Smoked Pork Canitas
This Pork Carnitas recipe is essentially a pork confit…pork cooked in pork fat. We bought a smoker a few years back and get a lot of use out of it throughout the year. Typically, we will smoke a number of things at once. This time, along with the carnitas, we threw in an oxtail from our friends at A&B Distributors and a chicken carcass to make a broth out of for another dish.
A few notes on cooking first. If you don’t have a smoker, don’t panic. Cook it in your oven at 250° for 6 hours or so. You can even put it all in a slow cooker. We added a ½ lb of pork leaf fat, which you typically make lard out of. If you don’t have a freezer with a package of leaf fat sitting around, just use about a cup of lard from the supermarket. And this recipe works well with pork shoulder as well just reduce the leaf fat/lard by ½ as the shoulder has more fat within it.
For the next week, we used this pork in a number of incarnations to get the most out of it. For breakfast, we would fry it crisp and add a little apple cider vinegar, for dinner it was served over rice (cauliflower rice in our case), on chips, and of course a sandwich with pork, pickle, tomato, and some mayonnaise is hard to beat!
- 1 ½ lb pork loin
- 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
- 20 small tomatoes or 5 large tomatoes, quartered
- 2 banana peppers, thickly sliced
- 2 lemons, cut into 8ths
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ lb leaf fat or lard
- Remove pork loin from refrigerator 30 minutes before desired cooking time to bring to room temperature.
- Combine salt, cumin, thyme, parsley and black pepper in bowl.
- Slice pork into large, 3”-4” pieces and rub spice mixture on all surfaces.
- In large baking pan with 2” sides, add pork, vegetables, lemons, and lard.
- Heat smoker according to directions to 250° with water soaked wood (we used apple wood). When wood begins to smoke, place pan with pork and vegetable into smoker and close.
- Check pork in 6 hours. Piercing with a fork, pork should fall apart easily. Of not, return to smoker and check every 45 minutes. It took our pork 7 ½ hours.
- When fully cooked, remove from smoker and allow to cool for 30 minutes before using.
- Alternate Method: If you do not have a smoker, cook in oven set to 250° for same amount of time. Or cook for 7-8 hours in slow cooker.