If you like spicy, smoky foods, this taco recipe is definitely worth trying. Consider this recipe a smokier, spicier twist on the classic carnitas recipe. Instead of slow roasting a pork shoulder in an oven with a blend of garlic, orange juice, and spices, we instead put the pork shoulder on our smoker to add a smoky flavor with crisp outside pieces. After smoking the meat to perfection, we shred the meat and then add a blended salsa that uses chipotle peppers to add even more smoke flavor, in addition to a decent spicy kick!
Chipotle peppers are smoke dried jalapeño peppers, so while they aren’t the most spicy peppers available, they do pack a good kick, particularly when you use the seeds, like we do in this recipe. We like to use canned chipotles in adobo sauce for more flavor, but if you would prefer to use plain chipotle peppers, that is just fine. We think this taco is best when topped in a traditional style with chopped red onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and a squeeze of lime. We think these toppings really bring out the best flavor of the smoked pork.
What do you think of this taco? Did you top it differently or make any changes to the recipe? Let us know in the comments below!
- 4-5 lb Boneless Pork Shoulder
- 1/2 can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (use more or less to adjust to your preferred spiciness)
- 2 can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies (like Rotel)
- 1 Red Onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 clove Garlic (roughly chopped)
- 1 Lime (juiced)
- 12 Tortillas (for serving)
- 1 Red Onion (diced)
- Cilantro (for serving)
- Queso Fresco (chopped)
- Lime (for serving)
Generously season your pork shoulder on all sides with salt and pepper. Set your smoker to cook with indirect heat at 275ºF, and a suitable smoke such as pecan, apple, or cherry. Once the smoker is hot and smoking, place the pork shoulder in the smoker, and cook for approximately 8 hours, until the pork reaches 195-200ºF.
Once the pork shoulder is done cooking, remove from the smoker, and place in an aluminum tray or similar pan. Let rest for 10 minutes.
While resting, prepare the salsa, by adding the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (add the entire pepper, including seeds and sauce), diced tomatoes in chiles, rough chopped onion and garlic, and lime juice to a blender. Blend until combined and chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
After the pork shoulder has rested, use two porks to pull the meat apart inside the aluminum tray. Pour the salsa on top of the pork, and mix together, making sure you all the pieces are covered in the salsa.
Assemble tacos by placing pork meat, chopped red onion, cilantro, and queso fresco on your favorite tortilla shells. Serve with wedges of lime to squeeze on top. Enjoy!