Coca-Cola Carnitas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Carnitas ("little meats"), pork braised in Coca-Cola and orange juice until tender, then shredded and fried in its own fat, are perfectly brown, crisp, and flavorful little morsels of meat. Perfect for filling your tortillas!
Recipe type: Main Course/Meat/Pork
Cuisine: Mexican
Yield: 8 servings
  • 2 pounds boneless pork meat, cut into large chunks (See notes below)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several sprigs of oregano
  • Several sprigs of thyme
  • 5 kumquats (plus more for garnish, if preferred), seeds removed, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (See notes below)
  1. In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Season pork pieces with the mixture.
  2. On medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or braiser. Sear pork pieces in the oil until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent.
  4. Add the Coca-Cola, broth/water, and orange juice. Return meat to the pan.
  5. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the herbs and kumquats.
  6. Cover and simmer until the pork is tender, about 1½ hours. Once pork is tender, remove and shred using a couple of forks, then return it back into the pan.
  7. There may still be some liquid left in the pan at this point. If that's the case, turn up the heat and let it boil until it's completely evaporated. This is when the carnitas will begin to fry in its own fat. Or, if you're using a lean cut of meat, you can add more oil. If you have kumquat slices reserved for garnish, add them to the pan now.
  8. Continue frying until carnitas are well-browned and crisp on the outside.
  9. Alternately, you can spread the shredded meat on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a few minutes.
I used lean pork loin and there was hardly any fat rendered, therefore I added olive oil in the end to brown the meat, but if you're using a fatty cut of meat, you may not need to add any oil.
Recipe by Fiesta Friday at