Beef Carnitas

My love of Latin food is a very poorly kept secret. In fact, when I’m sick, I tend to crave Mexican food. Fortunately (for you, at least), I’ve had a cold for the past week or so, which means spicy beef carnitas were in the works. Carnitas literally translates to “little meats” or “little beefs,” but it really refers to a dish in which a tough cut of beef or pork has been slow cooked and then shredded. These were super cheap, easy, and plentiful for us to make: it’s a tough combination to beat!


2-3 lb chuck roast
1 T cumin
1 t curry powder
2 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
2 T taco seasoning
1 T chili powder (mine isn’t very spicy, so adjust to your taste)
2 t cayenne (again, mine isn’t too hot)
2 c chicken broth
6 Thai bird’s eye chilies, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced

Mix the dry ingredients together, and rub into the meat.

In a large dutch oven, heat several tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil just until shimmering. Once hot, place the roast in the pan, and sear until dark on all sides. Don’t be afraid to let it blacken in some spots; that’ll become a flavorful bark in the carnitas.

Once your roast has a nice dark crust on it, take it out of the plan and set aside while the pan cools for a few minutes. Drizzle in some olive oil, and saute the chilies and garlic until fragrant, only about a minute. Pour in two cups of chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. Add the roast into the broth, tightly cover with aluminum foil and then with the dutch oven lid, and bake at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours, or until cooked through and tender.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then shred or finely slice into the sauce.

I served mine over corn masa cakes and topped with a cilantro chimichurri. Delicious.

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