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Beef carnitas

Beef carnitas

We love beef carnitas. Now, just to clarify, pork carnitas are typical of the Michoacan state. Carnitas are the final product from frying the pork in its own fat in a copper pot. That same recipe using different spices, water and salt results in different types of carnitas.

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Mexican beef carnitas recipe

Today we teach you how to make beef carnitas. It is important to clarify that this recipe is made our own way, and it is not the original (per se) beef carnitas recipe.

Making carnitas in Mexico is such a ritual since is a dish with so much history behind it and very appreciated all across the country. To make them the typical way you would have to use certain utensils that may be hard to get. You may simply just want to make them the easy way. Which is why you can make our recipe two ways, in the oven or in a slow cooker.

How to make beef carnitas

We know that the original carnitas are made with pork in a specific way, but we also know that when we are home we want to cook using things we already have and in the easiest way we can.

Usually carnitas are eaten in tacos along with salsas, but you can also eat them on tostadas, in gorditas or tortas or even just like that on their own. The best is to eat them with a homemade corn tortilla. Eating tortillas is always a pleasure, with or without carnitas.

There are many recipes to make carnitas and I am pretty sure every family in Mexico actually has their own recipe depending on what they like and what they can find where they live, because in Mexico all moms make sure not to waste any food.

If you like this recipe you have to see our pulled pork recipe, it is just delicious.

Beef carnitas

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Refrigeration time 2 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6


  • 2.20 lbs (1 kg) Chuck roast beef
  • 1 tbsp (0.63 oz ) (18 gr) salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper , ground
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp chili flakes or chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 onion , white or pruple, cut in julienne
  • 1/2 C (4 fl oz) (120 ml) natural orange juice
  • 3 tbsp (1.58 oz) (45 gr) tomato sauce


  • In a small bowl, mix the salt with the rest of the spices. Cut the excess fat off the piece of meat and cover it with the spice mix, making sure to coat it all around. Cover the meat with kitchen plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Put a pan on the stove over medium high heat with some oil. Put the pice of meat on it to seal it all around. It will cook for about 2 minutes each side, until it turns golden brown.
  • From here on, the meat can be cooked in the oven or in a slow cooker. To make it in the slow cooker, put the meat in it, along with the onion, orange juice and tomato sauce. Cook over high level for about 3 to 4 hours or in the low setting for 7 to 8 hours until the meat comes apart easily with a fork.
  • To make the carnitas in the oven, preheat it to 302º F (150º C) and line a rectangular baking sheet with high walls parchment paper. Put the onion on the baking sheet and once the meat has sealed, put it on the same baking sheet along with the orange juice and tomato sauce.
  • Cover the baking sheet with aluminium foil and bake covered like that at 302º F (150º C) for 2 hours and a half. Then, take the aluminium foil off and bake for 1 and a half more hours (if the meat starts to overcook on top, turn it around).
  • Once the baking time has passed, pull apart the beef using a knife and a fork until you get bite size pieces or "strings".
  • Eat the carnitas in tacos, along with salsa or the way you prefer.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
How to make mexican beef carnitas

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We are Irmi and Andy.

We want to share with you our desire to eat life and some good donuts. All our recipes are made with love for you to enjoy and get inspired in the kitchen.

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