Green Chile Carnitas – Barefeet in the Kitchen


Green Chile Carnitas are the perfect combination of two of my favorite savory things. It’s tough to find a combo that beats pork and green chile in my mind.

Carnitas are cooked until melt in your mouth tender; then roasted at high temperature until the edges caramelize.

Green chile pork on baking sheet

Green Chile Carnitas

Deliciously seasoned pork carnitas are something we make as often as possible. Carnitas are delicious on their own but they become the star of so many dishes from salads to tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and countless other meals.

The crispy chopped bits of pork make the most delicious tacos. The meat is already full of flavor and perfect when topped with cilantro, onion, cheese, lime, and pico de gallo.

The beauty of this recipe is you can use the pork shoulder or a pork butt. I love finding them on sale at the grocery store and turning them into carnitas of all kinds.

My usual go-to recipe for carnitas is unique as it does not use traditional Mexican spices, but is deliciously flavored with citrus, onions, and salt and pepper.

pork on sheet pan with black and white towel

Green Chile Pork

You’ll need these ingredients to make this recipe:

  • boneless pork shoulder or butt roast 
  • onion 
  • ground cumin
  • granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped green chile
  • chicken stock
  • lime wedges for serving
  • fresh cilantro for serving
Green Chile Pork

Start by cutting the large roast into chunks 3-4 inches in size. Cutting the roast into small pieces gives you more surface area for the green chile sauce and seasonings to flavor. The small pieces will also cook in less time than if you left the roast whole.

Dutch Oven Carnitas

It really starts with one simple step: Dump all ingredients into the pot with the pieces of pork roast. Then bring the ingredients up to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Place the covered pot or dutch oven into the oven that has been preheated to 300°F. Then walk away for 2 hours. When you come back to the oven after 2 hours you will find fork-tender falling apart chunks of pork.

Resist the urge to shred the pork. Instead, use a slotted spoon or tongs to carefully transfer the pork to a foil-lined baking sheet.

pork with green chile before broiling

Pulled Pork Dutch Oven

Preheat the oven to broil. Over high heat on the stovetop, reduce the remaining liquids left in the pot. You want it all to thicken and cook it down until there is about one cup remaining.

After the liquid is reduced, pull the pork pieces into 3-4 pieces from each chunk. Place those pieces into the liquid and give them a little stir to coat.

Return the coated pieces of green chile pork to the baking sheet. Broil the pork chunks for 6-8 minutes or until the exterior becomes slightly crispy.

Remove from the oven and the pork is ready to serve. At this point, it is always impossible for me to resist sneaking a piece or two off of the pan.

pork bites on sheet pan
Freezer Directions

To make this ahead of time, skip the broiling step. After a quick bath back in the liquid, sometimes I go ahead and freeze the green chile pork in one-pound packages for future use.

When ready to eat the pork, thaw the pork in the refrigerator and then spread it out and crisp it on a baking sheet in the oven.

crispy pork carnitas on baking sheet

Pulled pork or carnitas in the dutch oven or slow cooker is the perfect meal on its own or as an ingredient in your favorite recipe.

An abundance of southwestern spices infuse this Green Chile Pulled Pork as it simmers in the Crock-Pot. The pork stays amazingly moist and juicy and the flavors are awesome together.

For about 7 years now I’ve been making carnitas using this recipe for oven-roasted Pulled Pork Carnitas, and they are truly phenomenal that way too.

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Servings: 10

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine all the ingredients in a dutch oven or a large pot with an oven-safe lid. Bring the pot to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the pot is simmering, move the covered pot to the oven and cook for about 2 hours, until the meat is fork-tender and almost falling apart.

  • Remove the pot from the oven and preheat the oven to broil. Use a slotted spoon or a set of tongs to remove the meat from the pot and place it on a large foil-lined baking sheet. Place the pot over high heat on the stove, for about 10-20 minutes. Boil it until the liquid is thick and syrup-like. There should be about 1 cup of liquid left in the pot.

  • While the liquid is boiling and reducing, use tongs or a pair of forks to very gently pull each piece of pork into 3-4 pieces. Avoid shredding the pork at this point, it will be very tender. Once the liquid has become thick and syrup-like, remove it from the heat and place the pork back into the pot with the liquid. Gently fold the pieces into the liquid and try not to break them up further.

  • Transfer the coated pork back onto the baking sheet, spreading it in just one layer across the pan. Place the baking sheet back in the oven on the same lower middle shelf. Broil for 6-8 minutes, until the meat is quite browned and slightly crispy on the edges.

  • Remove from the oven and use your tongs or a large spatula to flip over each piece. Return the pan to the oven and broil the other side for 6-8 minutes, until both sides are well-browned and the edges are crisp. Serve warm, with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of cilantro, if desired.

Calories: 248kcal · Carbohydrates: 3g · Protein: 42g · Fat: 7g · Saturated Fat: 2g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 3g · Trans Fat: 0.03g · Cholesterol: 110mg · Sodium: 421mg · Potassium: 751mg · Fiber: 0.5g · Sugar: 1g · Vitamin A: 22IU · Vitamin C: 6mg · Calcium: 24mg · Iron: 2mg

carnitas with green chile


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