Authentic Carnitas Recipe
When I was 10 years old, my grandfather showed me how he made his carnitas. He used to make them in the backyard in a huge copper pot called a cazo de cobre. But one day it started raining and he had to finish them inside. He ended up using a pressure cooker and the carnitas came out fantastic! He has cooked them that way ever since.
Following in his footsteps, I had to tweak the cooking style since our pressure cooker bit the dust. This time it was me teaching my 12-year-old daughter how to make our family’s carnitas. The new method is explained in the recipe below. The end result was absolutely outstanding and I’ve cooked them this way ever since.
I really hope you enjoy this recipe. From my home to yours.
Tom Geist, Founder, SoCal Hot Sauce
For the meat…
- Boston butt pork shoulder (boneless) – 2-3 lbs
- Lard – 2 cups (can substitute for vegetable shortening)
- Salt - 3 Tablespoons
- Garlic powder
- Mexican Coke – 1 bottle
- Mexican Beer – 2 bottles
- Juice from 1 large orange
For the finishing touch…
- 1 bottle of SoCal Hot Sauce. We recommend SoCal’s Cremosa Asada or Cremoso Fuego.
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped.
- Fresh lime wedges
- Corn tortillas
Add the lard/shortening to a deep frying pan and turn the heat up to medium. Careful not to scorch it.
Once the lard is melted and hot, carefully add the chunks of pork.
Let the pork fry on a medium heat (adjust as necessary) for 30 minutes. Careful not to burn the pork. Do not touch, turn or move the pork. Very important if you want a deep brown and flavorful sear. The oil in the pan should look like a slow boil and not a flash fry. Remember, the pork will be cooking for 30 minutes before you flip it.
Flip each piece of pork over so the other side can get nice and browned. Let it fry for another 30 minutes on medium heat.
At this point the carnitas should have a nice brown color to it and your neighbors are peaking out of their windows to find out what that delicious smell is.
Add salt, garlic powder, orange juice and 1 bottle of Mexican beer to the carnitas.
Cover and let it simmer for 1 hour. Keep an eye on it and if the liquid looks like it
Uncover and add 1 bottle of Mexican Coke. You can usually find it on the bottom shelf in the Mexican aisle at your local grocery store. The reason you want to use Mexican Coke is because it uses real cane sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup. It makes a huge difference!
Simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes or so until the carnitas is fork tender and has a deep, rich brown color. Really pay attention to the carnitas and make sure the sugar from the coke doesn’t burn. If it starts to burn, add some Mexican beer. Repeat if necessary.
Remove the carnitas and shred or chop them so you can begin to build your tacos.
Heat up your corn tortillas in a comal (flat cast iron pan) or over an open flame on the stove.
I think you can handle it from here. Build your tacos anyway you want! We recommend eating your carnitas tacos with fresh onion, cilantro a squeeze of lime and your favorite SoCal Hot Sauce! SoCal's Cremoso Fuego and Cremosa Asada are absolutely incredible with carnitas tacos.