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Carnitas (Pork Nuggets)

1/3 c Lard OR; vegetable oil
4 lb Lean boneless pork butt or leg; cut into 1 in. pieces
Salt; to taste
Freshly ground black pepper; to taste
Zest of 1 or 2 oranges, finely chop
3/4 c Fresh orange juice


In a large, heavy Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of the lard or oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add about one third of the pork (just enough to fit in one layer). Season lightly with salt and pepper and scatter one third of the orange zest over it. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the pork is browned and crisp on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the meat to a large bowl and reserve. Cook the remaining pork in two batches in the same manner, adding another 1 or 2 tablespoons of lard if necessary.


Drain off the excess fat from the Dutch oven; return the browned meat to the pan, add the orange juice, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to coat the meat on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze, 10 to 15 minutes. While the orange juice is reducing, preheat the oven to 300. Bake, tightly covered, until the meat is very tender but chewy, about 40 minutes.


Drain off the fat that has accumulated and serve the Carnitas hot, with flour or corn tortillas and any kind of salsa. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


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