Beer-braised pork carnitas

Beer braised pork carnitas with all the trimmings. Photograph: Donal Skehan

Beer braised pork carnitas with all the trimmings. Photograph: Donal Skehan

Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 05:00

  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 150 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serves 4
  • 1.5kg pork shoulder, boneless, skin removed and reserved, cut into 10cm pieces
  • 3 chipotle chillies
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 400ml lager beer
  • Sea salt
  • For the pico de gallo:
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • A good handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Tabasco, optional
  • Sea salt
  • To serve:
  • Toasted corn tortillas
  • Lime wedges
  • Avocado slices
  • White cabbage, finely shredded
  • A good handful coriander


Traditionally, pork carnitas are braised in pork lard, but purists will have to excuse my slightly simplified version here which uses beer to slow braise a pork shoulder until it is tender. My version also makes use of the skin by crisping it in the oven and then roughly chopping it and mixing it with the pork shreds.

Place the pork shoulder, chillies, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, orange juice, beer and a generous amount of sea salt in a large pot with a lid. If the pork is not covered, top up with water. Put on the lid, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the pork is tender and almost falling apart.

Remove the lid and simmer until the liquid completely evaporates, stirring regularly. Keep cooking and stirring until the pork becomes browned and shredded. Take it off the heat, cover with a lid and keep it warm.

Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius/Gas 5.

Slice the pork shoulder skin into pieces, place them on a baking tray and season generously with sea salt. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove and allow to cool before breaking up into pieces with a knife.

For the pico de gallo, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with sea salt – add a dash of Tabasco if it needs more heat.

Serve the pork with corn tortillas piled high with lime wedges, avocado slices or guacamole, crispy pork skin, shredded cabbage and coriander.