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A taco made with authentic Mexican style carnitas.

Authentic Homemade Mexican Carnitas

Done the old-fashioned way, cooked in lard, these carnitas are crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Pork
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings


  • 3 pounds about 1 ½ quarts lard (there is no substitute)
  • 3 ½ pounds boneless pork fat trimmed, (butt or shoulder) cut into 3-inch cubes
  • 1 small orange cut into slices
  • 4 large sprigs cilantro with stem
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in half, if desired
  • To Serve
  • Warmed tortillas flour, corn or both
  • Salsa of chopped onion jalapeno, and cilantro (chop in equal ratios and mix together)
  • Sour cream and guacamole if desired


  • Melt the lard in a heavy, deep pot, over medium-low heat. When melted, add the meat, orange slices, cilantro, and cinnamon. The melted lard must just cover the meat if it doesn't add more.
  • Cook, over medium-low heat, for 2 to 2 ½ hours. After about 30 minutes the lard will begin to boil, bring it to just a simmer and allow it to cook. As the moisture of the orange and cilantro gradually cook-off, the temperature of the lard will rise. As the temperature rises, the meat will begin to brown. If the meat is not brown at the end of the cooking time, remove the orange slices and continue to cook until the meat browns. Remove the meat to a rack to drain as it browns.
  • To serve: Place the meat on a preheated platter. Serve with tortillas and the salsa, and any additional accompaniments you choose.
Keyword authentic, carnitas, cooked in fat, lard
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