Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner so begins my first week of festive dishes to make. Of course Cinco de Mayo is not the only time of year to make tacos and margaritas. I personally believe in a monthly celebration of tacos and margaritas so be sure to make these year round!



I have never met a taco I didn’t like but these carnitas tacos just might be the best I’ve ever made. This recipe starts with a big ole’ hunk of pork shoulder that almost looks too good to cut up (almost).


While this recipe does take about 2 ½ hours to make, it is well worth it. You don’t really have to baby the meat while its cooking, you only need to check on it occasionally to make sure there is still enough to water in the pot.



When the pork is finished cooking and ready to eat you can either leave it in chunks or shred it up. Either way is delicious! Shredding it is my preferred method as it makes the pork perfect for more than just tacos (e.g., sandwiches, nachos). For these tacos all I added was a little fresh pico de gallo, cilantro, sliced radishes, and queso fresco. Feel free to add whatever toppings you want!




Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes


  • 3 lbs pork shoulder
  • 7 strips orange zest
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, minced (keep in the seeds for more heat)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
  • corn tortillas, for serving
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • pico de gallo, sliced radishes and cotija cheese for serving, if desired


  1. Trim any thick fat from the surface of the pork. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes, discarding any that are pure fat.
  2. Put pork in a larg pot and add water to cover meat by 1 inch. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer.
  3. Using a skimmer, skim off any fat scum that forms on the surface.
  4. Add in orange zest, garlic, chopped onion, red pepper flakes, jalapeño, cumin, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, oregano, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt.
  5. Simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours, until pork is very soft; add water if necesarry to keep meat submerged.
  6. Season with additional salt to taste, then continue to cook until water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. (If there is still a lot of water drain some of it out but we sure not to get rid of any of the onion/seasoning mixture).
  7. Cook for a little longer to fry the meat slightly; cook longer if you prefer crispier meat. Stir often and add a bit of water if meat sticks or seems about to burn.
  8. Remove bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and any large zest pieces.
  9. Add in adobo sauce. Using a handheld mixer on medium-low speed, beat meat in pot to shred (if you don't want shredded meat skip this step).
  10. Spoon a few tablespoons of carnitas onto each tortillas. Top each taco with cilantro, cheese and pico de gallo. Serve.
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