Spicy orange beef carnitas

These spicy orange beef carnitas are an easy one pot meal that makes tons of leftovers to eat throughout the week.

And the carnitas love lives on….

Guess what I found out?

My beloved carnitas recipe that I’ve made at least 10 times has a whole bunch of sugary corn syrup in those cans of Goya nectar. That’s some bs, isn’t it? I see the word “nectar” and I just assume fruit. Why would you need to add freakin’ corn syrup to fruit, Goya? Have you never eaten a pineapple on it’s own to realize it’s already sweet?! I’m literally restraining my fingers from typing a nice long rant against Monsanto and our government right now. It’s Friday, that kind of thing seems better suited for Mondays.

spicy beef carnitas

So I threw Goya out and got to work on my own rendition sans the life blood of America corn syrup.

And guess what?

I like it even better.

Spicy pulled beef carnitas

I added fresh orange zest and more spices to the dry rub, fresh orange and lime juice and some chili peppers for spice.

Good ‘ol chuck did it’s thing for 3 hours in the oven and came out just as tender with the perfect amount of reduced fruit juice to toss the caramelized pulled beef back into.

Spicy orange beef carnitas

I got the same awesome sweetness to each bite but this time with a good bit of spice and heat and without the government subsidized crap.

Oops, I mean corn syrup.

Spicy Orange Beef Carnitas

Spicy Orange Beef Carnitas

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

These spicy orange beef carnitas are an easy one pot meal that makes tons of leftovers to eat throughout the week.


  • 3-4lb. chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (I use a hot version)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 3 oranges
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 small green chili peppers, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine spices and orange zest in a small bowl and mix together.
  3. Rub spice mixture on both sides of the roast.
  4. Heat a large dutch oven to high heat with the olive oil.
  5. Once hot, add the roast and brown (about 3 minutes). Flip and brown on the other side.
  6. Once all sides are browned, add the orange and lime juice and the chili peppers.
  7. Cover with lid and transfer to the oven for 3 hours.
  8. Remove from oven and pull beef apart with 2 forks.
  9. Transfer the pulled beef back into the dutch oven to absorb all the remaining juices.
  10. Serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.


Adapted from Pioneer Woman


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  1. Kathryn

    Oh yes, this version looks amazing. Such a great combo with the freshness of the orange and the spice and none of that corn syrup. Delicious!

  2. Kristen J

    I freakin’ love carnitas. I’ve never done it with beef though, just pork. I think I’ll definitely have to try this one. Yum! :)

  3. Julie @ Table for Two

    Omgosh. I saw these on FB this morning and I literally started salivating and craving carnitas. you and I really do love our carnitas! I really like that you made this an orange spice flavor. I’m sure it’s amazing!!!

  4. Jo (livingmintgreen)

    HAHA I love the rant. Why is our world so complicated? Did you know most of our vitamin c supplements are derived from GMO corn (unless specified they’re organic vitamins)……. I know, right?!

    1. Gina Matsoukas Post author

      seriously?! wtf? Now I’m going to check the bottle of vitamins I just broke out (after getting sick for the 4th time this year!)

  5. Megan {Country Cleaver}

    Shut up – what the hell the Goya nectar from the carnitas has corn syrup?!!? Wind out of sails! Heaven forbid we get actual fruit in our fruit nectar! Also – Monsanto can unkindly go eff itself.

    On a much happier note – I love these carnitas. I haven’t made some since PW Wednesdays, that has to change.

    1. Gina Matsoukas Post author

      I’m sure you could, although I have not tried. I’ve done other carnitas recipes in the slow cooker and have to say I prefer the oven. The meat caramelizes better in the oven. If you did the crockpot, I’d still definitely brown the meat stove top before cooking.

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  9. Shea

    This recipe was perfect- I loved it! I forgot to buy the chilis at the store, but I added ~2 Tbsp of sriracha and a couple good shakes of red pepper flakes and it turned out really well. Next time I’ll try it with the chilis.

  10. Chelley

    I may try this, but instead of the oven, I am going to try the slow cooker on low 8-10 hours. I have 3 oranges left from a fruit basket sent to my husband post-surgery, so this is perfect. Thanks!


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