Orange & Milk Braised Pork Carnitas – Apparently for Cinco de Mayo

It must have been the subliminal beer and liquor advertising that got me, because I wasn’t even thinking about Cinco de Mayo when I decided to film this milk-braised pork carnitas recipe. 

It’s pretty hard to make a bad batch of oven-fried pork chunks, no matter what method you use, but the milk braising beforehand seems to give the meat a little extra succulence.

The subtle sweetness from the orange is also very nice, but I wanted more, so upped the amount below. As I mentioned in the video, you always want to use these ingredient amounts, and not necessarily what you see in the video. Especially when I’m trying something for the first time, I’ll go kind of light on the ingredients and then adjust here if I think it needs little more or less of something.

By the way, proper carnitas are much “richer,” and by that I mean much fattier. The chunks of meat are crisped in a caldron of pork fat, and copious amounts of this insanely delicious stuff sticks to the meat as it’s chopped or smashed. So, feel free to use more than I did during the oven step, and enjoy something even more flavorful.

You’ll probably use these for tacos, but rumor has it, if you smash them up, and mix in some of your favorite barbecue sauce, they make incredible pulled pork style sandwich.  And don’t even get me started on how amazing these are fried up with some eggs in the morning. I hope you give this carnitas recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 8 portions Orange & Milk Braised Pork Carnitas:
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2  cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest peeled from 1 large orange
2 cups whole milk

Note: You can strain and reduce the cooking liquid if you want, and do "wet" tacos by adding some of the juice to chopped meat.