Smoked and Braised Carnitas


  • 4-6lbs of pork shoulder / boston butt
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt

Spice Rub

  • 1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1 tsp powdered onion
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Braising Liquid

  • 3-4 dried guajillo peppers
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


Night Before Preparation (10 minutes)

  1. Cut pork into 6" chunks. Trim excess fat, but leave some fat for flavor. Salt with 1tsp/lb. Allow to sit, preferably overnight… but for at least 3 hours.


  1. Preheat smoker to 225F.
  2. Coat the pork with the rub.
  3. Smoke for 5-6 hours, or until internal temp is 165F.
  4. Dice onions. Set aside.
  5. Combine garlic, ginger, 2 kashmiri chiles and chopped serrano peppers in a small dish. Set aside.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Transfer pork from smoker to dutch oven.
  3. Squeeze orange and lime into dutch oven.
  4. Add bay leaves, onion and garlic.
  5. Cover and cook in oven for 3 hours, or when internal temperature reaches 203F.
  6. Remove pork from dutch oven and and place in collander to drain excess liquid.

Skillet Sear

These steps can be done on the stovetop (med high) or on the highest heat setting (500F+) on a pellet grill.

  1. Preheat skillet to piping hot.
  2. Place chunks of pork in the skillet and let sit for 5 minutes to develop a good crust.
  3. Begin to break up the chunks and turn to crisp more surface area of the pork.
  4. Repeat until they’re crispy enough for ‘ya.