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Crispy Carnitas

Crispy Carnitas

This recipe came from The Sweet Life in Paris, by David Lebovitz, and yields a crispier carnitas than the slow-cooker version. Recipe adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris, by David Lebovitz



  1. Trim of excess fat & cut into 5-inch chunks:
    • 4 1/2 lb pork shoulder , boneless
  2. Season roast with:
    • 1 TBS kosher salt
  3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat and add:
    • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  5. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around.
  6. If your non-stick skillet is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches.
  7. Once all the pork is browned, place them in a single layer in a large roasting pan.
  8. Blot away any excess fat in your skillet with a paper towel.
  9. Pour in your skillet:
    • 1 cup water
  10. Scrape the bottom of your skillet with a flat-edged utensil to remove all the crispy pieces of pork.
  11. Pour the deglazing liquid with the pork bits into the large roasting pan containing your pork shoulder chunks.
  12. Stir in:
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tsp chile powder
    • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • 3 garlic cloves , chopped
  13. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3 ½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart.
  14. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.
  15. Using a fork, carefully shred the pork into bite-sized pieces, discarding any obvious big chunks of fat.
  16. Pour the pork juice from the pan into a fat separator to further remove grease.
  17. Return juices to the pan with the shredded pork.
  18. Return the pan to the oven and cook, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized.
  19. Cooking time will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crispy you want them.

Crispy Carnitas  Detail

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 5 hours

Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 8
Serving Size: 6 oz

Serving Suggestions: Serve with whole wheat tortillas, guacamole and fat-free refried beans, or top a salad.