The Ultimate Guide to Making Crispy Pork Carnitas at Home

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, then you’ve probably heard of crispy pork carnitas. This delicious dish consists of tender, juicy pieces of pork that are slow-cooked until they become crispy on the outside, while remaining succulent and flavorful on the inside. The combination of perfectly seasoned meat with a crunchy texture makes it a crowd-pleasing favorite at gatherings and family dinners alike. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of making crispy pork carnitas at home, so you can enjoy this mouthwatering dish anytime.

Choosing the Right Cut of Pork

To achieve the perfect balance between tenderness and crispiness, it’s crucial to select the right cut of pork for your carnitas. Traditionally, pork shoulder or butt is used for making this dish. These cuts are marbled with fat and collagen, which break down during slow cooking to create moist and tender meat. Look for well-marbled cuts with a good ratio of fat to lean meat for optimum flavor and texture.

Preparing the Meat

Before cooking your pork carnitas, it’s essential to prepare the meat properly to enhance its flavor. Start by trimming off any excess fat from the pork shoulder or butt. Leaving some fat will add richness to your dish but removing excessive amounts will prevent it from becoming greasy.

Next, cut the meat into large chunks or cubes that are around 2 inches in size. This ensures even cooking and allows the flavors to penetrate deeply into the meat during cooking.

Seasoning and Braising

The key to flavorful crispy pork carnitas lies in seasoning and braising the meat. In a large bowl, combine your preferred spices such as cumin, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the pork, making sure every piece is well-coated.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil and sear the meat on all sides until it develops a golden brown crust. This step adds depth of flavor and helps to lock in the juices.

After searing, pour in enough liquid to cover about two-thirds of the meat. You can use a combination of broth, citrus juice (such as orange or lime), and even beer for added complexity. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the pork to braise slowly for several hours until it becomes tender and easily shreds with a fork.

Achieving Crispy Perfection

Once your pork is tender and flavorful from braising, it’s time to achieve that irresistible crispy exterior. Preheat your oven to a high temperature (around 450°F) while you shred the meat into smaller pieces using two forks.

Spread the shredded pork evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle some of the braising liquid over the meat to keep it moist during roasting. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and crispy.

Keep an eye on your carnitas during this process as they can quickly go from crispy to burnt if left unattended.


Making crispy pork carnitas at home may take some time and effort, but once you take that first bite into those perfectly seasoned, juicy yet crispy pieces of pork, you’ll realize it was all worth it. With this ultimate guide, you now have all the knowledge needed to recreate this beloved Mexican dish in your own kitchen. So gather your ingredients, follow these steps meticulously, and get ready to impress your family and friends with homemade crispy pork carnitas that rival those from your favorite Mexican restaurant.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.