Carnitas - Pork Butt

Cheep Meat Part 2 - Carnitas Tacos

Back when MJ and I lived in Fresno, I had a customer in Soledad, CA that I’d drive to visit. On my way out of town I’d stop for Carnitas to bring home from a little house/restaurant. We’d make tacos with these crispy, juicy knuckles of seasoned pork meat. When we moved to Texas, it was hard to find a replacement for the carnitas we loved. So we took it upon ourselves to figure it out. This recipe and technique is the culmination of that effort.

Also, while living in Fresno, I was introduced to “Barbecued Ribs, Smoked Butts, and Other Great Feeds” by Jeanne Voltz. My 6 year old nephew took great delight in calling it the “Butt Book” and then asking “Are you cooking from the Butt Book?” every chance he got (tee hee). Fast forward to today with my great friends in the Office 365 community and they are no more mature…Yes, I like smoked butts, I cannot lie!

The main thing you are faced with when buying a Pork Shoulder is “bone in” or “boneless”. For a recipe like this one it doesn’t matter, in fact boneless is probably easier. You have to subtract the weight of the bone from the usable meat to figure out how much yield you’ll get. The problem with boneless is when you want to smoke the whole thing. The bone helps to transfer the heat to the inside of the butt, saving hours in cooking time. The ones I get from Costco look like they played an extra on the set of Dexter. They are hopelessly dismantled and need to be tied back together. Unless you are making carnitas or pork stew, in which case they are great, because you are going to carve it up any way.


  • 3-5 lbs Pork Shoulder
  • 2 Poblano Peppers
  • 3 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 1-2 Serrano Peppers
  • 1 Onion
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 Cups beef broth

One last note. We used to broil up the whole batch then freeze or refrigerate it. It’s not worth it. They are better broiled right before you eat them.

The Latest