These cherry beef carnitas sandwiches are cooked in cherry juice resulting in a sweet pulled beef sandwich.

Do you guys remember the game ‘pick up sticks’? Omg…they were my fave.

But let’s rewind a sec, I mean, someone put a bunch of colored sticks in a canister, made up directions that basically said “drop them onto a surface and then try and pick one up at a time without disturbing any of the others around it”…and that was considered (good) entertainment. Can you imagine giving that game to a kid today? They’d be like “yo, where my iPad at?” Because kids speak gangsta. Obvi.

But let’s not even discuss that because after the realization that Easter is now like Christmas for 95% of the kids of the people in my facebook feed last weekend, I’m seriously disturbed by today’s “give me more, more, more” society and what these spoiled brats are going to turn out like in 20 years when they’re running the world.

Beef carnitas sandwiches made with sweet cherry juice

Back to pick up sticks…

Sweet cherry pulled beef sandwiches

Back to pick up sticks…

I haven’t thought about that game in ages until I picked up this pretty little bunch of chives the other day. As I scattered them around these insanely delicious cherry beef carnitas sandwiches and they fell haphazardly, overlapping each other, I couldn’t help but think back to 1988 or so and playing this on the hideous coffee table in our living room. It had wood trim with 4 bevelled glass inlays which I used to my advantage. Any sticks laying on top of the part where the glass and wood met were immediately deemed out of the question, the uneven surface making them more susceptible to movement. But that wasn’t something my 2.5 year younger brother could quite grasp yet so while I’d pick around the edges for easy ones, he’d go for those and I’d win, never letting onto my secret.

Cherry beef carnitas sandwiches

I’m not gonna lie, cleaning this shoot up, I played the pick up game myself and only got 5 off before disturbing one of the other chives. Apparently, I’ve lost my touch over the past 26 years.

Might have to eat some more cherry beef carnitas to brush up.

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Cherry Beef Carnitas Sandwiches

Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes
Beef carnitas sandwiches made with sweet cherry juice
These cherry beef carnitas sandwiches are cooked in cherry juice resulting in a sweet pulled beef sandwich.


  • 2 1/2 - 3 pound beef roast
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces chopped mushrooms, any kind will do, I used shiitake and button
  • 12 ounces cherry juice
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen tart cherries
  • 6 pretzel rolls
  • fresh chopped chives for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Season the beef roast generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
  • Once hot, add the roast to the dutch oven and brown on all sides.
  • Add the onions and mushrooms and let cook for a couple of minutes until the onions start to brown.
  • Add the cherry juice, beef broth and frozen cherries to the pot and stir.
  • Cover and transfer to the oven to cook for 4 hours, turning the beef halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven, transfer the beef to a cutting board and pull apart using two forks.
  • Using an immersion blender, pulse the remaining cherry juice/sauce in the pot a few times to blend. This can also be done by transferring to a blender or food processor.
  • Add the shredded beef back to the pot and toss until the juices are fully coating the meat.
  • Spoon onto pretzel rolls, garnish with cilantro, chives or green onions and serve.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 431kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 38gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 330mgPotassium: 939mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 40IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. Prepared this recipe last night. Delicious shredded beef resulted. I was kind of confused about the onions and cherries (remove or purée’) and ended up taking the immersion blender to everything… oh well, I now see a cherry in the picture… so mine does not look like the picture but is still delicious… we by-passed the yummy pretzel buns for a fajita wrap! Thanks for sharing your creation!