela looks too good to pass up. It could make a sinner out of me! Yum!

  7. Ericka says:

    This looks awesome. I heard you can use Mt. Dew too.

  8. Alba Garza says:

    ok, so I saw you dropped coke in there. I am gonna have to try these.

  9. Eva Smith says:

    Oh yum! Love the red skillet you used to cook this in.

  10. girl, you don’t know how much I love this! I love carnitas.

  11. I want carnitasss Nicole!!! Feeeeddd meee!

  12. Megan says:

    One of my favorite chicken recipes has Coke in it. Looks so good!

  13. These look really delicoso, this is a recipe I would love to try!

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  15. Caryn B says:

    Love the step by step recipe! I don’t eat meat but the recipe looks awesome!

  16. Caryn B says:

    Ooh and the part about using coca cola is interesting!

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