Your Chipotle Could Be Getting Carnitas Back Soon

These are a few of my favorite things!

Carnitas bol, chips, guacamole, and a diet coke. Yum!
These are a few of my favorite things! Carnitas bol, chips, guacamole, and a diet coke. Yum!

Carnitas lovers rejoice! (Sort of.)

Finding carnitas during the ongoing Chipotle pork shortage may not be as hard as you originally thought. The Mexican chain is rotating the menu item through all of its restaurants, according to Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman. Though one-third of its restaurants won't be selling carnitas until the shortage ends, that one-third will change periodically, so no restaurants are out of the protein for "extended periods," Arnold wrote in an email.

Chipotle suspended sales of carnitas last week after discovering that one of its pork suppliers wasn’t meeting its standards for responsibly raised meat. The news that the hottest fast food chain in the country was out of one of its few menu items made headlines, with carnitas fans taking to Facebook and Twitter to ask when the protein would be coming back.

A carnitas fan mourns the loss.

The announcement also reminded Chipotle fans why they’re drawn to the chain in the first place. The burrito chain’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, in part because it sells itself as a fast food restaurant with a conscience -- hawking humanely raised meat and sustainably grown beans. At the same time, traditional fast food chains like McDonald’s are struggling to draw diners into their stores.

Despite Chipotle’s success, the carnitas shortage, which is now in its second week, highlights the challenges of running a large chain committed to serving humanely raised meat when there isn’t a lot of it out there.

Carnitas only make up about 6 percent of the entrees Chipotle sells, Arnold said. The spokesman had some advice for those die-hard carnitas fans who want to make sure their local Chipotle is carrying the pork:

“The best way to know for sure would be to go.”