Smoke-Braised Pork Carnitas
Smoke braising is a great way to infuse more flavor into this classic dish. This cook takes a few hours so it’s best reserved for a weekend, but the possibilities for this tender, smoky braised meat are endless. Tacos are a crowd favorite, but it’s also great on a bed of rice, in a burrito, an enchilada or a taquito. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, try it on pizza.
- 6-7 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 large navel oranges, juiced
- 2 tablespoons BBQ rub
- 2 teaspoons mexican oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ~1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3/4 cup lard
Start by setting up the Shokunin Kamado for low and slow cooking. Follow these easy steps in our guide for Shokunin low and slow style cooking and adjust your vents to achieve a 375°F cooking temperature. Add one chunk of oak wood to the hot coals.
While the grill is preheating, use a sharp knife and cut the boneless pork shoulder into two inch cubes.
Add the cubed pork to a large dutch oven and combine with remaining ingredients (leaving out stock, cinnamon stick and lard). Mix thoroughly by hand to ensure the pork is evenly coated with the spices and orange juice.
When the pork is fully coated on all sides, add the cinnamon stick, enough chicken stock to leave about half an inch of the pork above stock level, and the lard to the dutch oven. Then, place the dutch oven on the grill over indirect heat, leaving the lid off. Close the grill lid and allow the carnitas to smoke braise for three hours, stirring every hour.
Remove the dutch oven from the grill and set aside. Skim 2-3 tablespoons of rendered fat from the liquid and place it in a cast iron pan over medium high heat on a cooktop. Then, lightly brown some of the chunks of pork in the fat, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
Pull the pork into bite-sized pieces and place on warm corn tortillas or over a bed of rice. Top with toppings of your choice and serve.