Carnitas de Lia

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These carnitas are based on a recipe by Michele Anna Jordan that I’ve been using for years. Because the pork is braised in its own juice, these carnitas are much lighter than the traditional version, which is cooked in ample fat. Serve this Mexican-style pulled pork with guacamole, lime wedges, salsa and a basket of hot tortillas.

Carnitas de Lia

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: Serves 12

Carnitas de Lia


  1. 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  2. 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
  3. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  4. 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 3–4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Mix together salt and spices in a small bowl. Take pork out of its netting, pat pork dry with paper towels, and rub the spice mixture all over, getting it into the nooks and crannies.

Place pork in a Dutch oven, cover and bake in the oven for 3–1/2 to 4 hours, until pork falls apart with the touch of a fork.

That’s it. The easiest recipe you can imagine. Shred the pork and serve the carnitas on a platter along with the suggested accompaniments, or freeze until later.


Note: If you’d like to crisp up either medium-sized chunks or fully shredded pork, saute it in a bit of the pork fat or canola oil.

Cook Time: 3-1/2 to 4 hours

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  • Donna del Rey

    Would this work in a crock pot?? I’m loving the idea of this recipe and will definitely try it. – Donna

  • Lia Huber

    It would . . . cook on high for 8 hours. The caveat is, I find the meat to be a bit drier in a crock pot.

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  • Jacqueline Church

    Have our version in oven now. House is smelling mighty fine…

  • Lia Huber

    Doesn’t it though? After making all these batches of carnitas (first for this piece, then for the ABC segment) and freezing them, we FINALLY ate a meal with them last night. It was fabulous, and a great way to welcome family who had flown all the way across the country.

  • Christopher Huber

    Just had the last of of our carnitas for lunch today. The way they re-heat in a saute pan and get all crispy (no added oil of any kind) is just perfect. The sizzling sounds thankfully drowned out our daughter’s blood-curdling screams that she didn’t want to take a nap.

  • Jamie G. Dougherty

    We are making these carnitas today for our New Year’s party. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  • Lia Huber

    Christopher — I just found some more in the freezer too :-).

    Jamie . . . enjoy!!!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance

    Looking forward to trying this – been wondering what to do with the pork shoulder I have in the freezer. Seems like a perfect recipe to try!

  • Lia huber

    I’ll tell you, I’ve been getting “this changed my life” raves on it lately. Hope you enjoy it just as much!

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  • Kim

    O-M-G, I am so trying this recipe. I can almost smell it cooking in my house. Thank you so much for sharing!! :)

  • liahuber

    You’ll love it!

  • Marie

    Hi Lia, Could this be cooked in a crockpot as well? It’s beginning to get hot down here in Florida and we won’t be using the oven if we can possibly help it. :)

  • savvy

    Would absolutely do it in crock pot!! Would be perfect way to beat the heat, and still have the dinner you want!! YUM!!

  • Lainey

    Received this recipe in an email and I’m so glad that I kept it! This recipe could only be easier if someone came into your home and made it for you. The results are crazy-good, and my family raved about it throughout the meal. My only regret is not having bought a larger piece of meat, because there just barely any leftovers. (PS Don’t worry about putting a relatively dry piece of meat into the oven; there was more than enough juice when I pulled it out. We removed the liquid, shredded the pork, and then replaced SOME of the juices back into the meat.) Sooooo freakin’ delicious!!!

    • liahuber

      So glad you loved it as much as we do, Lainey!