Every time I think of pulled pork, making Carnitas pops straight into my mind! They are some of the tastiest Mexican foods. What are Carnitas? Well, it is seasoned pork and slow cooked, you will commonly see it in a pressure cooker but I love to smoke mine, causing it to be super tender and juicy. Once it reaches the point of shredding, you pan fry to a golden, crispy perfection. Pork Carnitas are juicy, crispy and full of flavor.pork with seasoning on it

Many people have their own recipes for Carnitas, but I recommend my personal recipe. Mango Habanero Pulled Pork Carnitas! The pork is slowly smoked with apple wood chunks, this gives the pulled pork a slight sweet and smoky flavor. From here, one of the most critical parts of smoking a pork shoulder happens, a two to three hour rest. While the pork is resting I make a Mango Habanero Salsa and mix it with the pulled pork once it’s shredded, just right before it hits the griddle. 

Okay, I am pumped to share my recipe. You can find it all right below!

seasonings in a bowl

Mango Habanero Pulled Pork Carnitas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12


  • 3 lb Pork shoulder
  • Mustard as a binder
  • 1 Red onion diced
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 1 pack Corn tortillas
  • 1-2 cups Jack cheese
  • Salt to taste

Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp Coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Dry mustard powder
  • 2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 2 tsp Onion powder

Mango Habanero Salsa

  • 2 Mangos grilled
  • 2 Habaneros seeded
  • ½ White onion
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Cumin
Keyword carnitas, easy carnitas recipe, mango habanero, pulled pork, pulled pork carnitas


1. Start off by prepping the pork butt by scoring the fat cap in a diamond pattern, this is known as the crosshatch technique. Now, blend your dry rub mixture in a bowl by adding: Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, dry mustard powder, dried oregano, garlic powder and onion powder (hand mix). From here, apply mustard as a binder, covering the whole surface area. Season generously, on all sides and let it sit for 30-45 minutes.

2. During the 30-45 minute period, fire up your smoker and set the temp at 250 degrees. Once the 250 is steady, add a few chunks of apple wood chunks, along with a water pan. Place the pork on and let it smoke. Keep your eye and check every 45 minutes to keep the temperature riding at 250 degrees. You can spritz every 45 minutes after the first 2 hour mark. 

3. When the pork reaches an internal temp of 165-170 degrees, remove it and wrap in butcher’s paper. Spray the butcher’s paper with apple cider vinegar prior to wrapping. Place it back on the smoker until your pork butt is probe tender in a few sections, typically 205 internal degrees. Once this happens, leave it wrapped and place in the cooler or wrap it in a towel and place in the oven. Rest for 2-3 hours.

4. During the resting period, roast the mangos, habaneros, onion and garlic. Once roasted, remove the skins and seed the habanero, place it in the food processor. Time to make the salsa, add all the ingredients: Mango, habanero, onion, garlic, honey, Worcestershire sauce, rice wine vinegar, cumin and salt. Blend for 2-3 minutes and place in the fridge until needed.Fruits and veggies on the napoleon grill

5. Remove the pork from the butcher’s paper and shred, I typically do this in an aluminum pan. Once shredded, add 1/3 or 1/2 of the mango habanero salsa and hand mix.

6. Fire up the griddle, carnitas time. Once set the surface area temp at 375 and add all of the pork, be sure to spread it out evenly and flat. Let it crisp for 3 minutes or so, flip and crisp the other side. Now place it back in the aluminum pan. Side note: be sure to have all the carnitas ingredients ready.

7. Add the corn tortillas to the griddle, toast for 1 minute and flip them. Once flipped, add cheese on half the tortilla and then add the crispy pork. Now fold the tortilla into a taco shape. Toast for another minute and flip. Be sure to have the tortillas toasted nicely. 

8. Remove and plate them, I like to top them with fresh red onion (diced) and cilantro with fresh lime juice.

9. Enjoy with friends and family!



Pork Recipes

Items used in This Recipe

Hasty-Bake Grill

Knitted Gloves

Meater +

Charcoal Chimney

Cast Iron Skillet

Firestarter Guard

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