Pecan Smoked Pork Carnitas

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There’s not much that makes me happier than cooking outside with the smoke from my grill slowly drifting over me, a cold bottle of beer in hand, while listening to the snap and sizzle of liquid fat splashing over hot coals. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. This recipe took me a couple of days to prepare but the succulent, sweet smoky pork was definitely worth every moment of effort I put into it. I was busy hosting a few friends so I reluctantly but gratefully relinquished control of my camera to the wifey and so I have to give Amy credit for these pictures.

Pecan Smoked Pork Carnitas

The Brine:

1 large stock pot or food grade bucket

1 bottle Shiner Bock, or beer of choice

1 large Orange, quartered

1 lime, quartered

1 Cinnamon stick

1 tbsp Liquid Smoke

about 1 tsp Black Peppercorns, left whole

2 cloves of Garlic, left whole with skins removed

1/2 Sweet Onion, rough chopped

about 1/4 cup Smoked Sea salt, or salt of choice

about 1/4 cup Raw Sugar

2 dried Bay Leaves

1 good quality Boston Pork Butt

enough Water to completely submerge the pork butt

Method: bring a bit of water and the beer up to a simmer in the large stock pot and stir in the salt and sugar until completely dissolved. Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the pork butt. Allow the brine to completely cool then add the pork and completely submerge it with water. Brine the pork overnight and up to 48 hrs, if desired.

At this point, you can also soak your wood chips in a bowl completely submerged in water as well. The longer the wood chips soak the better smoke they will produce.

The Rub:

about 2 tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tbsp TexJoy Chili powder

2 tbsp Cumin Powder

2 tbsp Smoked Paprika

1 tbsp Garlic Powder

Salt and pepper to taste


Pecan Smoked Pork:

1 brined Pork Butt, with spice rub

Several soaked Pecan Wood chips, or wood chips of choice

1 disposable aluminum drip pan

additional aluminum foil, if needed

1 chimney starter, if needed

Method: remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Evenly coat the pork with the oil and spices and allow to marinate in the fridge for several hours up to overnight.

Prepare a charcoal grill with one hot side and one cool side by layering most of the hot coals on one side of the grill while placing a disposable aluminum drip pan on the other side. Once the coals are white hot, add the wood chips and the pork. Cover and smoke the pork for several hours at a low temperature adding additional coals and wood chips as needed. Cook the pork until the desired internal temperature is reached. Remove the smoked pork from the grill and allow it to rest on a cutting board for at least 30 minutes. Slice into chunks or shred the pork and serve with your favorite tortillas, or substitute with lettuce for paleo, additional orange slices, and prefered taco toppings.

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