Buttoni's Low-Carb Recipes

Pork Carnitas

Posted on: January 21, 2019

Slow-cooked & fork-tender!

I’ve been meaning to make some carnitas for some time so I recently bought some pork tenderloins on sale so that’s what I used to make these for dinner tonight.  Of course, you can use fattier cuts of meat, like pork butt or shoulder roast (some people actually prefer the fattier cuts for this recipe).  Your choice on cut.  carnitas (wrapped ready to eat!)

This recipe can be done in your oven on low temp (275º-300º), in a roaster oven low setting, in your crock pot, just as you would any slow-cooked roast or pulled pork recipe.  I actually like to cook mine stove-top, in a lidded stew pot, on the lowest burner setting.  Any method will render fork-tender, delicious shredded meat for eating in flour tortillas with your favorite sides.  I just had a guacamole salad on the side; the hubs spooned his guac right into his tortillas along with the meat filling!  Made them a little messier to eat, but that didn’t slow him down.  These were delicious!One filled me up; the hubs had two.

This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, but if still on Induction, you need to sub in meat broth for the wine.


½ c. fresh-squeezed orange juice

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lemon

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. fresh spearmint, chopped (optional)

¼ c. cilantro, chopped (omit if you’re not a fan)

¼ dried ancho chili pepper, seeded & chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed (or 1 T. fresh chopped)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 T. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

6 oz. white wine (omit if still on Atkins Induction)

¼ tsp. chili powder

1/3 c. olive oil

OPTIONAL:  ½ tsp. sea salt, but I like the sweet edge of the citrus and didn’t use any

DIRECTIONS:  Use with this sauce, your choice of pork tenderloin, boneless pork loin, pork shoulder or butt roast.  Heat olive oil in a stew pot on high heat.  Sear your pork (whole) on all sides until brown.  Add rest of ingredients to the pot.  When it comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and tightly lid the pot.  Simmer for 3-4 hours or until meat is falling off the bones or a fork slides right into it easily.  Check every hour and add a bit of water to the pot if all your liquid is cooking away too fast before meat is fork tender and fully done.  Remove from heat and set meat on a cutting board or platter.  Using 2 forks, pull the meat off the bone, separating into shreds.  Slide the meat shreds back into your pot and stir well to coat with remaining juices/sauce.  Serve at once with warm low-carb flour tortillas (I use HEB’s “Carb Sense”) and a nice guacamole salad.  I like to serve some chopped lettuce, tomato and fresh cilantro at table as well.  Cilantro (if you like it) is really good added right before eating.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes about 1 cup sauce or 16 tablespoons.  Each 2 T. serving of sauce (sauce only!) contains:

FYI:  2 oz. pork will add about 5g. fat, 115 cals and 16g protein.  My HEB tortillas are 3 net carbs each.

116 cals, 9.1g fat, 5.11g carbs, 0.48g fiber, 4.63g NET CARBS, 0.57g protein, 4.37 mg sodium (more if you add the optional salt)

6 Responses to "Pork Carnitas"

My experience is that pork tenderloins/boneless pork USUALLY does not shred easily. Is the picture above the pork tenderloin *that you said you used), or a different type of pork roast?

Pictured rendering was with a pork tenderloin, as stated in the narrative. Using pork butt or shoulder will result in juicier results, because they are marbled with considerable fat (which will alter taste a bit as well), but if the meat is cooked long enough, covered so as to retain moisture, it will shred easily. If under-cooked, ANY of the 3 cuts will be difficult to shred. That is directly related to cooking time and environment (moisture from being covered during cooking). I would recommend trying to fork off a little meat to check. If not flaking off easily, cook your piece a bit longer until it flakes off with ease on the surface. My experience with both beef and pork, “done” does not necessarily mean “tender” yet. 🙂

Is this a recipe for the seasoning alone? I know you mentioned the pork in your comments, but is there a quantity associated with it? Is it supposed to be cut up before browning? Left as a whole pork shoulder roast? I assume the latter, since you mention a bone, but then you also said you used tenderloins…..

The recipe is for the sauce alone. You’ll have to add in the tortilla carbs plus whatever meat you use (for the amount you eat in each wrap). Yes, you use the WHOLE roast or WHOLE tenderloin(s). Larger pieces of meat or roasts will naturally take longer to cook to the shred-tender stage. Then the meat is shredded up and stirred back into the pan sauce before serving.

Perfect! Thanks for your many many delicious recipes…I’m always happy to find variations on my favorites — and carnitas is definitely one–probably thanks to being a fellow Texan. 🙂

Glad to clarify, Jan. And thank you for being a regular visitor!

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