2teaspoonsadobo saucefrom the can of chipotle peppers
For the Spicy Cabbage Slaw
4green onionscoarsely chopped
¼cupapple cider vinegar
2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepperto taste
1packagestortillascorn or flour
½pintcherry tomatoessliced for serving (optional)
fresh cilantrochopped for serving (optional)
Marinate the Pork
Prepare the marinade. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the thyme, garlic, onions, and chili powder; saute until onions are tender and spices are fragrant; about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cumin, coriander, orange and lime juices, and chipotle with adobo; cook just until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let cool completely.
Reserve 1 cup of the marinade. Pour the cooled marinade into a jar or airtight container. Refrigerate until needed.
Score the pork by cutting slits diagonally across the fat cap of the pork going in opposite directions to form a grid pattern.
Place the scored pork inside a large 2 gallon zip-top bag or into Briner Bucket. Pour the marinade over the pork. Seal the bag pressing out as much air as possible (or lock and cover). Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
Set up the Grill or Smoker:
Soak your wood chips for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the grill or smoker to 225 to 250 degrees F. Set a charcoal grill up for indirect heat with a 3-zone split fire, with a basket of charcoal on each side of the grill. Place the soaked wood chips on top of the coals. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)
Smoke the Pork
Place the marinated pork on the grill, cover with the lid, and smoke the meat. Bring the temperature up, using the vents to regulate the temperature inside the grill is about 225 degrees F. David likes to use a combination of dry and wet wood chips, alternating between the two. The dry gives a quick intense smoke and brings the heat up. The wet wood chunks provide a lower, slower smoke and bring the heat down. Heat adjustments can be made using this technique.
Check the grill or smoker every hour. You will need to add fresh coals and more wood chips to each side of the grill for at least the first 4 hours. Smoke the picnic shoulder until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 195 degrees F, about 5-6 hours; use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.
Rest and Shred
Remove the shoulder from the grill and let the pork rest tented loosely with aluminum foil for 30 minutes.
Shred the pork either with two forks, meat claws, or if the meat has cooled enough by hand.
Crisp Up the Carnitas
Heat the reserved marinade; pour small amounts over the shredded pork for added flavor and juiciness (Do not over-saturate).
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Spread the pork inside the pan. Allow the juices to evaporate, and the bottom side of the pork turns golden brown and crusty. Toss the pork and sear a little more - brown a little but not all over. You want tender, juicy bits - Carnitas! (see notes)
How To Make the Spicy Cabbage Slaw: (see notes)
Shred the cabbage; add to a large bowl with the shedded carrots, jalapenos, and green onions.Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, and celery seeds until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Cover with a lid and place into the refrigerator until needed.
About Internal Temp: The ideal temperature of a properly smoked pork shoulder is 190 to 195 degrees F. However, the internal temperature of the pork can increase by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill. When you take it off the grill, the temperature may rise to an optimal 205 degrees F, perfect! Any hotter than that could overcook the pork, which results in dry, chewy meat that won't shred.Crisping Up the Pork: Instead of searing, toss the pork with some of the warmed marinade. Spread the pork out on the foil-lined jelly roll pan and broil for 5 minutes, or until the meat is crispy. Remove from the oven and drizzle some more of the marinade onto the crispy pork and toss. Place the pan back under the broiler for 5 more minutes or until the meat is crispy. Reserve any leftover marinade for reheating.How To Freeze and Reheat The Applewood Smoked Carnitas: Don’t feel discouraged by the amount of rendered meat. You don’t need a party or even like football. While the spicy cabbage slaw will not freeze well, the carnitas freeze beautifully!To Freeze: Package the carnitas inside a freezer-safe zip-top bag, squeezing as much of the air out as possible. Freeze up to 2 to 3 months.To Reheat: Empty the carnitas from the freezer bag into a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add about ¼ cup of water to the pan and let the carnitas steam. Continue to warm until the meat has thawed and most of the water has evaporated. Time will vary depending on the amount of meat and the size of the carnitas.If freezing, you can pull the frozen carnitas out of the freezer to make a quick weeknight meal, perhaps transforming it into a new Mexican dish of choice.The Slaw: Be sure to make the spicy cabbage slaw ahead of time while the pork is smoking so that the flavors can marry and get happy together.The recipe was adapted from Bobby Flay.
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