Carnitas with Sauteed Sweet Peppers

Carnitas is one of my family’s favorite meals. The pork is ultra tender, flavorful, and super simple to make!

Carnitas recipe from

You’re going to want to hold on to this baby. My family LOVES this recipe!!

Carnitas, literally “little meats”, is braised or roasted pork in Mexican cuisine. It is essentially pork pot roast – a chunk of inexpensive heavily marbled shoulder meat braised in a Le Creuset French oven until it falls apart. The pork is absolutely fantastico…tender, flavorful, and so super simple to make.  I’m confident that nobody could mess up this recipe for Carnitas with Sautéed Sweet Peppers!

Carnitas recipe from

“Carnitas Night” is one of my family’s all-time favorite home cooked gatherings. Our oldest daughter, Hatti, has even begged to stay home from school on days that I’m making this, saying she wants to smell it cooking all afternoon.  :)

Carnitas recipe from

We hosted our latest Carnitas Night last evening, inviting some friends over for an early Cinco de Mayo celebration.  There were plenty of warm tortillas to fill with carnitas and other goodies – sautéed sweet peppers, pickled red onions, guacamole, cilantro, and a variety of salsas.  Fresh lime wedges were abundant, too, as a squeeze of that bright and lively acidity makes the whole combination burst in your mouth.

Taste buds were groovin’.

Carnitas recipe from

We like to serve this meal with tortillas or taco shells, but this tender seasoned pork is also great simply over rice or over fresh greens for a great Mexican salad.

And I can’t help but mention that Margaritas are entirely optional with this meal, but highly recommended.

Carnitas with Sautéed Sweet Peppers

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • One 4 to 5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt)

  • kosher salt

  • 1 T. vegetable oil

  • 3 c. low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 white or yellow onion, peeled & quartered

  • 1 T. dried oregano leaves

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. paprika

  • 4 sweet bell peppers – I like 1 each of green, red, orange and yellow

  • 1 T. butter

  • 1 T. olive oil


Remove the meat from the refrigerator an hour before starting to cook. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle lightly all over with salt.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a 5 to 7 quart French oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot and starts to shimmer, add pork. Cook until nicely browned and then turn, repeating that same process until all sides are browned. Add broth, onion, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Turn heat up a bit to bring liquid to a boil. Then spoon some of the hot liquid over the top of the meat. Place the cover on and transfer to preheated oven. Cook until meat is literally falling apart, about 4 hours, spooning liquid over meat once or twice during cooking.

About half an hour before the meat will be done, prepare the sweet peppers. Cut into long slices, about 1/4″ wide or so. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the peppers, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, letting them soften up. Then turn up the heat to medium-high. Let the peppers start to darken and char, stirring every couple minutes. When peppers reach your desired doneness, remove pan from heat. Transfer peppers to serving dish.

When the pork has finished cooking, remove pot from the oven and place on stove top. Transfer meat to a platter. With a large spoon, push meat off the bone in chunks; discard bone and any large pieces of fat. Put meat back in pot and turn on heat to medium-high; cook, stirring to break it up with a spoon, until liquid in pot has almost entirely evaporated and meat begins to sizzle and caramelize, 5 to 10 minutes (the meat should pull into shreds very easily as you work). Serve with small (taco or fajita size) warm tortillas, the sauteed peppers, and your choice of condiments. A great alternative is to skip the tortillas and serve everything over white rice.

Adapted from Braises and Stews by Tori Ritchie  (a really great cookbook, by the way – it’s my winter kitchen “bible”)


Carnitas recipe from

Photography was updated on this post April 2016.