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Carnitas meat in crispy taco shell with radishes and cilantro.

Dutch Oven Carnitas Recipe

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  • Author: Viktor Kapustin
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4
    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
    • Category: Dinner
    • Method: Dutch Oven
    • Cuisine: Mexican



  • 2 pounds (900 grams) pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) cubes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (or substitute paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 oranges
  • approximately 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil
  • cilantro for serving
  • fresh lime juice for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). 
  2. Mix together the salt, ancho chile powder, cumin and oregano. Coat the pork shoulder chunks on all side. Arrange in a single layer in a dutch oven.
  3. Nestle the onion and garlic between the pork chunks.
  4. Juice the oranges into the dutch oven, then add the peel. You can use the peel of just one orange to make it fit better or cut them into smaller pieces. Arrange the ingredients so that everything fits tightly in a single layer.
  5. Add just enough oil to cover the pork chunks. You’ll need approximately 1 cup (240 ml) of oil.
  6. Cover the dutch oven and place on the middle rack of the oven. Cook for 3.5 hours or until the pork is very tender.
  7. When the meat is done, transfer it to a baking tray and shred. Arrange the meat evenly on the baking tray and pour a few spoonfuls of leftover liquid on top. Broil for approximately 5 minutes or until slightly crispy.
  8. Garnish with fresh lime juice and cilantro.


Choosing your pork: Choose a well-marbled boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt. Slow cooking breaks down the connective tissues in these cuts, resulting in a melt-in-your mouth texture.

Storage: Leftover carnitas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.