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Mexican pork carnitas are given a smokey makeover in this delicious and easy recipe for Smoked Carnitas. These make for one killer taco!

Smoked Carnitas Tacos

How long does it take to make smoked carnitas?

Smoking isn’t an exact science. It’s all about the low and slow smokey cooking. The times listed in the written recipe are only an estimate. Actual cooking time depends on a variety of factors like how thick you cut your meat, and how consistent of a temperature your smoker has. It should take somewhere between 4 and 8 hours to cook the meat until it is tender, most likely at the lower end of that range.

What kind of pellets should I use?

The kind of pellets you use in your smoker will change the flavor of the meat slightly. For this recipe, we prefer using pecan pellets. You can also use cherry or competition blends. Experiment and find your own personal favorite.

What kind of smoker do you use?

We use a Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill. This recipe will work for any electric smoker like Camp Chef, Weber, Masterbuilt, Traeger, or other brand.

Smoked Pork Carnitas in a bowl with lime wedges

What if I don’t have a smoker?

Have a gas grill and still want some smoked goodness? You can mimic a smoker by making a wood chip packet to go on the grill. Soak some wood chips in water for 30 minutes, then wrap them in aluminum foil. Poke some small holes into the aluminum foil packet to let the smoke out and then place it on the grill over a flame. The packet will release smoke into the closed grill. Your gas grill won’t monitor the temperature the same way an electric smoker will, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the temperature as it cooks. Add another wood chip packet if needed to keep the smoke going.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other great recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

smoked carnitas tacos
Mexican pork carnitas are given a smokey makeover in this delicious and easy recipe for Smoked Carnitas. These make for one killer taco!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
  • 1 3-5 lb Pork Butt/Shoulder Roast
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Preheat an outdoor electric smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Cut pork into 1 inch-thick strips and place into a disposable aluminum foil pan.
  • Sprinkle on cumin, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and cloves. Drizzle on the vegetable oil. Toss until pork strips are well coated. 
  • Smoke at 225 degrees for 4 hours. After 4 hours, cover with aluminum foil. Return to the smoker and cook approximately 2 more hours until pork is tender and easily shreds.


Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 1056mg | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carnitas
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