Pork Carnitas with Garlic and Orange


The trick to these luscious carnitas is to pull the meat into successively smaller pieces as it roasts, exposing more and more surface to the oven’s heat for crisping. Slideshow: Wine Pairings for Mexican Food 

Pork Carnitas with Garlic and Orange
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 45 mins
4 to 6


  • One 3 1/2-pound boneless pork shoulder

  • Vegetable oil, for drizzling

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder

  • 20 unpeeled garlic cloves

  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and diced

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • Warm tortillas, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a roasting pan, rub the pork all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the pork meaty side up and sprinkle with the ancho. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

  2. Scatter the garlic cloves and jalapeños around the pork and bake uncovered for 2 hours, turning the pan after 1 hour. Transfer the garlic cloves and jalapeños to a plate.

  3. Increase the oven temperature to 375°. Cut the pork into 4 thick slices. Using 2 forks, pull the pork into large chunks. Arrange the chunks in the pan, browned sides up. Peel the garlic and add the cloves to the pan. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, until well-browned and crisp. Pull into smaller pieces and roast for 30 minutes longer.

  4. Transfer the pork and garlic to a large platter and scatter the jalapeños on top.

  5. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the roasting pan. Set the pan over moderate heat, add the orange juice and boil, scraping up the browned bits; pour over the pork and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve with tortillas.

Suggested Pairing

Alcohol actually makes spicy food taste even hotter, so low-alcohol, lightly sweet wines are great; they’ll even cool off your palate. Try full-bodied German Kabinett Rieslings, which also have enough body to go with substantial meat dishes like these chile-pork carnitas.

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