I’ve been saving a pork butt roast in the freezer for something that could last more than just one meal.  I love the aroma of slow cooked pork and anything that can be stuffed in a tortilla makes for an easy and tasty meal.  These chunks of pork were cooked low and slow with the flavors of chiles and citrus to the point of falling apart.  I had a plan to make tacos one night and a use the leftover carnitas for a pot pie or shepherds pie for Joe and I the next night. After all, this was a 3 pound roast, surely there would be plenty for the next day . . . but as it turns out my youngest/midnight bandit ate near all of it before morning!


This is very easy to put together.  You’ll need about a 3 pound pork butt or shoulder roast, chicken stock, an orange, a lime, onion, garlic, salt, smoked Spanish paprika, Mexican oregano and Ancho chile powder.


Combine your spices together, coarsely chop the onion and peel the garlic.  Juice the orange and lime and cut the pork roast into chunks.


Add all of the seasoning to the pork meat and stir to combine.


Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat.  Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and add the chunks of pork to the pot.


Stir the pot until all the meat has been browned on all sides.


Add the onion and whole garlic cloves to the pot.


Add 1/2 cup of stock and all of the juiced orange and lime.


Heat just to boiling, then cover with a lid and place in a 250 degree oven for 4 hours.


After 4 hours the carnitas are so tender they fairly fall apart.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid from the pot and discard the rest.


Now it’s time to make some red chile sauce.  You’ll need 2 dried chiles of choice.  I like the combination of an Ancho chile and a NM red chile.  Toast them on a cast iron griddle for a minute or two, turning often over medium heat, just until they become fragrant.


Now place them in a pot with enough hot water to cover them.  Set a lid on to steep the chiles for 30 minutes or until the chiles become soft and pliant.


Place the softened chiles in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup of the juices from the pot and the juice of 1 orange.


Blend until you have a thick red sauce.  Strain the sauce into a bowl and take a taste, most likely it will need salt.


Waiting patiently for some red chile sauce.


Add the strained red sauce and gently stir it into the carnitas.


I like these carnitas for tacos, sandwiches, pot pie or shepherds pie.


Tonight it’s soft taco night with flour tortillas.  I topped them with leftover salad, avocado, sweet corn and cotija cheese.


Mexican Carnitas

3 pounds Pork Butt Roast
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Orange, juiced
1 Lime, juiced
1/2 large Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, whole

Spice Rub

1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Cumin

Red Chile Sauce

1 dried Ancho Chile
1 dried NM Red Chile
1 Orange, juiced
1/2 cup Liquid from Pot
Salt to Taste

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Cut a pork butt roast into 1 inch cubes, set aside.  Combine the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl.  Sprinkle spice rub over the pork and stir to combine.  Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil in the pot and add the pork.  Stir the pot as the pork begins to sear.  Let cook 5 – 7 minutes.  When the pork has browned on all sides, add the chopped onion, garlic cloves, orange and lime juice, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, place a lid on the pot and transfer to the oven.  Cook in 250 degree oven for 4 hours.   Afterwards, reserve 1/2 cup of liquid from the pot and discard the rest.

Toast the dried chiles on a dry griddle or skillet for a minute or two turning often.  When they become fragrant, transfer to a pot and cover the chiles with hot water.  Cover and let steep 30 minutes or until the chiles become soft and pliant.  Remove the stem and place chiles in a blender.  Add the juice of 1 orange and 1/2 cup of the liquid from the cooked pork.  Blend on high until smooth.   Strain the sauce, salt to taste and pour back into the cooked pork.  Gently stir the sauce until all the pork is coated.

To make tacos, place meat in corn or flour tortillas and top with your favorite toppings.

Makes 6 – 8 servings