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(recipe, Lisa Fain)

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Carnitas, which means "little meats" in Spanish, come in several guises. Some people serve it stringy, like pulled pork. Some people serve it in huge chunks, with bits of bone still attached. And some serve it in smaller cubes, perfect for popping in your mouth. Though no matter how it's presented, it's always succulent slow-cooked pork that's tender on the inside and crunchy on the out. The state of Michoacan, Mexico, is renowned for its carnitas, which they cook in lard. It's a decadent eating experience, as the pork is slick and smooth with just enough texture to keep things interesting. You can, however, achieve a similar texture by cooking the pork shoulder in water until the liquid has evaporated. Because you haven't trimmed the fat off the pork, after the liquid is gone the pot is filled with rendered pork fat that browns the outside to a caramelized crisp, yielding succulent carnitas that are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.


  1. 3 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  2. ½ cup orange juice
  3. ¼ cup lime juice
  4. 4 garlic cloves
  5. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  6. 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  7. Houston-Style Green Salsa
  8. Tortillas, avocado slices, and chopped cilantro, for serving


  1. Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or pot; add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.
  2. After 2 hours, turn the heat up to medium-high, and while occasionally stirring, continue to cook uncovered for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered.
  3. When the pork has browned on both sides, it's ready. (There will still be liquid fat in the pan.) Taste and add salt. Serve either cubed or shredded with Houston-Style Green Salsa, tortillas, avocado slices, and chopped cilantro.