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 make this milk-braised pork carnitas recipe. The milk braising beforehand seems to give the meat a little extra succulence. The subtle sweetness from the orange is also very nice.

Chef John
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Season pork with pepper and salt.

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  • Heat oil in large pot over high heat. Working in batches, cook pork in the hot oil until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Return all cooked pork and accumulated juice to pot.

  • Season pork with bay leaves, cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir in fresh orange juice, orange zest, and milk. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is fork tender but not falling apart, about 2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

  • Remove pork from liquid. Skim some fat from the pot to grease a baking dish. Transfer the pieces of pork to the baking dish. Drizzle about 2 more tablespoons of the floating fat over the meat. Season with more salt, if needed.

  • Bake in preheated oven until pork is browned, about 15 minutes. Stir pork.

  • Turn on oven's broiler. Cook pork under broiler until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

Chef's 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.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

325 calories; 24.1 g total fat; 84 mg cholesterol; 805 mg sodium. 3.7 g carbohydrates; 22.4 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (69)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
05/21/2015
This is a winner! Perfect, tender, well seasoned and succulent...which is how carnitas should be. I used lard and I was a little more generous with the amount than Chef John's recipe. I suggest our favorite salad/relish to accompany this. Sliced carrots, thinly sliced onion, finely chopped jalapeno, and chopped cucumber and cilantro in an equal part of vinegar, water and sugar. The bright flavor offsets this beautifully! The only thing I would warn is that Chef John was not exaggerating when he advised a large pot. I used an 8 quart dutch oven and I had an unholy mess on my stove top. Use a BIG POT!! Thanks for another delish recipe Chef John! Read More
(19)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
06/29/2020
It was bland. Very disappointed Read More
90 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 78
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
05/21/2015
This is a winner! Perfect, tender, well seasoned and succulent...which is how carnitas should be. I used lard and I was a little more generous with the amount than Chef John's recipe. I suggest our favorite salad/relish to accompany this. Sliced carrots, thinly sliced onion, finely chopped jalapeno, and chopped cucumber and cilantro in an equal part of vinegar, water and sugar. The bright flavor offsets this beautifully! The only thing I would warn is that Chef John was not exaggerating when he advised a large pot. I used an 8 quart dutch oven and I had an unholy mess on my stove top. Use a BIG POT!! Thanks for another delish recipe Chef John! Read More
(19)
Rating: 5 stars
05/21/2015
This is a winner! Perfect, tender, well seasoned and succulent...which is how carnitas should be. I used lard and I was a little more generous with the amount than Chef John's recipe. I suggest our favorite salad/relish to accompany this. Sliced carrots, thinly sliced onion, finely chopped jalapeno, and chopped cucumber and cilantro in an equal part of vinegar, water and sugar. The bright flavor offsets this beautifully! The only thing I would warn is that Chef John was not exaggerating when he advised a large pot. I used an 8 quart dutch oven and I had an unholy mess on my stove top. Use a BIG POT!! Thanks for another delish recipe Chef John! Read More
(19)
Rating: 5 stars
02/28/2016
This was fantastic, though I have some questions...Are you supposed to add water to boil the pork? I just covered it after pouring in the milk. Also, O.J. and milk curdle. Is that what's intended? Read More
(12)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/08/2018
I used double the orange because I really wanted to taste it and I do taste it. After extracting the meat chunks I had this amazing gravy left over I’m not sure since it has boiled milk in it how a body will react but it tastes absolutely delicious. Because I want to not waste the gravy I have decided to put it over a bed of rice and eat the meat on top. I also scooped off some of the gravy and grease and used it on some iron skillet shaved brussels sprouts. My wife will not stop eating the chunks of meat and this is supposed to be next week‘s lunches for me she won’t stay away she loves it so much! Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
11/01/2017
I really enjoyed the carnitas! But I did take the advice of some one else who reviewed it and made a sauce out of the leftover juices adding a couple of canned chipotle chilis and a tablespoon of corn starch to thicken. I simmered it all together for about ten minute and then I put it all in the blender. I got compliments about the carnitas and raves about the sauce. I'm actual going to use this recipe and sauce to fill tamales. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
10/19/2015
love it!!! didnt have time so instead of baking used the pressure cooker. also added some garlic, just because we like it. the mix of milk, orange juice and the spices is simply SPECTACULAR. it will be on our menu from now on. thanks Read More
(6)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/25/2016
I haven't made this yet but assure you that I will soon!! Reading some of the previous comments made me glad that I had taken the time to WATCH Chef John's video. Aside from his delightful manner in explaining the cooking process he gives tips or reasons WHY he does things. I won't be scared of the milk curdling a bit...and can use that bit of milk that is in the expired carton!! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
10/14/2018
Everything Chef John does is incredible and this is no exception. My only notes... 1. Having a certain size to chop the pork in would be good. In the video he says any size is fine as long as they are all the same. I did mine probably 3x3 but it was a little big I think. 2. The milk does turn into strange little dots. I tried some (I know weird) because I was trying to take them out. They are creamy little things like ricotta (this is actually how you make ricotta!). After baking they dissappear. Don't worry about them! They probably help it crisp. 3. Oh geez... I can't remember. This is all lovely. Don't throw away the sauce it's made in it is so good. Just make this! You'll love it! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
01/07/2019
Loved it! Cooked it and I have to admit I was a little concerned when it came to the milk. I substituted the orange and added some extra sour orange juice. But once I was done my wife said it was the best pork I ever cooked! Added my cilantro avocado and some Roma tomatoes with a green sauce and placed it all in my flour tortilla and the rest was history. Thank you Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2016
Wow this was delicious. So tender. Husband raved. Will make again and again! Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
06/29/2020
It was bland. Very disappointed Read More