Chili Con Carne

Chili Con Carne

No beans, no tomatoes – it’s all about meat and heat. This is a modern version of the chili dish that the Aztecs introduced to the Spaniards and that the Mexican vaqueros brought north with them. A warm and hearty dish like this to ward off the sub-zero weather is just what a lot of us need right now.

3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast
10 dried chile peppers (I only used Guajillo, but a mix of New Mexico, Ancho, and pequin would be good too)
1 (7-ounce) can Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 quart beef stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican, if you can)
Sea or Kosher salt and black pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 300°F.

Wearing gloves, stem and seed the dried chiles. Cover with hot (but not boiling) water, and let steep until they are softened – about 30 minutes.

While the chiles are soaking, coat the roast with a little peanut oil on all sides and then dust with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large dutch oven until smoking. Sear the roast on all sides until browned (about 4 minutes a side). Remove roast to a plate.

Drain the chiles, discard the soaking water. Put the chiles, can of Chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and about half the stock in a food processor and give them a whirl until they form a smooth sauce.

Put the onions in a layer in the bottom of the dutch oven. Top with the roast and any accumulated juices. Pour chili sauce over it all and add enough of the remaining beef stock to bring the liquid in the pan about a quarter of the way up the roast.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the lid on and move to the whole works to the oven for an hour.

Chili Con Carne

Braise the roast for an hour, then flip it over and add more stock if needed. Continue cooking until very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside to shred the meat (I used a 9×13 cake pan to keep everything contained).

Chili Con Carne

Shred the meat and remove any nasty bits. I used a pair of bear paws to break it into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat and any juices that have accumulated back to the Dutch oven.

Move the Dutch oven to the stove top and bring chili to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Let cook uncovered until the chili is thick and the meat has completely fallen apart.

Serve this with cornbread and garnish with cilantro, diced white onion, sliced radishes, sour cream, chopped green onions, grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips – you name it.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This was a very rich and filling dish. Very meat-centric, but the Guajillo and Chipotles kept it interesting with a nice complex, smoky, and lasting heat. I can sure see any leftovers being used as a filling for tacos or tamales.

Beef and Noodles

Beef and Noodles

This classic braised beef dish, featuring hearty gluten-free tagliatelle pasta from the fine folks at Jovial Foods, is the perfect cure for the arctic temperatures we’ve been having lately.

1 3-5 pound chuck roast
1-2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 cup red wine
1-2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
16 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups peas
1 1/2 cups pearl onions
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons corn-starch
1 box (9-ounces) Jovial Gluten-Free Brown Rice Tagliatelle
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Pat roast dry and sprinkle with a good coating of steak seasoning.

On the stove top, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it starts to ripple. Sear the roast for 3 to 4 minutes per side (mine was fairly flat, so it only had two sides) until it has a nice brown crust on it.

Remove the meat to a plate. Reduce the heat and add the onions. Cook until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms start to give off their moisture, about another 5 minutes.

Increase the heat a little and deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom to get up all the tasty browned bits.

Turn off the heat and return the roast and any accumulated juices back to the dutch oven. Add the Worcestershire sauce and enough beef stock to cover the mushrooms and come about a quarter of the way up the site of the roast.

Put the lid on and move to the whole works to the oven.

Beef and Noodles

Braise the roast for an hour, then flip it over and add more stock if needed. Continue cooking until very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside to shred the meat (I used a 9×13 cake pan to keep everything contained).

Move the Dutch oven to the stove top and bring the mushrooms and stock to a boil. Add the peas and onions, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the onions are tender – about 5 minutes.

Beef and Noodles

Shred the meat and remove any nasty bits. I used a pair of bear paws to break it into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat and any juices that have accumulated back to the Dutch oven.

Stir in the meat and the cream. Taste and adjust seasoning. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until you get a smooth slurry. Stir this into the stew and cook until it starts to thicken – about 5 minutes.

Let the stew simmer while you cook the pasta according to the directions on the box until it is al dente (about 2 minutes less than the recommended time). Drain and toss with the butter. Serve the stew over the noodles.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This is one rich and tasty stew. Browning and braising the meat in the same pot and building the stew up from the braising liquid gives this dish a complex, beefy flavor.

Again, the Jovial noodles held up much better than another gluten-free noodles I’ve tried. They didn’t even fall apart when I reheated the leftovers. I’m impressed.

Weeknight Coq au Vin

Coq au Van

This is not Julia Child’s masterful rendition of the classic French chicken dish. This is Dave’s “it’s-7-freakin-degrees-out-there-and-I-need-me-some-comfort-food-right-now-dammit” version, by way of Cook’s Illustrated and the Star Tribune.

2 bottles (750 ml) medium-bodied red wine (One for you, one for the bird. A jammy Pinot Noir works great for both)
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons dried parsley, divided
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4 -inch lardons (look it up, it’s worth it)
3-4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half crosswise
3 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, chopped
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato powder
2 tablespoons flour (I used gluten-free baking mix)
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauce pan, combine 1 bottle of wine, stock, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 3 cups (about 25 minutes).

Coq au Van

While that’s boiling, cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until browned and crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off half the fat and reserve.

Coq au Van

Once the wine and stock are reduced, pour through a strainer to remove the herbs, and set the reduced wine mixture aside for later.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the bacon fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat just until just smoking. Working in small batches, brown the chicken on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Add more bacon fat as needed. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.

When all of the chicken is browned, melt the butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. When it stops foaming, add the onions and mushrooms. Cook and stir occasionally until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the tomato powder and flour. Cook and stir until well combined.

Add the reduced wine mixture, scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula to loosen the browned bits. Return the chicken and any juices that have accumulate on the plate. Add the reserved bacon to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and deduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Give it a stir, crack the lid about half an inch, and increase the heat just a titch. Continue to cook, stirring every so often, until chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced a bit (about another 25 minutes).

Coq au Van

Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, top with remaining parsley and serve immediately over egg noodles or mashed potatoes (or fauxtatoes from She Cooks He Cleans, in this case) with the remaining bottle of wine.

The Verdict Verdict: ★★★★★
Nothing but goodness here – tender chicken rolling in a savory sauce full of onions, mushrooms, and bacon.  Reducing the wine and stock in advance goes a long way in creating a wonderfully umami-rich sauce that tastes like you’ve been cooking it all day long.

The only changes I would make would be to go with the more classic pearl onions (frozen and bagged, thank you) and maybe add a bit of carrots for depth and color.

The Nutrition
Comforting doesn’t have to destroy your diet. By bumping up the mushrooms and  dialing back on the butter a little from the original recipe, this 8-serving dish is 400 calories and 10 Weight Watchers points.

One year ago – Roast Chicken with Winter Veggies
Two years ago – New Pans!

1st Carnitas of the Year

It’s been waaaaay too long since I’ve made up a batch of carnitas. I do love those melty bits of tender pigginess, and they really don’t take that long to make, so I have no excuse for this being the 1st batch of 2012.

I usually make a double batch of carnitas using two pork shoulder roasts (Boston Butt), but I had some really good results last year by switching to a single batch made in my Emile Henry Dutch oven. It just seemed to cook more evenly and had a better ratio of crispy bits to tender chunks.

8 pounds pork shoulder roast
Juice of 3 oranges (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon achiote oil

Set your grill up for a 5 hour cook over indirect heat at 350°F. On the Big Green Egg I used an inverted plate setter with a trivet on it to diffuse the heat and keep the bottom from burning.

While the grill is getting up to temp, cut the roast into 3 to 4-inch chunks, discarding any stringy connective tissue, but keeping all of the fat.

Combine all of the ingredients in a Dutch oven, and stir to combine. Cover the oven with a lid and set it on the grill. Let it simmer for an hour. The orange juice should be bubbly and the fat in the meat should have started to break down.

After the fat has started to render, you need to reduce the liquid and crisp up the meat. Remove the lid and let it simmer for another hour. Keep checking and stirring once an hour until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pork has started to fry in its own fat (about 3 hours total).

Start checking the meat every 15 minutes to make sure the meat is getting crispy, but not becoming dry or burned. Total cook time for this batch was just over 4 hours.

Of course, you need a proper beverage to go with carnitas. My dear wife’s Sangria fit the bill nicely – cool and refreshing and it really complimented the richness of the carnitas.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Oh my, these were gooooooood – crispy and tender and juicy. I’m finding that the more I pare back the ingredient list, the better this dish becomes. Not that this dish needs any more added fat, but the achiote oil added a nice, round earthiness. I might go with lime and orange juice next time to add a little more citrus bite.

The Nutrition:
Carnitas will never be diet food. Four ounces is 5 Weight Watchers Points and 190 calories, so use it sparingly.

ONE YEAR AGO – Belizean Grilled Shrimp



Chili Verde

Despite our lack of snow, winter is here and I’ve wanted to make a hearty stew. I showed this Chile Verde recipe from Simple Recipes to my dear wife, and the next thing I knew we were on our way to our favorite mercado to pick up the ingredients.

2 pounds tomatillos
1 head garlic, whole
2 jalapenos
1 bunch cilantro leaves
5 pounds pork shoulder (aka pork butt)
2 large white onion
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

This recipe boosts the flavor and adds some smoky goodness to the dish by fire-roasting all of the veggies first, so set your grill up for a direct cook at 500°F. While it is getting up to temp, prep the veggies by husking the tomatillos and cutting the onion in half, leaving the root end and skin on.

Put the tomatillos, onions, and jalapenos directly on the grill. They will cook at different rates, so use a pair of tongs to keep everything moving. Start the onions cut side down and flip when they get some nice grill marks, about 3 minutes. Let them finish cooking skin side down so they kind of roast in their own juices. Turn the tomatillos and peppers often so that they pick up a nice char. Remove the peppers when the skin is mostly blistered. Pull the tomatillos and onions when they start to soften. Put the garlic on just as you’re taking the smaller tomatillos off and cook for just a couple of minutes until the papery skin starts to char.

Once the veggies are done, you can move inside to the oven or set up the grill for an indirect cook. I opted for the “more fire = good” option and set the Big Green Egg up for a 350°F cook using the plate setter and a trivet to diffuse the heat.

While waiting for the veggies to get cool enough to handle, trim the excess fat from the pork butt and cut the meat into 2-inch chunks.

Load the meat into a large, oiled Dutch oven and season with a little salt and pepper. Move the uncovered Dutch oven to the grill and let the pork cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until the meat is browned and most of the fat has rendered out, about 2 hours.

While the meat is cooking, peel the garlic, skin and quarter the onions, and skin and seed the peppers. Load all the roasted veggies, cilantro, and half the chicken stock into the food processor for a whirl.

Pulse all of the ingredients until they are finely chopped and start to form a smooth sauce. Add more chicken stock if needed.

Once the pork is nicely browned and rendered, pour off all but a couple tablespoons of fat from the Dutch oven. Pour the verde sauce over the pork and add the cumin, green chiles, oregano, chile powder, and the rest of the chicken stock. Stir to combine. Add just enough water (about a cup) so that the meat is just floating in the sauce.

Put the lid on the Dutch oven, close the grill, and let everything simmer together for an hour, stirring about every 15 minutes. 

Add another cup of water to the Dutch oven and let it cook, uncovered, until the pork is falling apart and the chili has reduced to a thick stew (about 1 hour). Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and a maybe a little more chile powder.

Served as a stew with tortilla chips on the side. It’s also great with rice and beans (with plenty of corn toritilas for chasing the sauce) or cook it until it’s a little thicker for taco filling.

The Verdict: ★★★★½ This thick, meaty stew was wonderful. I left just enough fat in the pan so that the sauce was luscious and rich. The pork and cumin provided a meaty base while the peppers and the tomatillos added a nice green heat at the top.

The original recipes included some anaheim or poblano chiles, and I would add those next time to give the dish a little more “middle” heat.

The Nutrition: Lusciousness comes at a price – 439 calories per 2-cup serving and 11 Weight Watchers points. Drain off more of the oil and serve it over sauteed bell peppers and onions to make it a little healthier.



Lemon Chicken Tagine

I saw this wonderful Lemon Garlic Chicken with Goat Cheese recipe over at She Cooks He Cleans and I knew I had to give it a try. I’m not generally a fan of “fusion” cooking – no sushi tacos here – but this blending of a classic chicken dish with some Moroccan cooking techniques really piqued my interest.

After a recent trip to our local Greek market, I had some excellent domestic feta and green olives stuffed with garlic in the fridge. I wanted to incorporate them into this dish and push it a just little further east along the Mediterranean.

You could certainly make this dish in a Dutch oven, but I’ve got this rockin’ red Emile Henry tagine, so of course I used that.

Here’s my adaptation:

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped fine (I used thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Some mint or cilantro would work well too.)
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
6 ounces feta, crumbled, plus more for serving
1 lemon, cut into 8 slices lengthwise
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 (14.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 pound green olives stuffed with garlic (or 1/2 pound green olives and 6 cloves of garlic)
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Over medium heat on stove top, heat olive oil in the tagine (or a Dutch oven). Add the onion and cook until it has softened and started to brown a bit (about 5 minutes).

Add the cumin, turmeric, paprika, and salt. Stir and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add lemon juice and stir to deglaze the pan. Arrange the lemon wedges in the pan. Cover with the garbanzo beans, chicken thighs, herbs, olives, fruit, and tomatoes. Top with feta.

Put the cover on the tagine and move to the oven. Cook for 60 minutes. Remove the lid and check for doneness. The tagine braises the food, so the pan juices should be bubbling and the meat should be very tender. This batch wasn’t quite done at an hour, so I rearranged the thighs so they were covered in the juices, put the lid back on, and let it cook for another 30 minutes.

When done, carefully remove the tagine from the oven.

Tagine safety note: Take the lid off the tangine before removing it, as steam can spit out from under the lid (palm blister). Put the lid on a heat-proof surface and cover with a pot holder to remind you that it is still very hot (finger blister).

Serve straight from the pan with more feta to crumble over top.

The Verdict: ★★★½☆
Amazing mix of flavors – rich chicken bathed in creamy golden juices set off by the salty olives and tangy lemon. I continue to be amazed at how the tagine concentrates flavors.

So what’s with the 3.5 stars? I over-crowded the tagine with too many chicken thighs, so the dish steamed more than braised and I didn’t get the browning I wanted. Eight thighs next time. Also, I really don’t think the fruit brought anything to the party. It distracted from the nice mix of traditional herbs and Moroccan spices. I might add a little more heat to the dish with some black pepper and/or Aleppo pepper.

Many thanks to She Cooks He Cleans for their great recipe.

Zac Brown Chili

My name is Dave, and I’m a Parrothead. Whew, glad I got that off my chest.

I am a huge fan of Jimmy Buffet and often wish for little more than to be able to sail off to some salty piece of land. Sigh…

I have damn near every song Jimmy has ever recorded, so I was intrigued when Jimmy performed with the Zac Brown Band and said that when it came time to “pass the Tiki torch” he was going to pass it off to Zac.

That’s one hell of a recommendation, but I took one listen to Zac’s The Foundation and it was all over. I now have both it and You Get What You Give in permanent rotation on my CD player. He’s not Jimmy, and that’s a good thing, but they both share a love for great lyrics, general irreverence, and that wonderful country/reggae/Caribbean sound.

Now I hear that Zac has a cookbook called Southern Ground coming out and I just had to give his chili recipe a try. This is my version:

1 lb. beef-tenderloin tips, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork or chorizo
1 medium white onion, diced
1 tablespoon masa flour or cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can beef stock
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken stock
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chilies
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, chopped fine
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons medium chili powder

Brown all the meat and the onion in a large dutch oven or other grill-safe pan. Drain if needed. Add the masa, garlic, stock, sauce, chilies, cumin,  jalapeño, pepper, and chili powder.

Simmer for an hour, then add:

1 (10-ounce) can Rotel Tomato & Green Chilies
4 tablespoons medium chili powder
2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

Simmer for 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings, and serve with a sharp grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of crema.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Excellent chili! Much beefier and less tomato-based than my usual recipes. The deep, rich, and well-rounded heat didn’t overtake the dish. I’m not sure what adding the seasoning in 2 waves buys this recipe, but I’m not one to argue chili with a southerner.

“But you only get once chance at life to leave your mark upon it
And when a pony he comes riding by you better set your sweet ass on it”

Let it Go, Zac Brown Band

Carnitas with Pickled Onions

Ah, carnitas – those melty, tender, bits of pig cooked in its own juices.  I do love them and continue to refine my recipe. This version uses slightly larger chunks of pork shoulder than I normally use, then simmered in citrus juice until the fat renders and the meat starts to get all brown and crispy. The pickled onions are a common Mexican garnish and really add a tangy compliment to the meat.


2 boneless pork shoulder roasts (aka Boston Butt), about 14 pounds
Juice of 3 oranges (about 1 cup)
Juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin

I set my Big Green Egg up for an 8 hour cook over indirect heat at 300°F. I used the plate setter with a trivet on it to diffuse the heat and keep the bottom from burning.

While the BGE was heating up, I cut the pork into big (4-inch) chunks, discarding any nasty pieces of connective tissue, but keeping all of the fat.

I combined all of the ingredients into a 12-quart Dutch oven, put the oven on the grill and let it simmer for an hour.  I gave it a stir and then let it go for another hour. I kept checking and stirring once an hour until most of the liquid had evaporated and the pork had started to fry in its own fat (about 5 hours).  Then I checked it every 15 minutes to make sure it was getting crispy, but not becoming dry or burned. Total cook time was just over 6 hours.

Pickled Onions

1 red onion, halved lengthwise, ends removed, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper to taste

I put the onions in a saucepan, added just enough water to cover, and boiled until tender (about 1 minute). I remove them from heat,  rinsed with cold water, and drained.

I put the onions in a plastic container, added the lime juice and vinegar, and seasoned to taste with a couple of grinds of black pepper and about a teaspoon of kosher salt. I sealed the container and stored it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.

Simple Carnitas


Pork, water, salt – that’s it for this simple batch of carnitas.

I set up my Big Green Egg  for an indirect cook – filling the firebox with lump charcoal and using the plate setter with a trivet on it to diffuse the heat. Once the Egg had stabilized at 300°F, I added a couple of chunks of hickory for smoke.

I cut an 8 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt)  into 3-inch chunks, discarding any big pieces of connective tissue, but keeping all of the fat. I put the meat into a 12-quart Dutch oven, mixed in 2 tablespoon of kosher salt, and added a cup of water.

I put the Dutch oven on the grill uncovered, closed the lid, and let it simmer undisturbed for about an hour. The idea is to have the water render the fat out of the meat, then when the water evaporates the meat starts to fry in it’s own lovely grease.

I gave it a stir, and let it continue to cook for another hour until the liquid had cooked down and the meat began to brown. There was enough fat rendered from this batch to brown the meat, but had there not been, I would have added a little lard or peanut oil.

Once the meat started to brown I started checking  and stirring  about every 15 minutes until the meat was crispy, but not dry or burned. The meat was done after about 3 hours total cooking time.

Here it is served on hot corn tortillas with a big glob of guacamole. Heaven.

Pork in Adobo


It’s cold and I’m on a chile roll. Slow-cooked pork shoulder in adobo (red chile sauce) is one of my favorite Dutch oven dishes. It’s a bit of work, but well worth the time and trouble. This recipe makes enough sauce for 2 batches, so I always freeze half of it in a food-saver bag.

12 Guajillo Chiles, dried
8 Ancho Chiles, dried
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup olive oil
12 ounces Mojo Criollo
1 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Achiote paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin, ground
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
8 pounds pork butt (shoulder roast)

Wearing rubber gloves, stem and seed the chiles. If you gently pull the stem off  it takes most of the seeds with it. Cut open the side of the pepper with kitchen shears, then spread it open and scrape out the remaining seeds and veins.

In a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat, fry the chiles in small batches for just for about 15-20 seconds a side until they start to change color and become fragrant. As they finish cooking, remove them to the bowl of water.

When all of the chiles are cooked and in the bowl, use a small plate to weight them down so they are completely covered in water. Let this sit 15 to 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Drain the chiles, discarding the soaking water, and add them to the onion and garlic. Stir in the water, Mojo Criollo, chicken broth, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the chile mix until smooth. Add the salt, sugar, cumin, and oregano. Cook until the sauce is thick enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool, divide the sauce and freeze half for later.

Bone the pork butt and cut into half inch cubes, removing any excess fat or connective tissue. Place in a large, sealable container – a gallon-size freezer bag set inside a 9×13 baking pan works fine. Add the adobo, mix well, seal tightly, and refrigerate at least 24 hours (48 is ever so much better), turning often.


The Cook

Set your grill or smoker up for at least a 5 hour cook over indirect heat at 300°F. On my my Big Green Egg that means filling the firebox with lump charcoal and using the plate setter with a trivet on it to diffuse the heat. Once the Egg had stabilized at 300°F, I added a couple of chunks of hickory for smoke.

Pour the meat and marinade into a large dutch oven or other grill-safe pan. Put the pot in the cooker uncovered. For the first few hours, stir the pork only once every hour or so. The longer you wait between stirring, the more the chunks of pork on the top will start to brown.

Keep a close watch and stir more often once the adobo thickens up and the meat starts to fall apart. You may want to add a little water or stock to keep the bottom from burning.  Total cook time is about 3 to 5 hours. The dish is done when the meat completely falls apart and most of the liquid is gone.


We served this batch on corn tortillas with a little cilantro. It was outstanding.

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