Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Since moving to Texas, A and I have been eating a startlingly large number of Tex-Mex or Mexican meals, even when we're home. Partly this has to do with the abundance of Mexican ingredients that are available in the local grocery stores - we can get fresh corn tortillas, canned chipotles in adobo sauce, fresh bunches of cilantro (or coriander to you UK types), salsa verde or roja, etc. so easily that A's new favorite thing to cook is a breakfast taco (scramble some eggs, pop it in a warmed corn tortilla with cheese and salsa, and eat).

But once you start down this path, you get more ambitious, and the next request was to make carnitas at home for tacos/burritos. After looking at a few recipes, and deciding to make a giant batch, here is what resulted. It was amazing. I'm toning down the orange peel just a little in the recipe here since we both found the orange flavor to be very strong, but not in an unpleasant way - I think we'd just prefer it a bit more subtle. Go forth. This makes enough for 20 burritos, plus another stash of carnitas for the freezer, so be warned.



6 pounds pork shoulder
5 strips orange zest
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 large onions, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cinnamon sticks, preferably Mexican canela
4 bay leaves
3 teaspoons crushed dried oregano leaves, preferably Mexican
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons cumin


  1. Trim any thick fat from surface of pork. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes, discarding any that are pure fat. Put pork in a large pot. Add enough water to just cover.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any scum that forms on surface. 
  3. Add orange zest, garlic, chopped onion, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, bay leaves, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the cumin. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, until pork is very soft; add water if necessary to keep meat submerged. 
  4. Continue to cook until water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Cook a little longer to fry meat slightly; cook even longer if you prefer crisper meat. Stir often.
  5. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Fill burritos with carnitas, rice, beans, salsa, cheese, etc. or use it in tacos with some cilantro, salsa, etc.