Pork Carnitas!

Ok, so I was looking for a great Carnita recipe to try out.  I found one that had a great rub, but I felt that it needed more.  A different one had a great sauce that sounded yummy.  I was still skeptical that either could stand alone so I decided to put the two together and add maple syrup.  After the crazy combination was finished cooking, I served my family, and it was a hit! I hope you all like it, modify it, and enjoy it!



Ok I have divided my ingredients up based on the steps that they are put together. It helps me keep everything straight because this is a 3 step process. I must say, any of these three steps might be enough for most people. I found these three recipes on food network and other websites and combined the things I know my family likes.

The Rub IMG_0003_2

  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4Tsp Ancho Chile Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Garlic Power
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper

The Sauceimage

  • 3 whole ancho chiles
  • 3 whole pasilla chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • ½ medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra – virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

For the Pot!The Pot

  • 3 ¾ cups low – sodium chicken broth or Blonde ale beer with a citrus note
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium size orange. Squeeze the orange into the pot. ( I peel and add the orange after I squeeze it.)
  • Corn Tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Assorted taco toppings, for garnish
  • If I feel I need a little more sweet because my peppers were really hot I add a little more honey and maple syrup.  If you wish you can cut this down during the sauce prep or leave it as is.  The amount of spice is up to you! 


Preheat the oven to 350oF

Lets Get Cooking!

IMG_1350You can roast the ancho and pasilla chiles and garlic in the oven, or put them in the oven in a bowl; add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Microwave on high until soft and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes.  Either way, once they are done, peel, stem and seed the chiles and garlic.  Transfer the chiles to the blender, puree until smooth and set them aside in a bowl.

Then add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth.

As you can see I put the chilies and garlic into the honey and such. I have done it both ways.  One way produces more of a chili flavor. If you have someone who can’t handle too much chili, you can add it into the chipotle honey mix.  I love it both ways. Now to the meat!

IMG_1348Combine salt and rest of spices in a small bowl. Spread spice mixture onto a plate. Evenly coat the pork pieces on all sides with dry rub. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a dutch oven or heavy – bottomed pot over medium – high; Add in the seasoned pork pieces, and sear all sides until browned (about 1 minute per side). Remove pork from the dutch oven.

The Pot

Pour in the beer (or chicken stock) and scrape the bottom of the dutch oven to deglaze and release the browned bits of pork. Add in the orange juice, and bring mixture to a boil.

image 2

If you make a separate chili sauce, add the  seared pork back into the pot, and then the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and then pour in the chipotle sauce.

Honey Maple

This is up to you. More spice, syrup and honey? taste and adjust to your pallet.  Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours.  If you have one, cook the meat in a large Dutch oven, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes at 350 degrees; uncover and cook 30 more minutes.

Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with toppings.

IMG_0016_2 copy

I normally make a quick guacamole using red onion, Rotel, cilantro, and lime. I like the spicy of the tomatoes and chili in the Rotel. It is a great recipe that I change up as my company demands.  I love a great carnitas taco. If this is too much for you and you want to take a look at the originals I have provided a link below, Enjoy!

Carnitas (Pulled Pork Tacos) By Lauren Zembron 

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos Recipe – Food Network Kitchen


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