Monday, May 5, 2014

Rita's Pork Carnitas Tacos

Every year for Spanish class, my boy has the opportunity to earn culture points by cooking some authentic Hispanic food.  This works out great for me since his Nana is very authentic, not to mention a  very good cook! Nana has also passed on her culinary skills to her daughter (my sister-in-law) Rita.  As the deadline for culture points neared, I invited them over and asked them if they had a recipe they would be willing to share with Samuel. I just love it when I invite people over and they do all the work. I'm a great hostess that way.

Rita cooked the pork in her slow cooker before arriving and then showed Samuel how to crisp it in a cast iron skillet. Of course, she brought her own skillet. She's authentic like that. She even printed up her recipe for me (see below). She's a great sister-in-law like that.

Here's Samuel pretending to cook the pork carnitas.  As you can see, his Nana thinks that's pretty funny. She doesn't usually let men in her kitchen. At least we have a photo for the culture point assignment. Eating counts, right?

Slow cooking the pork in a spicy citrus marinade keeps it moist and full of flavor.  Crisping it in a cast iron skillet gives it crisp, caramelized bite.  I can't wait until next year!  Thanks Nana and Rita!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Rita's Pork Carnitas Tacos

·       6 lbs pork butt (cut into 2-3” cubes)
·       1 Tbsp kosher salt
·       1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
·       2 tsp cumin
·       2 tsp chili powder
·       4 TBL olive oil
·       1 medium onion coarsely chopped
·       1 med-lg seeded jalapeno chopped
·       8 cloves garlic minced or mashed (or 2 TBL minced from a jar)
·       1 ½ cup orange juice
·       1 orange cut in ½
·       ¼ cup lime juice (juice from 1-2 limes)
·       ¾ cup water (you can add this as needed)


  • Mix all spices in with olive oil then rub each cube with mixture (you can also rub into a whole roast if you prefer but rubbing into the individual cubes just adds more flavor)
  • Place all prepared pork into crock pot with all of the remaining ingredients, squeezing the orange halves last and adding to the pot
  • Cook on low for 8 hours adding water as needed – I typically give it a good stir in the beginning just to mix the ingredients throughout then just let it cook
  • Remove meat with slotted spoon and allow to cool then either shred with forks, or just use your fingers to separate which will allow additional for some small meatier chunks
To crisp up
Add meat to a cast iron skillet over med/high heat and brown until crispy (add oil if desired)

We used the carnitas to make tacos using warm corn and flour tortillas. We served it as a small taco bar with a variety of additional fillings like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro, lettuce and tomato and Mexican cheese crumbles.


  1. Your pork canrnitas Tacos look like a great change of pace. Seem you always see beef or chicken and your pork ones will be tried soon.
    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick