Hubby and the kids are hiking around on Mount Baker and won't be home until dinner which gives me plenty of time to (1) enjoy having the house to myself and (2) slow cook something wonderful on the Big Green Egg.  I've always wanted to try carnitas so today's my chance.  First I had to make a trip to True Value in West Seattle for a cast iron Dutch oven because I just couldn't see using one of my nice pots on the BGE.

The Big Green Egg is heating up to about 300 – 350 with some wood chips soaking (alder only because that's all I have on hand) while I cut 4-5 lbs country style pork ribs into thirds…some have bones and that's okay with me.  I'll just pick them out later!  I've added 1 diced onion, 1 head of garlic cut in half (I may have gone overboard here), 2 cinnimon sticks, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of cumin.  1 cup of orange juice (I tried to do fresh squeezed but had to add some store bought juice since I was very shy of the cup) and 1 tablespoon of grated zest from the orange.  I top this goodness with chicken broth until everything is submerged…I actually came up a little short on the broth (what I had in the fridge) so instead of opening a whole new box of broth, I'm using a little left over beef broth (shh…don't tell anyone…I love cleaning out the fridge).

pork carnitas It's about 1:45pm and the pork is on the BGE at 350 with no lid on the dutch oven and the BGE lid closed.  Now I can go walk my old pug and clean up the kitchen while this cooks for about an hour.  

3:00 and the pork is still simmering away. I just gave it a good stir and I'm going to let it simmer some more.  I also used this opportunity to add more chips for smoke.  I'll check again in about an hour or so… now I'm starting to wonder if this will get done in time for dinner!

4:00 and we have progress! I'm beginning to think we WILL have carnitas for dinner tonight!


5:00pm: my BGE has been stuck at 300 degrees for the last hour which would be great if we were having dinner at 7:00… I had to remove the cast iron pot of pork, the indirect plate insert and add more lump coal. I need this to get cranked up closer to 350 or I'll be making frozen pizza for a hungry son.

6:00pm: my hikers aren't back home yet but I know they will be any minute!  And the carnitas are doing great… I've seen some recipes where they add peanut oil to help it carmalize and crisp…it just doesn't sound good to me.  I'm adding a tablespoon of bacon grease (I save my bacon grease drippings)…this is a pork dinner, right?


I'm roasting some jalepenos on the side and I'm making a rice, tomato & bean dish…if it turns out, I'll try to remember my recipe.  UPDATE: it turned out pretty darn good!  Click the link above for the recipe.

I'll update this post with a photo of the finished product: DINNER!!