- 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder/butt cut into five pieces. You can trim off a little bit of the fat or leave it all on. (1.4 to 1.8 kg)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (7 ml)
- 1 teaspoon cumin (5 ml)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (5 ml)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, chopped or thinly sliced
- Water, for braising
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF (177 ºC).
- Mix together the salt, cumin and chili powder and rub all over the meat.
- Place the meat in a large, heavy pot with the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, garlic and onion. Ideally, the pot is large enough so that the meat is in a single layer. Add enough water to almost, but not entirely, cover the meat.
- Put the pot in the oven, uncovered, and braise for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Stir the meat just a few times while it cooks. You’ll know the pork is done when it’s really tender, slightly browned and most of the liquid is gone.
- Remove the pork from the oven. Put the meat on a cutting board and cut or shred it with your hands into thin strips.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf from the pot. Add the shredded meat back to the pot and return it to the oven.
- Roast the meat, mixing occasionally, until the meat is as dark and crispy as you like it. (This process will go even faster if the meat is spread out on a roasting pan or baking sheet with any remaining liquid that was left in the pot. If time is tight, you can also put the meat under a broiler).
- If you’re making carnitas ahead of time, cook the meat for 3 hours until tender. The final crisping up in the oven can be done right before serving the meat.