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+ servings
carnitas on a board and then added to tortillas

Brown Sugar Carnitas

RecipeBoy.com (shared from the cookbook, Treasures of the Mexican Table)
Crisp on the surface, and tender, delicious meat on the inside!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 476 kcal



  • 6 to 7 pounds boneless pork butt and boneless country style ribs (use 4 to 5 pounds butt and 2 to 3 pounds ribs)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or more, to taste)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • ½ medium white onion, quartered
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 whole bay leaves


  • warm corn tortillas
  • pickled jalapenos
  • guacamole
  • salsa


  • Heat a large Dutch oven or large deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the pork, sprinkle with the salt, and cook, stirring and turning the pieces as they begin to render their fat, and scraping the bottom of the pot, for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the chunks of meat are lightly browned on all sides. Meanwhile, combine the water, orange juice, milk, brown sugar, onion and garlic in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the pureed mixture. Add the bay leaves and cover the pot. Cook, removing the lid to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot every 30 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender and nicely browned, about 1½ hours. It should come apart easily if you pierce it with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the carnitas, leaving the bay leaves and fat behind, and transfer to a bowl or platter. Shred the meat with a fork, if desired.
  • Serve with warm corn tortillas, pickled jalapenos, guacamole and salsa.


  • If you can't find boneless country ribs, you can use all pork butt.
  • Nutritional information is for the carnitas only.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 476kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 64gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 206mgSodium: 810mgPotassium: 1224mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 4mg
Keyword brown sugar, carnitas, pork
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