Product Reviews | Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas

Mexican Style oven roasted Pork is what makes up these Carnitas from Trader Joe’s. Traditional Carnitas are bursting with flavor, and so tender and juicy. Let’s see if these hit the mark or if they’re a complete miss!

Keep reading for our exclusive cart rating, full review and more!

What are Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas?

These Carnitas from Trader Joe’s are already fully cooked, all you have to do is heat and serve them up!

The word “Carnitas” literally translates to “little meats” and it’s a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the state of Michoacán. It’s made by braising/simmering pork in oil, or preferably lard until super tender.

The cut of pork traditionally is boneless Boston butt, pork shoulder or picnic ham and is simmered or braised in that liquid and seasonings for several hours until it’s tender enough to be shredded.

These Carnitas from Trader Joe’s save you about 10 hours worth of work and wait time! All you have to do is tear open the package, heat them for about 2 minutes, shred and enjoy. Once I saw these on the shelf, you know I had to buy myself a package and give it a whirl. I’m doing this for the fans right….?

Where In the Store?

Nestled on the top shelf of the meat department were these Pork Carnitas. They were next to their sausage selection and just above their packaged stew meats.

This section is where you can also find their prepackaged Chicken Shwarma, Sesame Teriyaki Chicken Wing Sections,Carne Asada, Shwarma Beef Tenderloin, Pollo Asada and so many more!

This is also about the same spot where you’d be able to find their Pulled Chicken in Hickory Smoke Flavored BBQ Sauce! Check out the review on that one too, you’re not going to want to miss it! Tara posted a recipe in that post for BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches using that same Pulled Chicken!!

How to Serve Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas

I feel like this is such an easy question. Once the hard and time consuming part of preparing the Carnitas is complete, the rest is so simple!

Since these Carnitas are already fully cooked, you can technically take them right out of the package and serve them, but who wants cold pork? So, as instructed, I removed them from the package and placed them in a microwave safe dish to heat them for about 2 minutes in total.

From the picture below, I grabbed my favorite small soft tortillas from Lidl, shredded some lettuce and Colby jack cheese, (also from Lidl) and whipped up a basic lime crema!

I grabbed the Chile Lime seasoning out of my pantry, one of my many Trader Joe’s spices and sprinkled some of that into the crema. After slicing some red onions very thin, I shredded the Carnitas.

I assembled everything into two small soft tortillas and nestled two lime quarters onto each side to hold them upright.

Here are a few other ways of enjoying the Pork Carnitas:

  • Over a salad
  • Wrapped into a burrito
  • On top of a tostada
  • Skip the soft tortilla altogether and eat right out of a bowl with all the fixings

The Review

I was amazed at how delicious these Carnitas were for being prepackaged. Of course, there’s nothing like the real thing when you braise a pork shoulder with traditional spices for about 10 hours. I have to say, this came kinda close!

The pork surprisingly didn’t dry out in the microwave when heated, it stayed juicy and tender.

I shredded it using two forks, and it worked like a dream. I shredded just enough to fill my two soft tortillas and put the rest in a Tupperware dish to save for later, maybe over a tostada with a soft fried egg and some homemade salsa.

Buy It Again?

I can say with all certainty that I will definitely be buying these Traditional Carnitas from Trader Joe’s again. Without a single doubt, I loved them. They’re so versatile and so easy to enjoy!! What are you waiting for? Go out and buy yourself some!!

Tell us what you think in the comments below! What’s your favorite way to enjoy Traditional Carnitas?

Rating Time!


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  1. Yum! These look incredibly good, and yet they never showed up at our local TJ’s. And hey, we miss your reviews! Hope all is well and the absence is only temporary?

  2. Thanks so much! This was a fun item to review, so sorry it never showed up at your Trader Joe’s!! We hate when that happens! We are planning our return from our short absence very soon! Stay tuned!

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