Stovetop Citrus Carnitas (Paleo)

Spring is here!  & It's got me in the mood for fresh flavors & taco salads.  :D

Carnitas have been on my list of things to create for quite some time now.  I know that there's many recipes out there, but I'm always looking to put my own spin on things to make them simple, convenient, & extra flavorful!  

Part of that convenience, for me, was creating carnitas from pork tenderloin.  I know most recipes call for pork shoulder (or "pork butt")~ but tenderloin seems more readily available to me.  I love that I can buy a giant two-pack of pork tenderloin at Costco, or pick it up at whatever grocery store I'm near without having to look too hard.  It's lean, and super versatile if you know how to prepare it.  & I'm all about versatility and convenience when it comes to cooking!

Don't be afraid of the "lean" factor here... the carnitas are not too dry!  I use chicken broth for moisture and flavor (bone broth is even better for the extra nutrients), and fresh orange juice for a slightly sweet, citrusy taste that's not too bitter.  Lime juice comes in at the end to give it an extra burst of flavor that perfectly compliments the smoky cumin & sweet orange.

Give this a shot & let me know what you think!  Also, feel free to sub pork shoulder if that's what you prefer.  The recipe would work for either cut of meat!


  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each~most come with two to a package)
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp each:  cumin, garlic, salt, & pepper
  • chicken broth (enough to cover the meat... & I used bone broth because it's good for you!)
  • limes


  1. Slice the pork tenderloins into 3 to 4" pieces.  Place them in a large pot or dutch oven.
  2. Cut the oranges into quarters, and squeeze the juice into the pot (yields about 1 cup of juice).
  3. Add the spices, and enough chicken broth to just cover the meat.
  4. Heat the liquids to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Allow to simmer, leaving it untouched, for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  5. Note:  It will smell amazing, and you will be tempted to stir it.... but don't!  Let the pot do all the work for you.   Clean the kitchen, make a side dish, watch TV... just don't touch it for that hour & 45 minutes.
  6. Once the time is up, you should be down to about an inch of liquid.  Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break the pork up into small pieces.  Stir the meat around until the liquid is all soaked up/evaporated.  I leave my meat in a few extra minutes until it browns a little.
  7. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the cooked meat, and add a little extra salt & pepper if you'd like.
  8. Now you're done!  Serve it hot or eat it cold leftover.  Great over a taco salad, or wrapped in lettuce with salsa & avocado.  & The more lime juice, the better!

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Teacher Amy said...

Would it work as a crock pot dish?

Jessica said...

I have never had that dish. it should be nice for people who are watching the fat.