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California Carnitas with Green Sauce


My Mom has been making this Carnitas recipe for about 20 years now. It reminds me of childhood and summertime.  In the summer, my Mom, my sisters, and I go to the Trinity Mountains for a week. Mom always spends a whole day cooking this meal to enjoy outside with a fresh drink and the sounds of the Trinity River running by. It is a classic in our family and I am happy to share it with you. 

This carnitas recipe is always served with warm tortillas, the famous green sauce, and white rice.  I hope you enjoy it.  



  • 4 pounds skinless, boneless pork butt (pork shoulder-same thing)
  • 3-4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large orange , cut into 1/2" rounds leaving the peel on
  • 1 can Coca- Cola (Mexican coke is ideal)
  • Optional for additional flavors- Bay leaves, Mexican Oregano, garlic, sauteed onion


Rinse and pat dry pork with a paper towel. Cut pork into 1 in cubes (or have your butcher do this). 

Pour your coke into a large pitcher and add an equal amount of water. You will use this throughout the cooking process.

In a dutch oven or large pot, add pork, salt, pepper, sliced orange into a pan that is set over medium/high heat. Brown the pork a bit, 3-5 minutes. Then add a bit of your coke/water mixture so that there is 1-2 inches of liquid in the pan. Continue doing this as the liquid cooks down. You will see the pork changing color, shrinking, and cooking the fat off. This is what you want. After an hour and a half or so... when you have cooked and added all your coke/water mixture... 

Lower you heat so the liquid simmers under your pork. Maybe put a lid on your cast iron dutch oven.  Continue cooking for another 1-2 hours, stirring your pork, and until the pork is tender and shreds.

After a few hours, when your meat is done cooking, to crisp up your pork turn the heat up and let the meat caramelize as it cooks. Shred your meat with two forks as you do this. Taste meat to see if it needs some salt or other seasoning. 



  • Equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream (1 cup each)
  • Zest of 4 limes
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 4 bunches of cilantro
  • salt to taste

Zest your 4 limes into a blender, roll the limes on a table to loosen the juice and juice the limes into the blender, add your mayo and sour cream, cut off the ends of the cilantro that may look brown but leave the stems and place all 4 bunched in the blender. Blend until liquid and green. Taste for salt. Refrigerate sauce (Great for salads, fish, quesadillas, and many other meals)


Serve your carnitas with warm tortillas, rice, green sauce, fresh cilantro for garnish, avocado, maybe a limonada or margarita!  


 Carnitas after an hour...

 Green Sauce

 Finished product after 4 hours of cooking

 Buen Provecho

 y Salud.