Grilled Carnitas Recipe for Your Cinco de Mayo Celebration

cinco de mayo carnitas

This Cinco de Mayo, light up the grill to make a famous Mexican favourite for the whole family! Traditionally, carnitas are slow-cooked in lard. It’s like pulled pork. However, with this recipe, you can keep the heat out of the house and put a spin on this traditional Mexican dish. Whether you’re having a celebration or just want to try something new, we recommend having a little fun with these grilled (and smoked) carnitas.


  • 2-3 lbs pork shoulder or butt 

Marinade Ingredients 

  • 1 can Coca-Cola (ideally the “original” recipe made with cane sugar)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Tortillas, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving 
  • Cilantro, for serving


1. In a large bowl, season the pork with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Ensure the pork is coated well and evenly with the rub. Set aside. Let marinate for as long as you desire.

2. In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook until softened – about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant.

3. Preheat grill. Sear the pork on the grill to caramelize and create grill marks on the chunks of pork.

4. Place sauteed ingredients and seared pork into grill-safe roasting pan, cover with foil and place on grill. 

5. Cook on indirect heat at low (225 F) for 2.5-4 hours, checking the progress every ½ hour and turning meat once it’s ½-⅔ through cooking. Using your Accu-Probe Bluetooth Thermometer, make sure the pork is at least 190-195 degrees F.

6. Remove foil cover a half-hour or so before removing meat from the grill to let the juices thicken. Use a fork to shred the pork.

7. Serve in tortillas, with rice, or whatever sides you want. Top meat with liquid from cooking, lime juice, cilantro, and any other toppings you like.

Serve, Eat & Enjoy

If it’s nice, you can eat your carnitas in your outdoor kitchen or around the outdoor fireplace. However and wherever you enjoy them, don’t forget your shot of tequila to top it off! If you’re not set up for summer BBQ parties or you’re ready to upgrade your grill, visit our showroom. We’ve got 4,500 square feet stocked full of the brands you love and all the products you need to enjoy your summer with savoury recipes on the grill and warm nights by the outdoor fireplace.

Get what you need for grilling season.

Visit Team Harding’s showroom or our website.

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