We use actual juniper berries to season our Carnitas—no added flavors or juniper-berry-like substitutes. With a distinct, pungent flavor and aroma that stands up to rich, meaty dishes, juniper berries are typically sold dried, then crushed to release their flavor.
A berry by any other name
Juniper berries aren’t actually berries at all. They’re the seed cones (yum) of the coniferous juniper plant, which just happen to resemble berries. If you’re thinking of them as edible (and flavorsome) pinecones, you’re not far from the truth. Juniper berries are most famous for providing the flavor in gin—a word that comes from the French word “genievre,” which means… drumroll... juniper.