Total Time
3hrs 15mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins

2001 Best Recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle. Serve with avocadao slices, sour cream, and limes and of course margaritas! Recipe courtesy Tara Duggan

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Trim any thick fat from the outside of the pork butt. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Discard any cubes that are pure fat, but don't try to trim all of the fat out of the meat.
  2. Put the pork in a large pot. Add the water the strips of orange zest, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, bay leaves, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cloves. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the pork is very soft, adding more water if necessary to keep the meat submerged. Season with salt.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the water has evaporated about 30 minutes. Cook a little longer to fry the meat slightly. (Note: if you want extra-crispy carnitas, fry approximately 25 minutes.) Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Put the meat in a fine strainer and push gently with a wooden spoon to remove any excess fat. Discard the fat.
  5. Fold a few tablespoons of carnitas inside each tortilla and top each taco with cilantro, onion and salsa.


Most Helpful

Excellent recipe! Used carnita meat from the butchers selection and opted for crockpot. Where I went wrong was pushing the meat thru the strainer losing all the moisture. That was bummer and I should have put 2 and 2 together on that one. Next time I'll know to set aside a cpl cups of the juices as an add in on fry time. Thank you for the fabulous recipe-it's totally authentic and took us back!

Tallie in Pacific NW October 20, 2013

I signed up for an account just to rate this... This is by far my favorite recipes to make. The flavors mix together nicely. I do like a little heat in my dishes, so I add about 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp cumin (I'm addicted. I can't help it). Great to serve with fresh jalape

kimdpeterson February 08, 2014

Simply delicious! I used pork shoulder/ butt and all the ingredients. All of the flavors blended smoothly and nothing was overwhelming. Served on flour tortillas & topped with avocado slices, chopped fresh cilantro leaves and onions. I did not take the meat to the browning stage, just short of it, keeping it moist. This is company worthy and great for a family weekday dinner, we will make this often. Cookiedog, thanks a BUNCH! YUM!

Chicagoland Chef du Jour March 07, 2013

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