Monday, November 8, 2021

Pork Carnitas & Santa Maria Style Pinquito

While watching an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives recently, Guy visited Chuy’s Taco Shop in San Diego, CA and one of the dishes they highlighted was Chuy’s Burrito which was stuffed with a chile relleno and pork carnitas and it just had to be tried.  I’ll cover the burrito in the next post so this one will be about the carnitas.  I didn’t care for Chuy’s recipe for the them so I found one from Downshiftology that I preferred so I used it for that part of the meal and I adapted it for my 10lb. Boston butt to get the recipe below.

Pork Carnita’s Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch


10 pounds pork shoulder

2½ tbsp. chili powder

2½ tbsp. ground cumin

2½ tbsp. dried oregano leaves

2½ tsp. salt or more, to taste

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions roughly chopped

juice from 2 large oranges

juice from 1 lime

¼ tsp. liquid smoke


1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Trim and discard excess fat from the pork and break down into smaller pieces (about ten 3”x3” plus the bone piece).

3. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and season the pork on all sides.

4. Add the onion, garlic and juices to the bottom of a 12"x20" pan and top with the pork in a single layer.

5. Cover with foil and cook to an internal temperature of 205F (about 3 hours).

6. Uncover the pan, and flip the pieces of meat to allow the top surface to soak in the juices while cooling.

7. Remove the pork from the pan, shred and add to a slow cooker along with the strained and defatted pan juices and liquid smoke.  Set cooker on warm until ready to serve.

8. Taste and add more seasonings and salt and pepper, if needed.

At this point you can eat the pork as it, or (to be truly authentic) you can broil or fry it to get crispy edges.  I fried individual servings in a little oil then flipped and added some shredded cheddar to each serving.

We plated and topped with pico di gallo.

To go with the carnitas, I made California’s Santa Maria Style Pinquito Beans using the recipe from Debbie on her A Feast For The Eyes blog, which I doubled. I won’t reproduce it here but you can click on the link to visit her site for pics and the recipe.

The Verdict:

I’ve ordered carnitas once in a restaurant and I received dry hunks of pork and never ordered it again and never made them.  By keeping mine in the liquid until ready to fry, I ended up with the desired crispy edges but the meat was still moist, tender, and delicious.  The beans were also a hit so we had a very enjoyable meal and I’m looking forward to the upcoming burritos.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


11/5/21 event date


  1. Larry, That is a fine looking meal! Love the way you did the carnitas...there isn't much worse than dry pork. Beans look great! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. How did you defat the drippings? And ... I look forward to the burrito. It all sounds delicious.

  3. I love carnitas and yours look tasty. Chile rellenos are my very favorite Mexican dish so I can't wait to see the burrito. YUM!


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