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Stovetop Carnitas Recipe

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Carnitas tacos on a plate


Nothing beats some good carnitas, aka the pulled pork of Mexico! So much flavor, so much pork. So many ways to make it, and it’s definitely not a difficult dish. With these spicy stovetop carnitas, you can make tacos, burritos, nachos, tot-chos, or whatever your go-to Mexican dish is! I’m just doing a simple taco with cilantro, onion, and Kentuxican hot sauce 😉 

These carnitas are made with pork shoulder (or butt as some say). My grocery store does not sell simple boneless cubed pork, so I had to buy a whole shoulder. If you go this route, pay attention! The bottom-half of the butt is usually boneless. If you cut this bottom-portion off longways, it’s usually 3-4 lbs. If you are shy of 4 lbs, trim around the bone to get more pork. 

The marinade is really what makes carninas. For mine, I like to add about a cup of Mexican Coke-a-Cola (yes it matter that it’s Mexican coke). I also add a bunch of great spices, such as Dan-O’s Seasoning, cinnamon, cumin, and mexican oregano. And fresh veggies like a ton of garlic. 

When the pork in your stovetop Carnitas starts falling apart, pull the chunks out with a pair of tongs and shred them on a baking sheet! From there you can flash fry them, pan fry them, or broil (my preferred way) them in the oven for crispness and texture. However, they are very good in their juicy form, so I recommend trying a taco that way too. Broil in batches as you get hungry and store the rest in the fridge, or if you’re cooking for crowd, broil it all at once.  

Serve with beans and rice, and on tortillas with cilantro, onion, and some good hot sauce. Enjoy! 

Looking for other good Latino recipes? Try our birria burrito recipe.


  • 4 ½ lbs of pork shoulder (in big chunks) 
  • 1 cup of mexican coke 
  • 2 cups of water 
  • Juice of 2 large oranges 
  • Juice of 2 limes 
  • 1 jalapeno sliced 
  • 1 small onion cut in wedges
  • 6 peeled smashed cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs spicy Dan-O’s Seasoning 
  • 1 tbs Mexican oregano 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • Your choice of tortillas 
  • Your choice of hot sauce 
  • 1 small onion diced (for topping)
  • Bundle of cilantro (for topping)

Prep Time

20 Mins

Cook Time

4-5 Hours


16-20 Tacos


  1. Cut your pork butt into large chunks and measure out roughly 4 ½ lbs. Add to a large pot. Squeeze the juice of limes and oranges over the pork, and add in the Mexican coke and water. 
  2. Cut your onion into large wedges, slice your jalapeno, and smash your garlic cloves. Add to the pot with a small handful of cilantro 
  3. Add in all of your spices, and mix everything together in the pot. 
  4. Bring pot to a low boil on medium, turning over pork chunks occasionally. Once boiling, turn the temperature down as low as you can and cook for 4-5 hours until pork starts to fall apart. 
  5. Remove pork chunks from the pot with a pair of tongs and transfer to a baking sheet. Shred the pork with a fork. In batches, pour some of the carnitas liquid on the pork and broil for about 5 minutes until they start to caramelize and crisp up.
  6. Dice your onion and cilantro for your tacos.  
  7. Serve pork on tortillas with onion, cilantro, and your choice of hot sauce. Enjoy! 
Note* Keep leftover pork in the fridge for up to 3 days (store in a bag or Tupperware). Save leftover the leftover juices from the pot for reheating the pork! 

Contributed by Alli in Lexington, KY.

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