Pork Carnitas*

Pork Carnitas from www.thenovicechefblog.com

“You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl.” — That statement is about 75% true. I still think TexMex is some of the greatest food on this entire earth. I add hot sauce to just about anything and I say y’all on a daily basis. My accent (was never heavy, but I definitely had one), is pretty much completely gone. However, I still have my Texan dialect. For example:

Buzzard: black birds that circle something when it’s dead. Here in Florida they call them vultures.

Coke: The name of every soda, ever. In Texas this is how your drink order goes down at a restaurant: “What would you like to drink?” “Coke” “Ok, what kind?” “Dr. Pepper.”

Wrecker: instead of tow truck

Cement: Pronounced Sea-Mint. Not Sa-Ment. ….to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s Texas that made me pronounce this one wrong all my life or my mother. P.S. Mom go listen to this over and over and over. We can practice together soon.

Conniption Fit: I said this last week in front of a large crowd and no one knew what having a Conniption Fit was. It’s the same thing as a hissy fit…and I have been known to throw my fair share of both.

Tump: My dad said this one just last weekend. Here’s how to properly use it: “Expletive!, I just tumped my beer over.”

Pork Carnitas from www.thenovicechefblog.com

These are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head. So now if you are coming to Blogher Food 2013 in Austin this June, you will have a little bit of preparation. And FYI, no we don’t all talk slower than molasses (that’s all in west Texas. Just kidding…kind of), no we don’t all wear cowboy hats and boots…but yes we do have funny words and a lot of people drive big trucks. Good news is the food is top notch…and sometimes the cowboys look hot in their Wranglers. 😉

Since I have been talking about what we are going to do while in Austin with some of my blogger friends, I have had a craving for some good TexMex food. I opened my very worn copy of Homesick Texan Cookbook and decided to make some Carnitas!

I switched up the recipe a little…and I wanted to use pineapple juice instead of orange juice. When I worked at Pappasitos back in high school, I learned that they marinate their meats in a mixture of soy sauce and pineapple juice. The pineapple juice does a great job of tenderizing the meat and so I decided to use it in my carnitas. I’m glad I did because they were divine!


Pork Carnitas

Yield: serves 6-8 people


  • 3 lb boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • About 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro
  • onion
  • lime wedges
  • Jalapeno Tabasco Sauce


Place the pork in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.

After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high heat and occasionally stir and turn the pork, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the pork fat.

Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently, only as needed. The more you stir, the more the meat will fall apart and shred.

When pork has browned and most of the fat has cooked off, it’s ready! Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.

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44 Responses to “Pork Carnitas”

  1. 1

    Amanda Mulholland — February 1, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    What does Cumin taste like? Is it a heavy spice?

    • Jessica replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

      It’s hard to describe, but I use it a lot in spanish cooking and soups. It’s a very tasty spice. It’s not expensive, just buy a bottle in the spanish section of Publix and try it out!

      Here’s a description: http://www.food.com/library/cumin-20

  2. 2

    shelly (cookies and cups) — February 1, 2013 @ 8:24 am

    My college roommate used to work at Pappasitos and she gave me some of the recipes that tey use…the pineapple juice marinade is a favorite in our house!
    Also, yes..Sea-mint…why can’t people pronounce it properly :)

  3. 3

    Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas — February 1, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Going to BlogHer Food this year will be my first time ever in Texas! I’m very excited. I’ve heard great things about Austin.

  4. 4

    Cookbook Queen — February 1, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    Living in Arkansas, I am sure you and I speak the same language. When I moved here, I was 15…the first time someone said I “favored” someone, I thought it meant that I was nice to them, not LOOKED LIKE them!! But now I find myself saying all the stuff I used to be confused by :)

    See you in Austin!!!

    • Jessica replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

      LOL! Yes that is another one. I never would have thought of it, but yes…Favored :)

  5. 5

    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — February 1, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    Hi Jessica! I recently got introduced to your blog by Purr Design and I am loving it!!

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious – throw some pickled red onions on top of those babies and I am sold!!

  6. 6

    Jess @ On Sugar Mountain — February 1, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    Ooo pineapple sounds like a nice way to switch the recipe up for sure! I’ve tried them only with OJ before. Have fun in Austin! – I’ll be stuck in lame NJ >_<

  7. 7

    Victoria V — February 1, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Haha, as a born and raised Texan, I love your examples. But you forgot “fixing to”! 😉 At my wedding rehearsal, my in-laws had coozies (sp?) made that said “Fixin’ to (State Verb of Texas) get hitched”. :)

    • Jessica replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

      Oh yes, I still say Fixin’ To. I tried switching to about to, but it just hasn’t stuck. :)

  8. 8

    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — February 1, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    These look incredible! I’d probably opt for the slow cooker though 😉

    • Jessica replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

      Ashley, because the liquid needs to cook off and then you have to literally fry off the fat, these can’t be made in the slow cooker.

      I mean, I’m sure they can, but they will not be the same.

  9. 9

    Diana @ Sweet y Salado — February 1, 2013 @ 11:42 am

    I use pineapple juice on my chicken marinades all the time, now I just have to try it on pork. Great recipe for Super Bowl Sunday foh sho! Oh, and at least you guys don’t call it “pop” which always drove me crazy. It’s soda! LOL :)

  10. 10

    Karly — February 1, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

    It’s sea-ment here. And I’ve had quite a few conniption fits in my day. :)

    Now, I have to ask…wouldn’t it be faster to just say Dr. Pepper, instead of going through the what kind of coke thing? I mean…why?! I don’t get it.

    And what happens if you really want a Coke. “I’ll take a Coke.” What kind? “Coke.”

    Weirrrrrrd, man.

    • Jessica replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

      Yes, we totally say, Coke. I don’t know why, it’s just how it is!

  11. 11

    Holly — February 1, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

    Is it pineapple or orange juice?? The recipe states Pineapple – the directions say orange juice??

    • Jessica replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

      I used Pineapple juice. When adapting it over from The Homesick Texan, I forgot to switch it back in the directions. It’s fixed now.

  12. 12

    MaryG — February 1, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

    Laughed pretty hard over your vocabulary lesson – my DH is from Texas, and even after a really long time in Southern California, still has some of that in him. I honestly thought he made up “tump”. He also still has odd pronunciations for theater (thee-AY-ter), ambulance (am-byoo-LANCE) and can’t (cain’t). But he lost y’all years ago. And lucky for him, the only coke he drinks is Coke, so he’s never disappointed in restaurants.

  13. 13

    angela @ another bite please — February 1, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

    i so love these types of flavors…i am eating some leftover texmex shredded pork & hominy (first time using) and love…your with the pineapple juice. lovin the sound of that..and ha ha i alwasy love hearing people talk with an accent…i am from WI and say Hey instead of Hi :-)

  14. 14

    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — February 1, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

    Love the pineapple juice idea!!! These look amazing. And I used to love Pappasito’s during the summer I lived in Dallas! :)

  15. 15

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — February 1, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

    I’ve never tried making carnitas, but I think I need to change that. These sure do look divine!

  16. 16

    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — February 1, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    I’ve never heard of tumped before – ever. But the others yes. And connitption fit – totally. Also – shredded meat is just so much more appealing than any other kind most of the time. Weird right?

  17. 17

    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 1, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

    Hey, I’m going to BlogHer Food this year too! I’d really love to get together for some dinner or drinks and meet you. I live in Austin already, so I’m so excited to have my blogging buddies coming to my city. Let me know if you’d like to meet up! Great carnitas recipe, too.

    • Jessica replied: — February 3rd, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

      Awesome! Of course we have to get together, between all the parities and what not, I’m sure we will have time to meet! :)

  18. 18

    Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking — February 1, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

    Who doesn’t know what a conniption fit is? Me and my mom say that all the time! I love pork… all kinds just sayin. The meat looks melt in your mouth ‘mazing!

  19. 19

    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — February 2, 2013 @ 1:33 am

    Don’t get me started with my Scottish accent and word differences, oy! I love Lisa’s book and used it for a bunch of meals!

  20. 20

    Katie from Katie's Cucina — February 2, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

    This recipes sounds so good and your Texan preparation for Blogher Food is just too darn funny. I can’t wait to get to Austin! I’ve been once before and ate like a mad women and plan to do the same thing in June!

  21. 21

    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — February 3, 2013 @ 10:24 am

    Oh Jessica these are DIVINE!!!

  22. 22

    Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs — February 3, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

    Jessica, this looks so good!! Love me some carnitas :)

  23. 23

    Cassie | Bake Your Day — February 4, 2013 @ 9:41 am

    I am drooling over these girl. Great flavors!!

  24. 24

    natalie@thesweetslife — February 4, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    I’m seeing carnitas everywhere lately and it is unleashing a craving!! Fitting since we just planned a trip to Austin for April, too!

  25. 25

    Lynette — February 4, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    I still blame my friend Jan from Texas for my pronunciation of: GAY-Raj (Garage) – and the refrigerator will always and forever be the Frigidator! Also, when she saw all the deer in the fields around our house, she commented “oh my, what a lot of derrr” (dur). I miss her! I will make these divine sounding carnitas and then call Jan and have a good chat!

  26. 26

    Diana — February 5, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

    Awww! I remember the Papasito days! :) I also remember our Failed sugar cookies lol. Oh where we started.

  27. 27

    Nikki @Pennies on a Platter — February 5, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

    So you’re able to make it to BHFood now!? Can’t wait to see you again!

  28. 28

    Tina | My Life as a Mrs — February 6, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    mouth. is. watering. You & Me + these + margaritas… girls weekend!!!! :)

  29. 29

    Patent box lad — February 7, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    These look so, so delicious :)

  30. 30

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — February 7, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

    Love the pineapple juice in here, bet it is delicious!
    Texas is one of the states I have never been too. Really trying to make it to Blogher Food in June!

  31. 31

    Michninja — February 10, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

    I adapted these carnitas for ground pork and let me say: BEST THING EVER. I was running around telling everyone – family, friends, the walls – how fantastic these are. Thank you. Especially for the pineapple juice tip.

  32. 32

    Marcie@FlavortheMoments — February 14, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

    These look awesome. This will be the first pork carnitas recipe for me — it looks like a winner!

  33. 33

    Rachel — March 1, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

    okay, this made me laugh so much. I am from Minnesota and my boyfriend is from Pennsylvania and we are now both displaced northerners in Oklahoma…

    1) I’m the same way in that I have largely lost my “Minne-sooo-ta” accent but I still use words/phrases that result in no one here knowing what the hell I’m talking about (“parking ramp,” anyone??), and,

    2) the “CE-ment” thing makes my bf and I laugh all the time, especially because in OK (not sure if it’s the same in TX) the “emphasize the first syllable” thing gets transferred to other words (“IN-surance”… or the other day when I honestly heard an older man at work say “they got CON-flicting RE-ports…”)

    but the great thing about being down here really is the abundant Tex Mex food… and these look delicious!!!

    • Jessica replied: — March 4th, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

      Haha! It’s fun to hear it from the other side! :-)

  34. 34

    roxanne pool — October 9, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

    I pinned this recipe to try when I brought it up a very triple xxx rated page came up over and over….. Not very happy about that and not sure why it would happen but thought someone better know—I would be extremely angry if my child had been looking up the recipe for me and that came up. When I tried to go back the xxx rated page just kept reloading until finally I hit the back button over and over after about 3 full mins of hitting the back button it finally went away. How do I prevent this from happening again?

  35. 35

    JJ — December 2, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

    Roxanne you might be infected with a virus, spyware, or other malware.

  36. 36

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