Slow-Roasted Pork Carnitas with Orange and Milk

Adapted from Epicurious.

2012 Jan/Feb

Carnitas, or “little meats,” are most often made with braised chunks of flavourful meats like pork shoulder. The long, slow cooking time gives the tough connective tissues a chance to break down while the milk and orange act as tenderizers and flavour.



  • 2-3 lb. boneless pork shoulder (butt end) or boneless country pork ribs
  • canola or olive oil, or lard, for cooking
  • 1 orange, washed and quartered
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • salt and pepper

For serving:

  • corn tortillas, warmed
  • avocado, diced
  • finely chopped onion
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • cilantro, chopped


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cut the meat into a few chunks, heat a generous drizzle of oil or dab of lard in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meat on all sides, transferring it to a baking dish as it browns. Squeeze the orange wedges over the meat and toss the rinds into the baking dish once it has browned. Pour the milk overtop, then add enough water to almost cover the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 3 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Pull the meat apart into smaller pieces, remove and discard the orange rind, and turn the oven up to 375°F. Roast the meat, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is crisp and browned on the edges.

Place the dish of pork directly on the table surrounded with the corn tortillas and accessories. Let everyone dig in by piling pork, avocado, onion, salsa, sour cream and cilantro on their corn tortillas. Serves 8 to 10.