Carnitas – Round Two

Mexican CarnitasThe Mexicans got it right in a lot of ways. There is no doubt about their cooking style and ingredients. Some of my favorite food is Mexican food, and I realize that I have only skimmed the surface when it comes to eating their cuisine. I am a sucker for a great taco, in fact, I have actually been dreaming of opening a taco truck, and compete with the best of them in Milwaukee. Seriously.

As I have made carnitas in the past, I recently heard about cooking your pork shoulder in milk, and a can of coca cola. As many might hear that, they might cringe, but I actually got excited when I heard milk and coca cola. The sugar from the soda would add a sweetness, while the milk would break down the proteins. Genius. I had to give it a try.

While working with a big old pork should this past weekend, I thought I would break it down and do two dishes for the week; Char Siu, and Carnitas. After all, my wife loves my original carnitas, and I was not going to far from that recipe, only to add a couple of more touches.  While I thought I nailed it down when I made burritos some time ago, my wife was amazed with the first batch of carnitas, that my round two of carnitas rocked her world. Sweet, with a touch of heat, the texture and flavor is really out of this world, no doubt about it. Give it try. Perfect for a Sunday meal, and one that will carry you with leftovers throughout the week (If they make it that far!).


  • 2 lbs of pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp of Mexican oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, whole
  • 1 can of 7-up or coca cola
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • water to cover
  • corn tortillas
  • red onion, minced
  • cilantro, chopped

Begin by adding your salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano, and paprika into a large bowl and mix well. Add in your pork shoulder, coating all of your pieces of pork. To a large pot, add the vegetable oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Let it heat up for a few minutes as we want a nice hot oil as we are going to brown all sides of the pork. Cook for a few minutes on each side until you have achieved a nice brown on the sides of the pork. Next, add the cola, sugar, milk, and garlic, and mix well. Add the bay leaves, and top with water, just to cover the pork. Give it another mix, cover, and let this cook for about 3 hours on the stove, on low heat.

When you are about done, remove the cover, remove the whole peppers and bay leaves. Use a fork and shred the pork. This is really simple as it pretty much just falls apart. Once shredded, turn up the heat, and cook down until all of the sauce has cooked into the meat. You are ready to roll now.

Get your tortillas warmed, top with the carnitas, adding red onion and fresh cilantro to the top. Watch out, these are addicting. I hope you enjoy.

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  • Elle

    My boyfriend and I have made these carnitas about 5 times now. Delicious recipe!! Thank you for sharing on the interwebs.

  • Pam Woolbright

    This porky goodness is simmering on the stove right now. And what aromas! I substituted a can of beer for the Coke, but otherwise I’m sticking with your recipe all the way, Dax. Since we relocated from the land of tornadoes (AKA Oklahoma) to Santa Fe, we’ve been enjoying many Latino style recipes. I’m buzzing over to the tortillieria now! Thank you and keep those great recipes coming.

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