Easy prep carnitas

Quick Look_______________

gracepoint fellowship carnitasThere's already a carnitas recipe posted, but here's an easier way to make them. It's perfect for lunch after home worship. I would place it in the oven at midnight, take it out 7-8am, shred it up and leave it in a 180F oven during worship service, take it out and serve.
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 8 hours in the oven
  • Difficulty: Easy.
  • Labor Intensity: Easy enough to do on your own, though an extra hand or two would be nice to help cut all the meat
  • 30 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.


  • 12-15 lbs pork shoulder [about $18-$22 on sale at safeway, or check Costco]
  • 90 count bag of palm sized corn tortillas [$3-$4 at costco, safeway, wherever] or you can get flour tortillas
  • salt
  • oil
  • coke/pepsi
  • paprika
  • cumin (optional)
  • chili powder (optional)
  • cliantro (optional)
  • Dash of soy sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 onions [under $1]
  • 2-3 limes [about $1]
  • sour cream [$3-4 safeway]
  • shredded cheese [$5 safeway]
  • Total: about $35.00


  • Preheat oven to 275 F
  • Rub 1 tsp salt per lb onto pork (12lbs will be 1/4 cup salt, 16lb will be 1/3 cup)
  • Place pork onto aluminum tray, fat side up if possible
  • Pour in 2-3 cans of coke. It should be about 1/4 inch deep. You may need more or less cans.
  • Put tray into oven at midnight.
  • Remove from oven at 7-8am and tear apart the meat using 2 forks (make coarse pieces).
  • *If the meat is not tender by 8am, turn oven to 400F and roast for another 1-2 hours (should not be necessary)
  • Add seasonings, salt, and pepper to taste (add more salt only if necessary)
  • Squeeze lime over the meat to taste, or you can slice and place wedges on the side
  • Add a dash of soy sauce to make it more savory (optional)
  • After meat is shredded (not too finely), place in aluminum tray. Cover with foil and keep in warm oven (180F, or lowest setting) and take out when you want to serve.
  • Dice onions and chop cilantro into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Serve with tortillas, sour cream, cheese

Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________

There may be alot of oil in the pan at the very end. Drain prior to serving. Leave it in while cooking to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out. For this reason DO NOT trim the fat off when cutting the meat. It will all render into oil which you can drain later. You can trim off fat after cooking if it is still there.

When you shred the meat apart, you will notice that it may be a little dry or bland on the inside. You can take a little liquid from the tray and mix it in to add some flavor. Always add salt last (to taste).

You can steam or microwave the tortillas to soften them prior to serving.

[Possible side dish] Serve with salsa and tortilla chips and chipotle sauce


MattChan said…
Looks delicious, maybe I'll try making some.
Steven C said…
tom, how would you adjust the cooking time for less or more people?
tomkim said…
This recipe actually works for 6lbs or 50lbs. 8 hours at 275F will get tender meat regardless of volume as long as it's at least 1/2 way submerged. I've had good results every time I used it - it's my standard for slow cooking pork
Anonymous said…
looks like the real deal from the taco truck

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