A Recipe For Smoked Pork Belly Carnitas

We were making oven carnitas for a work assignment last week, and could not help but dream of how good they would be if cooked over a wood fire. Once we got back on the ground in New Orleans we hit the backyard and knocked out a quick batch

A Recipe For Smoked Pork Belly Carnitas

1 12lb Pork Belly (if it’s available find a local source for heritage pork)
¼ cup Kosher Salt
¼ cup Black Pepper

Method
Build fire in smoker (for this project I used Hickory wood and Kingsford briquettes)
Thoroughly combine salt and pepper
Sprinkle combination all over belly
Place belly, fat cap side down, on smoker
Roast for 5 hours flipping once at 3 hour mark

Remove from smoker and allow to cool for 30 minutes
Roughly chop meat into 1″ chunks, slabs, and bars

Notes:

  • I build a fire out of 18 Kingsford briquettes and place a half dozen Hickory chunks on top when the briquettes go to coals
  • This is a hot and fast recipe, and I run the smoker at 300-350 degrees
  • Your goal is to render a good bit of fat out of the belly, hence the warmer temperature
  • This makes an incredible carnitas taco base just take the roughly hewn chunks of meat, toss them in a super hot cast iron skillet and crisp them up a bit before folding them into tortillas
  • Cilantro and onions make a fine, simple garnish and you’ll be well ahead of the game if you knock out a quick salsa fresca to ladle over the tacos
  • Other great use for these carnitas: po boys, breakfast tacos, quesadillas, meat for bean-based soups, and Vietnamese stir fry
  • This is recipe number 208 on this website

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