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Chipotle's Carnitas (Copycat recipe)

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs 10 mins
Total Time4 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 12
Author: Pam - For the Love of Cooking / Original by Culinary Hill


  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 lb pork shoulder fat cap trimmed to 1/8th inch
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp whole juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig of fresh thyme


  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Season the entire pork shoulder well with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  • Place the fat side down in the HOT Dutch oven and sear for 2 minutes, or until golden brown; repeat on all sides of the pork shoulder until completely seared.
  • Remove the Dutch oven from the heat.
  • Add the water, juniper berries, bay leaves, and fresh thyme sprig.
  • Cover with a lid and place into the oven to cook for four hours, carefully turning the pork shoulder over halfway through cooking.
  • Remove from the oven. Remove the bone, fat, juniper berries, bay leaves, and thyme sprig. Shred pork with a fork. Serve as is, if desired.
  • For crispy edges, transfer the shredded pork and juices to a rimmed baking sheet and broil, watching carefully, until the edges become a crispy. Serve. Enjoy.