Carnitas is one of my favorite foods so I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo with carnitas fresh from the oven. Those of you who love Mexican food are probably saying, “What? The oven? Carnitas is supposed to be deep fried.” You’re right, my favorite restaurants boil then deep fry the pork to get that perfect combination of tender chunks of meat with a crispy coat. I’m too lazy to go to that much trouble so I’ve found an easy way to make carnitas that will rival any restaurant. Here’s the secret.
- 3 lbs. Pork shoulder roast (often called a butt roast)
- Liberal amount of salty pork or chicken seasoning (I use onion salt, sage, and any other spice that looks good that day)
- 3 Limes squeezed (you can substitute 1/4 cup orange juice in a pinch)
- 1 shot of Tequila (just to get a dirty look from the wife – for more dirty looks drink a few shots while cooking)
Bake for 3 hours at 300 degrees in a quality roasting pan (thick sided and tight lid). Roast should fall apart when you poke it with a fork.
Cut roast into cubes, put back in the roasting pan and stir into the drippings.
Return to oven without a lid and broil for 15 minutes. Stir it up again then broil for another 15 minutes. Do it again if there is still too much juice in the bottom of the pan. Basically what you’re doing is deep frying the cubes in the fat from the roast. The lime/orange juice helps to caramelize the outside as well.
If you’ve done it right you’ll end up with soft, tender chunks of pork with a crispy shell. I add a peach and mango salsa when I’m feeling fancy. Enjoy!