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Carnitas platter

Traditional Carnitas: Authentic Recipe

The flavors in this tradtional and authentic Carnitas recipe from the Mexican state of Michoacán comes not from a bunch of herbs and spices, but rather from the lack thereof. This is the classic and simple recipe for Carnitas to which you can add your own flavors in the form of salsas, spices and side dishes.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Carnitas, Mexican, Slow food, Tacos
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 16 hours
Servings 8
Author Johan Johansen


  • 2 kilos pork shoulder cut into 5 cm x 5 cm cubes
  • 1 kilo lard can substitute bacon fat or beef tallow
  • 20 grams kosher salt


  1. Season pork generously and evenly with salt and refrigerate overnight. 

  2. Come next day, remove the meat from the fridge at least an hour before cooking to let it come to temperature.

  3. Carefully melt lard or other fat in a heavy bottom Dutch oven.
  4. Once fat has melted, carefully add the pork to the Dutch oven, making sure it is completely submerged in fat.

  5. If pork is not completely submerged add a bit of oil or extra fat as needed.
  6. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place in a 100C oven and cook about six hours or until fork tender, then evacuate from the oven.
  7. In a colander set over a bowl, carefully drain all the fat from the pork pieces, return the Dutch oven to the stove top and heat over medium high heat.
  8. Add enough of the reserved cooking fat to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven by at least a couple of millimeters.

  9. Add cooked pork to the Dutch oven and carefully brown on all sides until golden brown and delicious.
  10. Move pork pieces to a cutting board and rest for a few minutes before pulling a part using either a couple of forks, your fingers or other suitable pulling devices.
  11. Serve immediately as taco filling or with Spanish rice or Refried Beans

Recipe Notes

With only three ingredients in play here, quality is, of course, key. Talk to your butcher about his best possible pork for the job and take the time needed to cook things low and slow to absolute tender perfection.