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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes

Pati Jinich Carnitas


Serves: 8



Half a white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups water

6 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch cumin

4 whole cloves, stems removed

1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon lard, vegetable shortening or oil

4 to 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 4-inch chunks, fat on!

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

2 bay leaves

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons La Lechera sweetened condensed milk

To Prepare

In the jar of a blender, place the water, onion, garlic cloves, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, cumin, stemmed whole cloves and 1 tablespoon salt. Puree until smooth.

Set a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Add the lard (or vegetable shortening or oil), and once it has heated up, add the pork chunks and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Brown the meat on all sides, stirring and flipping as each side browns, about 10 minutes.

Pour the onion mixture over the meat, let it come to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in the orange juice and sweetened condensed milk, add the 2 bay leaves, and give it a good stir. Let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to low and cover.

Cook covered, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the casserole 2 to 3 times along the way, until the meat is completely cooked and coming easily apart if you pull one piece, about one hour and a half. Remove the lid, cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Scoop out the carnitas with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat behind, and serve in a bowl or platter. Shred with a fork, if desired, before tucking into tacos. Or do like we do, serve straight from the pot.

Serve with warm corn tortillas and pickled jalapeños or salsa verde cruda on the side.


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Hi Pati-

This is Donna your former neighbor on Warren St. So happy to have discovered your show (actually Kip did) on WETA. I watched today and cannot WAIT to make the Carnitas and Salsa Verde. I remember well your love of cooking. I am thrilled to see you doing this! You are a star!

Donna!!!! So happy to chat with you here and so happy you found me!!! I hope you enjoy the carnitas, our boys LOVE them. Many hugs to the kids and to Kip!

Hola pati ,oyes de verdad esa fruta d gaspacho esta rica por q , xacon el queso y cebolla se mira medio raro ?

Esta DELICIOSA, Veronica, pruébala!

Hola Pati-
I just saw your show it was great. I grew up in Tucson Arizona near Nogales Mexico border and had never heard of the real gaspacho. I only knew of the cold soup. I live in Houston now. I cant wait until summer to make the real gaspacho. It looks heavenly. Where can I find the red Chile hotsauce you put on top beside the sprinkles?
Thanks keep writing these great authentic recipes!
Love them!

Gracias Dina! Any Latin grocery store or even some Latin aisles of mainstream stores… last resource: online!


On your show about Carnitas you visited some brothers in Mexico. I think their name was Carmela. One of then said they had a restaurant in Houston TX. My son lives there and I wanted to give him the name but I couldn’t read what was on their apron. Do you know the name of their place in Houston?


Yes! Barb, they are called “The Carmelo Brothers” and their food is out of this world.

Hola Pati, YOU are my favorite mexican food chef. This particular eamily fiesta is my favorite combination of recipes for a get together. Am moving from Idaho to Seguin, TX March 1st and this is the first meal I plan to cook for my daughters family and friends for my housewarming opportunity to invite my neighbors! Thank you for all your dedication and thanks to Danny for encouraging you to dive into your passion for cooking :)

Hola Consuelo, gracias! I CANNOT believe you are moving to Seguin, I was just reading all about Juan Seguin, as research for an article I wrote on Tex MEx Foods for the Washington Post… Hope you have an easy move and I hope you all enjoy the carnitas!

Hi, Pati

I saw your show on PBS this morning. I’ve made carnitas several times before and in several ways. I plan on trying your method tomorrow. I have heard about using condensed milk but haven’t tried it.

I’m curious though why you bother to puree the onion and spices rather than simply putting them in the pot with the pork.

Hi Dan,
It makes for a very nice and tasty simmering liquid that condenses as the meat cooks and let’s off its juices, making a form of natural gravy.

I made your version of carnitas last night, and I must say, Pati… they excel! I think they could have been better if I had put them under the broiler for a few minutes at the end to crisp them up a bit more, but the flavor was the best of any I have made.

So glad to hear! You know, you can also let them brown a bit more in the pot, raise the heat in the end for a few minutes and let them sear for a bit if they haven’t browned enough to your liking. Much depends on pot you are using and heat under it.

Hi pati I am a long time fan. My question is how do you make your chile Pequot powder? Do you just grind the dry chilies? And do they store we’ll for a long time. Can I add salt to the grind?

Hi Mariya,
Thanks for writing! Yes, they last a long time if you store them in a place that is not too humid or sunny. I like to lightly toast them first, before grinding. You ca use a comal or skillet set over medium heat and need to toast them for a few minutes, stirring, making sure they don’t burn. And yes! You can of course add salt and even sugar to the mix!

Hi, just saw this episode. I’m in Houston and will try to visit Carmelo’s today!! Thanks Patti!

Send me a photo Robert!

I just saw this episode. Can you tell me the name of the Carmelo Brothers restaurant that is in Houston please?

They are also called Carmelo Brothers!

Hi, I went to Carmelo’s Mexican Grill southwest of Houston yesterday but it is not of these Carmelo’s. Like the others I cannot find anything from the brothers in Houston or anywhere else. Bummer!

Alas, I can’t find a listing for them in Houston on Google.

I’m also in Houston and can’t find the Carmelo Brothers online either… Anyone have any luck locating the restaurant here?

The only Carmelo brothers I can find is in Katy but this does not seem correct either! I would love to find them if anyone can help! Thank you!

Hola Adriane, Looks like they have something here:

The website seems to be dead.

Simply delicious!!!
Made this tonight for supper along with the tortilla soup
Thanks so much for sharing your recipes.

Thank you, Lauri, for giving them a try!

Pati, I’ve had carnitas before, but this is the first time I’ve made it myself. I had to leave out the condensed milk, but this was still MUCH better than any carnitas I’ve had in a restaurant. Thank, thank you!!

Saw your show on PBS. Normally the recipes look so complicated on cooking shows that I don’t even bother, but this one looks like a keeper and uses regular ingredients. I could practically smell the carnitas through the TV! Can’t wait to try the recipe, especially with the sweetened condensed milk!

Gracias y mucha suerte!

I guarantee you will love it, Greg!

Loved the carnitas episode. I am trying to find the carnitas carmelo’s restaurant in Houston with no luck. Their website is under construction. Any chance that you have the address? Would greatly appreciate the help.

Hola Mabel, Unfortunately, I’ve only found the same site under construction; I’ve visited them in Mexico.

Hi Pati,I saw your carnitas show, and everything looked great! I also got to see your boys-how handsom they are! Pati-I grew up watching my grandfather and uncles cooking carnitas, and even my mother too,and carnitas were always cooked in lard as you well know,and never adding anything else, but when I saw you putting sweetened condensed milk, I cringed, wondering what does it do to the meat, and will the carnitas have that sweet taste of the milk? can you please explain what it does to the meat, I’m willing to try it.

Sweetened condensed milk is a well kept secret in many homes in central Mexico for making carnitas. It is used very sparingly along with orange juice and it adds a very light layer that caramelizes and tenderizes the meat as it cooks: you won’t believe how good it is until you try it!

Hello Pati,

I love watching your cooking show. The passion you have for food comes through in each episode and is inspiring to me to try your mouth watering recipes.

Kindest regards,

Kay, Thank you so much!!

Hi Pati! Should my Carnitas be so soupy? I don’t remember yours looking so soupy, We can’t wait to eat tonight! We love the joy you bring to cooking!

Hola Suzy, Thank you for your message! Much of the liquid should cook out — and you’ll want to scoop the meat out with a slotted spoon when it’s finished cooking. I hope you enjoy.

Hi Patt I love your recipes , I tried your carnitas and they came out wonderful my family really loved them, I will be making them for Cinco DE Mayo on my daughters 18th birthday, keep the recipes coming thank you

Yay! Thank you!!

Hi Pati!

I made your carnitas yesterday and my husband fell in love with them when he opened the front door and smelled them cooking- and even more so on the plate. Absolutely delicious!!! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us- we both love watching your show on Create!

Have a Blessed Easter!!

I am so happy your husband fell for the Carnitas!! We ADORE them at home. Thanks for tuning in to watch my show!


I love your show! I made this entire menu today for Easter. We were tired of ham. :-) Everyone loved it! My husband, who bakes, also made your Tres Leches cake for dessert which was awesome.

The only thing I added was shrimp quesidillas for an appetizer.

Thanks for putting out such a great show!


Barbara, so happy to hear! Love the idea of shrimp quesadillas, yum.

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