Carnitas Sous-Vide

After my trip to REMCooks I was inspired to try some more Mexican/Southwestern food. Carnitas is a dish made of braised or roasted and then fried or sauteed pork in Mexican cuisine. Richard had served us delicious sous-vide duck carnitas, and a few days later in Miami I tried a taco with pork carnitas. The recipe I used here is very simple and comes from Modernist Cuisine at Home, the home version of the Modernist Cuisine books that I wrote about before. Pork shoulder is cooked sous-vide for 36 hours at 65ºC/149ºF together with pork stock, and then glazed with the juices seasoned with achiote paste and chipotle chile powder. I served it with homemade corn tortillas, pico de gallo salsa, and avocado.

This was so easy to make and absolutely delicious. I had vacuum sealed the pork Sunday night (which took less than 5 minutes), and put it into the sous-vide cooker Monday morning before I left for work (which took less than a minute). When I got home from work on Tuesday, I finished the dish in about 20 minutes. The pork was very tender and tasty.  Next time I’ll try a sous-vide version of Richard’s recipe for Carnitas.


For 2 servings

400 grams boneless, skinless pork shoulder, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) cubes

150 ml (2/3 cup) brown pork stock

1 tsp achiote paste

1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder



Vacuum seal the pork with the stock. If you don’t have a chamber vacuum sealer, freeze the pork stock into cubes first. Due to the long cooking time using a ziploc bag is advised against, as doing so can produce off-flavors.

Cook sous-vide for 36 hours at 65ºC/149ºF.

Strain the liquid into a pot.

Add the achiote paste and chipotle powder.

Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, over medium high heat. It took me quite a bit of stirring to dissolve the achiote paste, but in the end it did dissolve.

Keep reducing until syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Lower the heat and add the pork.

Gently turn and baste the meat until it is glazed with the sauce.

Season with salt to taste, and serve warm.

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