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Traeger's Smoked Pork Carnitas

Posted by mmillet on April 30, 2014

Traeger's Smoked Pork Carnitas

"Carnitas" literally means "little meats" in Spanish, describing the process of shredding the braised meat and then sauteing it up in some tasty lard to get those coveted little crispy bites. Easy crowd-pleaser, right here. Although it may mean "little meats", it is certainly not little in succulence or tastiliciousness.


PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: about 3 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Mexquite, Hickory or Oak
SERVES: 6 to 8


One 3-1/2 to 4 pound well-marbled boneless pork shoulder
One 12-ounce bottle or can of beer
Water as needed
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening

For serving:
Corn or flour tortillas
Pico de gallo
Salsa verde
Sliced radishes
Diced onions
Fresh cilantro
Shredded cabbage or lettuce
Shredded cheese


Slice the pork into 2-inch chunks and arrange it in a Dutch oven or roasting pan.

Add the beer and enough water to barely cover the meat. Stir in the salt and the cumin.

On the stovetop over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 300 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the pan with the meat to the grill grate.

Roast the pork, uncovered, until the meat is very tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add a bit more water to the pan if most of the liquid has evaporated.

When the pork is tender, drain off any remaining cooking liquid and discard. Break the meat into bite-size chunks with a fork or two.

(The recipe can be prepared to this point up to three days ahead. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.)

Add the lard to the pan and return the pan to the grill grate. Increase the temperature of the Traeger to 400 degrees. Let the meat “fry” in the lard until it is browned and some bits are slightly crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Traeger's Smoked Pork Carnitas

Serve with the suggested accompaniments.

Traeger's Smoked Pork Carnitas


Pork Carnitas Recipe.docx (12.40 kb)