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Agustine's Beer & Tequila Carnitas

WebMD Recipe from

Total Time: 3 hrs

Agustine's Beer & Tequila Carnitas

These pork carnitas have a little more flair and much less fat than the traditional deep-fried versions common to Mexican cuisine. Beer and dark tequila give them a very special flavor. Use leftover carnitas to make burritos, sandwiches or quesadillas.


  • 4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, (see Note)
  • 2 cups diced white onion
  • 4 poblano peppers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups diced seeded tomatoes, (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup tequila, preferably Reposado (see Note)
  • 2 12-ounce bottles dark Mexican beer, such as Negro Modelo
  • 20 corn tortillas, warmed (see Tip)


Step 1
Trim enough fat from pork to yield about 1/3 cup diced (discard the rest). Cut pork into 1-inch cubes.
Step 2
Heat a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add the pork fat. Cook, stirring, until there is a thin layer of fat covering the bottom and the bits left in the pot are brown and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add onion, poblanos, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Step 3
Add the pork and cook, stirring frequently, until enough liquid has been released to almost cover the pork and vegetables, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to maintain a lively simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to a thick paste, about 30 minutes.
Step 4
Stir in tomatoes, return to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add tequila and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and a thick sauce coats the meat, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the beer and return to a lively simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, scraping up any browned bits near the end of the cooking time, 30 to 45 minutes more. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the carnitas to a serving platter and let guests assemble their own tacos with warm tortillas and taco garnishes as desired.


Notes: Bone-in pork shoulder (“Boston butt” or “fresh pork butt”) can weigh upwards of 10 pounds, so you may have to ask your butcher to cut one down for this recipe. 

Golden-hued Reposado tequila has been aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of two months but no longer than 11 months. The flavor is more smooth and balanced than unaged (Blanco) or young (Joven) tequilas. 

Kitchen Tip: 2 ways to warm corn tortillas: 1. Microwave: Wrap stacks of up to 12 tortillas in barely damp paper towels; microwave on High for 30 to 45 seconds. Wrap tortillas in a clean towel to keep warm. 2. Oven: Wrap stacks of 6 tortillas in foil; place in a 375°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap tortillas in a clean towel to keep warm.

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