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Marinated in citrus and slow cooked to perfection, these Carnitas will be the star of the table.  Serve alone or atop a baked sweet potato!

Carnitas - Real Plans

Marinated in citrus and slow cooked to perfection, these Carnitas will be the star of the table. The best part? Versatility. Served alone, atop a baked sweet potato or even in a taco salad, the possibilities are endless. Whip up a double batch to have leftovers and enjoy the options all week!



  • 5.0 stars
  • 30m
  • 6h
  • 6h 20m


  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 orange
  • 2 limes
  • 5 lb pork shoulder or butt (with or without bone in)
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole clove
  • 5 c lard
  • 1 avocado


  1. Wash cilantro; peel and slice garlic cloves in half. Cut orange into eighths. Juice half the limes.
  2. Season the pork shoulder with lime juice, a generous sprinkling of sea salt, half the cilantro, bay leaves, garlic and whole cloves.
  3. Cover and refrigerate while rendering the lard for up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 285F.
  5. Warm rendered lard (if previously chilled to solid) until it is liquid.
  6. Place whole seasoned pork shoulder in a small Dutch oven (the smallest you have to fit the meat, but still cover with liquid).
  7. Shove orange slices around the sides of the pork.
  8. Pour the liquid lard over the pork and oranges until the meat is completely covered.
  9. Place the meat in the preheated oven with the lid on. Consider setting Dutch oven on a lipped tray to catch any overflow of fat.
  10. Cook for 4-6 hours or until meat falls apart easily when tested with a fork.
  11. Remove from the oven and lift the meat out onto a dish, taking care not to burn yourself with the fat.
  12. Pull apart the remaining meat into medium sized chunks, and fry in a large frying pan with the cooked oranges until desired crispiness is reached.
  13. You can reheat in a frying pan, and serve with a squeeze of lime, pinch of cilantro, and sprinkle of sea salt to taste. The fried oranges can be eaten rind and all.
  14. Slice avocados and serve with carnitas.


  • 4
  • 2843
  • 41g
  • 13g
  • 5g
  • 277g
  • 111g
  • 382mg
  • 305mg

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  • So good you forget it’s healthy. Everyone in my family devoured the Carnitas. I was unsure about some of the ingredients but followed the recipe as written and was so glad that I did! It was a definite make again!

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