Carnitas Braised in Witbier

Yunhee Kim

Yunhee Kim

4 to 6 servings

1 hour

I like making this with Belgian wheat beer because they're often spiced with coriander and bitter orange, akin to Mexican-style braised meat; they are also a little sour, which lends the meat a nice complexity. The result is delicious, but frankly, you can use any full-bodied, full-flavored beer that you like to drink.


2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, quartered
5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 ancho or other mild dried chili
Black pepper
2 12-ounce bottles Allagash white, or another beer in the Belgian witbier wheat beer style, like Hoegaarden
Neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, if needed
Lime wedges for serving


1. Put the pork, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chili and some salt and pepper in a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven. Add the beer and water if needed to cover. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil and skim any foam that comes to the surface. Partly cover and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily. Cook until the meat is quite tender, about 1 hour, then cool.

2. Remove the bay leaves, spices and chili with a slotted spoon and discard. Break or roughly chop the meat into bite-size pieces, return to the pan and cook uncovered until all the liquid has evaporated. Continue to cook the meat in the remaining fat until it’s crisped and browned; add a little oil if it sticks or becomes dry. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with the lime wedges, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix