Pork shoulder, Mexican Coca-Cola, and aromatics are cooked low and slow in the oven or on the stovetop for juicy and tender pork carnitas.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 1hour
Cook Time 3hours
Total Time 4hours
3poundspork shoulder or Boston butt pork roast
3teaspoonskosher salt, divided
2teaspoonsfreshly ground black pepper
1/2 cupcanola or vegetable oil
12 ouncesMexican Coca Cola
1/2yellow onion, thinly sliced
5-6long stripsorange peel, peeled with a vegetable peeler, plus the juice of the orange
6cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2dried bay leaves
small corn or flour tortillas
finely chopped onion
finely chopped cilantro
Cut the pork into large chunks, discarding any stringy connective tissue. Season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of the black pepper. Add the oil to a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on the stove and bring to medium high heat. Sear the pork in two batches, turning the pieces every 4-5 mintues until golden on both sides. Add all of the pork to the pan, turn off the heat and let the oil cool slightly. Slowly add the Mexican Coca-Cola and the water watching for hot splatters. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, skimming off and discarding any scum that rises to the top.
Add the onion, orange peel, smashed garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and remaining kosher salt and stir to combine. Add more water if needed to cover the pork completely.
If cooking on the stove, cover 3/4 of the way with a lid and cook at a lightly rolling simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until the pork is super tender and falls apart easily. Cooking time will vary so plan ahead. Add more water if the pot begins to dry.
If cooking in the oven, preheat to 325°F, cover the oven-safe pot with a lid, and cook for 3 hours or until the pork is super tender and falls apart. Again, cooking time will vary. Add more water 3/4 of the way through if the pot begins to dry.
Transfer the cooked pork to a baking sheet and reserve the cooking liquid if desired. If you'd like, cook the liquid longer to reduce and thicken then use as a dipping sauce for the carnitas. Once the meat is cool enough to handle, shred with a fork or your fingers.
Before serving, crisp the pork in the oven. Arrange the top oven rack so it’s about 4 inches below the heating element. Place the pork on a sheet pan under the broiler on low for 3 minutes. Toss it around and place back under the broiler for about 3 minutes more. Tent carnitas with foil to keep warm while you prepare tortillas or other fixings.
Serve the carnitas in warmed corn or flour tortillas with diced onion, cilantro, salsa verde, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.