Sous Vide Carnitas

One of my favorite gifts I received this Christmas was a sous-vide tool.  Even though I feel like I’ve cooked almost everything, I can now cook food in a completely new way and produce different results.  So, although I’ve made Carnitas many times, I’ve never made them like this.  These Sous Vide Carnitas are juicy and crunchy in a whole new way.  Top them with your favorite taco toppings and you’ll have a showstopper!

I found this recipe online from Serious Eats via The Food Lab and my version is very close to the original.  I always make a recipe exactly as the chef intended the first time through.  The only exception to this is if there’s an ingredient I don’t have or can’t find or if I have a strong aversion to one of the ingredients.  Yes, back to my family eats what I eat.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Once I made this recipe and fell in love with it, I found that there were a few adjustments I would make, but not many.

For those of you wondering what the heck sous-vide cooking is, allow me to explain.  Sous-vide is a French term that translates to “under vacuum”.  Sous-vide cooking is a method of sealing food into a vacuum sealed bag and slow cooking it in a temperature controlled warm water bath.  When it’s done, you sear it quickly to finish it off to add that last bit of flavor and color and serve.  It produces results that cannot be replicated in any other manner.  The first thing we cooked sous-vide were filet mignon steaks.  They were better than any steak I have ever had in a restaurant and they were cooked to perfection.

When I saw this recipe for Sous Vide Carnitas, I knew I had to try it.  The recipe is really very simple.  Prepare the pork shoulder, get it in the sous-vide bath, shred it, put it under a broiler on a baking sheet and serve with your favorite toppings, easy!  Next time you are cooking up a Mexican feast or you have a group of people over for a party or sporting event, these Sous Vide Carnitas are perfect!

Sous Vide Carnitas

These Sous Vide Carnitas are juicy and crispy, perfectly delicious! Top them with your favorite taco toppings and you have a showstopper!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 9 hrs
Total Time 17 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 people


  • 1 4 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder Sliced into chunks or 2" slabs
  • 1 Yellow Onion Quartered
  • 5 Garlic Cloves Smashed
  • 1 Orange Quartered, juiced and wedges
  • 1 cinnamon stick Broken into a few pieces
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Corriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 12 Tortillas for serving
  • 3 Limes for topping
  • Cheese for topping
  • 2 Radishes sliced thinly for topping
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro for topping
  • Salsa for topping


  • Set timer to 185F on sous vide and begin to preheat the warm water bath in a large pot.
  • Slice the pork shoulder into chunks or thick slabs. Add to a large mixing bowl and add aromatics; quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, quartered orange and it's juice, cinnamon stick broken into a few smaller pieces and bay leaves. Add Kosher Salt liberally and mix to combine.
  • Transfer pork and all aromatics to a vacuum bag and press into a single layer before sealing. At this point, transfer the bag to the pot of water and start cooking. This can cook for 8-16 hours. Just be sure to keep an eye on the water level to check for evaporation and add more water as needed.
  • Remove bag from water bath, discard the aromatics and begin shredding the meat with your hands or 2 forks. Check for seasoning. At this point, I added a little more salt and pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander and dried oregano.
  • Preheat the broiler and place a baking sheet in the oven to begin warming it so you can get it crisp quickly and retain the moisture. If you want, you could also do this step by adding oil to a cast iron and giving it some browning that way. Drizzle EVOO over the carnitas on the baking sheet. Cook for a few minutes, turning, until crisp all over. Keep an eye on them, they will brown quickly.
  • Serve with warm tortillas, sliced radishes, salsa, cheese, lime wedges and cilantro.


*If you don't have a Food Saver or vacuum sealer, you can use a heavy-duty ziplock bag.  Be sure to get as much air out as possible so that it will stay under water during the cooking process.  Also be sure to keep the top sealed part above water to avoid any leakage. *If you find you need to weigh it down, you can use a binder clip to attach to a large metal knife or spoon to weigh it down from the bottom of the bag.


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