Carnitas: Smoked Pork Butt Mexican Style

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by bigmike&nan, May 11, 2012.

  1. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey folks, hope you all are well. I wanted to post this recipe and dedicate it to two old friends (sisters) I knew way back as my way of saying HELLO and I miss them. So Alice and Ann, this is for you. Been a while. I know if you came out here to the Casa and hung out with me and my wife it'd be like old times in no time. Good friends. So the feast I am putting down for my friends is Carnitas (red oak wood smoked pork butt) with homemade flour tortillas. Enjoy, I'll be updating the photos as things progress.

    Mis en place

    3-4 pound pork butt

    2 Tbls Cumin Seeds
    2 Tbls Corriander Seeds
    1 Tbls Red Pepper Flake
    1 Tbls Onion Powder
    1 Tbls Garlic Powder
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    (OR I package of taco seasoning mixed with 1/2 cup brown sugar)

    Rinse off pork butt and dry with paper towels, set it on a large piece of heavy duty foil.
    Meanwhile roast the spices (except the brown sugar) in a small skillet on low heat, about 5 minutes, they will become fragrant as heck. Next add the brown sugar and spices to an old coffee mill or a mortar and pestle and grind until you have a fine powder. Apply that "rub" all over the meat, top and bottom. Place meat in a cold smoker and smoke at 250 for about 5 hours.


    OR if you don't have a smoker cut up an onion into slices and place in a large heavy dutch oven, place meat on top of the onions, cover and slow cook in your oven for 5 hours at 250... You want an internal temperature of the meat to get to 185 or 190.

    Watching a video while I keep an eye on my meat temp remotely...


    Now a lot of you meat eaters will say MIKE isn't that like a really long time for a piece of meat too cook ?? Yeah it is, but like cooking a brisket or pork butt for pulled pork (think BBQ style) you cook the meat low and slow to a far higher temperature than you normally would BECAUSE it has a lot of fat working thru it that will slowly break down. End product will have a lovely crusty bark on the outside but be fall apart tender and juicy and DELICIOUS. Really amazing. So once the meat is done take if off your heat source and leave covered for about 1/2 hour. Then pull apart with two forks into shreds.


    Serve up with your favorite salsa or Pebre and home made tortillas, guacamole, rice, beans, you get the idea. It's a feast and it's so easy and lazy you'll be happy you did it.


    Homemade tortillas:


    Mis en place

    3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 Tsp salt
    1 tsp baking powder (the stuff in the red can)
    3 oz Crisco (or lard)
    about 1 cup HOT water

    Combine flour, baking powder, salt, shortening and mix together with your hands in a large bowl until it gets coarse like corn meal, then add the hot water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes off the side of the bowl. Work the dough about 3-4 minutes like this young lady does.

    Cover dough with a soft towel and let rest 1/2 hour. Roll dough into a log and cut into 12 same sized pieces. Roll each of those on a little flour into a ball. Once you've done all 12 let those rest under a covered bowl 15 minutes. Then get your heavy skillet on high heat and begin rolling out the dough into tortillas. Cook about 2 minutes on each side until the dough bubbles some. Flip and repeat with all 12. Keep on a plate covered with a soft towel until service time. Combining your really great SMOKED pork carnitas, the lovely tortillas, guacamole, some salsa and the adult beverage of your choice is a sure fire way to let your friends and family know you love them... Here's an old photo to give you serving suggestions - these are the really SMALL corn tortillas, doubled up, Mexican food truck style.


    Enjoy. More photos later...

    Carnitas resting in foil. When the wife gets home I'll crush up a couple of avocados and add a little pebre an lemon juice to it for guacamole.



    5 days later I was tired of the tacos so I made a triple batch of Matrha Stewart pie crust but substituted 1/3 of the butter with Crisco. Sauteed small cubes of white potatoes, onions and some EVO until it got a little crisp, then added about a cup of the Pebre and the finely cut up carnitas, sautéed that with about a cup of chopped cilantro a little salt and sugar to taste. Terrific with fresh fruit.


    Paired up with some fresh fruit it's amazing.


    I noticed I did not include the Pebre recipe: Pebre is a condiment served in Chile (and I am sure there are variants like it in other Latin countries) at table when you order in most Chilean restaurants, they bring out a small plate of "bread" little biscuit type rolls served with butter and Pebre. Pebre is used to jack up the heat and flavor on any savory dish there.


    Mis en place:
    2 cups diced tomatoes
    1 cup diced onion
    1/3 cup diced mild green chile (seeds and all)
    2 Tsp minced garlic
    1 cup chopped cilantro
    1/2 cup EVO
    salt and pepper to taste

    Combine all incredients in a bowl and taste for seasoning. Noticed Pebre has NO ACID, no lemon juice or such. It's what separates it from other Latin condiments like salsa. You can also tone down the heat a little by adding the kernels of one ear of fresh sweet corn UNCOOKED. It gives the Pebre more color and texture. See photo above.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  2. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2010
    Wow! That looks so good. I will definately have to try that recipe when hubby gets his smoker.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and what a wonderful tribute to your friends.

    Got any good rice and beans recipes to go with this?
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  3. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 23, 2008
    Central Louisiana
    [​IMG] WOW I am for sure asking my husband to crank up the smoker this weekend! Thanks for posting this Mike!
  4. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Tomorrow I am making empenadas with the last of the leftover carnitas I made. Looking around on YouTube I saw this fella making the most amazing looking empenadas - now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of really great empenadas out there, but this guy poached plantains that he then mashed to use as the "dough" and a filling of onions, a lot of cilantro, red pepper and garlic pureed and then he pureed it like a mole sauce and fried the meat in it. WHOOSH... Check this out, it looks so good.

  5. SilverWings

    SilverWings New Egg

    May 12, 2012
    Looking forward to hearing how your empenadas turn out. Love reading your recipes...can't wait to try a few!
  6. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Did the empanadas today - used Martha Stewart's pie crust recipe (tripled) and substituted 1/3 shortening for butter - really works out easy. Made a filling of sautéed diced potatoes, sweet onions in EVO, then added the cut up carnitas, some cilantro and a CUP of Pebre... sautéed that up until it got sweet. Made round empanadas about 4 inches in diameter - so flaky good... WOW

  7. micheller1210

    micheller1210 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2012
    Vancouver/Clark county
    Don't you find ever since they changed the formula for crisco, and other shortening products, your pastries do not respond like they use too, I use real butter and render my own lard, funny how I've come full circle.

    question? why do you add brown sugar? was that for the smoker effect? Muy Sabroso!
  8. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    That looks really great, I may just try that with pork. The empanadadas are a great idea of what to do with the leftover meat -if there is any lol.

    For beef roast Mexican Meat: I always throw a little mango, tequila, lime juice, chipotle chiles (the ones in the Adobo Sauce) , onions, and garlic in with a beef roast with various other seasonings, put it in the crockpot and sometimes add a little dab of liquid smoke. Between the chiles and the liquid smoke it has a nice smoky flavoring and the crockpot makes it fall apart tender.
  9. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    The brown sugar is used as a cover for rubs in a lot of smoked items: brisket, ribs, pulled pork (and this variant Carnitas), helps hold the rub on, adds a little sweet thing and eventually combined with melting fat from the meat caramelizes nicely on the outside.

    The day I made the empenadas I was also baking a quiche for the wife, so to expedite matters I used the Cuisinart and used two sticks butter and 4 oz Crisco, and one large egg in place of some of the usual cold water and did the crust for both items at once. WOW the crust for each item was really very good. My wife even broke down and tried the empenadas (Weight Watchers, she really watches her intake of breads and pastry).

    No I haven't been that much of a Crisco user since I got married, try to help the wife stay honest on her diet - I don't do a lot of the wild stuff I used to do AS OFTEN but still make them just once in a while... So I can't say I've noticed a change.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  10. Damienz

    Damienz New Egg

    Jul 3, 2013
    Hey buddy .. this looks real good..

    I might be doing this tomorrow..

    The questions I have is..

    Smoking it for 5 hours .. slow and low on my Green Egg..
    Won't it tast too smoky and more like pulled pork rather than
    Mexican Carnitas?

    Is it important to have the exact wood chips you recommend to
    combat this?

    Thoughts? Anyone..

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by