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May 14, 2018

Beer Braised Carnitas

These carnitas are braised in a broth of beer flavored with garlic, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and chiles.

Beer Braised Carnitas with limes

Carnitas, cut up pork shoulder braised with chiles and other spices, and then fried until crispy in their own fat, are a favorite Mexican dish, especially here in California.

What makes these carnitas a little different is that they are braised in beer rather than broth and lard. The resulting carnitas (little meats) are tender and flavorful. I used a heavily marbled pork butt (shoulder) for making these carnitas. The extra fat in the meat really helped the meat brown and crisp up at the end.

Beer Braised Carnitas with limes and salsa

You can make carnitas ahead of time and reheat when you are ready to serve. The meat is delicious served as a "plate" with limes, salsa, and avocado slices, with rice and beans. Carnitas tacos and burritos are also really tasty. These were also wonderful served with this grilled pineapple salsa.

For the beer in the braise, I used Sam Adams, but any full-bodied beer would work here. P.S. Enjoy the storekeeper's reaction when you are running in to buy a 24 ounce bottle of beer.

By the way guys! I am an Amazon influencer! This means I get to create a "store" of some of my favorite things. I kind of neglected it for a few months, but now I've started adding some of my favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. I'm still learning how to organize it. Please check out my page and let me know what you'd like to see!

carnitas, tacos, pork, recipe
Main course, Mexican Food
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Beer Braised Carnitas


  • 2 pounds of boneless pork butt/shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces full-bodied beer
  • Corn, peanut, or canola oil, if needed
  • Lime wedges, salsa, avocado, and/or tortillas for serving


  1. In a large Dutch oven, add the pork, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chile, and some salt and pepper. Add the beer and top with enough water to just cover the ingredients. 
  2. Over high heat, bring the liquid to a boil. Adjust the temperature so that the mixture is on a medium simmer, and partly cover with the pot lid. Cook for about an hour, until the meat is tender. Cool. 
  3. Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and chile and discard. Remove the pork and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Add the pork back into the pot, and cook it uncovered until all of the liquid has evaporated. Continue to cook until the meat has browned and has developed crisp edges. If there is not enough rendered fat from the meat, add a bit of oil to aid in the browning. 
  4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two days. 
This recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix: More Than 700 Simple Recipes and Techniques to Mix and Match for Endless Possibilities. Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm are cooking their way through the book, and I'm joining in as often as I can. I totally recommend this cookbook.

Beer Braised Carnitas with limes, salsa and tortillas

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your carnitas look delicious and now I am off to check out your Amazon page. I have never heard of an Amazon influencer.

    1. I used to have an Amazon store but they ended it. I'm still getting used to it!

  2. Wow! Those look delicious, Karen. Thanks for joining us. Off to look at your Amazon page, too.

  3. Your amazon page looks a lot like my kitchen... ;-)

    you are a big influencer alright... (wink wink)

  4. I was just eating Carnitas from a restaraunt last night, but yours look way more flavorful and moist! Thank you for linking up on our pork recipes party for Celebrate 365 blog Party!


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