Spices and Carnitas…

Spices, Spices, and Spices
Soooo you know how I like to keep it natural most of the time, right? I found this great little store on main street, Orrs Trading Company next to the Avalon Theater. At first it looks like a bead and novelty shop, but if you walk past the interesting trinkets in the back you can buy bulk herbs, spices, and teas. I was actually compared to kid in a candy store! I bought paprika, granulated garlic, dried basil, pure dried stevia (more on that later), spirulina, and a tea mixture.  The Deborah was working in the store and she was wonderful to talk with and very helpful. There are also tons of other non food things to shop for, beads, leather, bones, arrows, jewelry, etc. If you haven’t been to Orrs I recommend you get there quick.
What did I make with my purchases? Pork Carnitas… nuff said.


  • 3-4 pounds of boneless pork shoulder (may be called Boston butt) or 4-5lbs of bone-in pork shoulder

Spice rub

Note: This amount of spice works well for the amount of meat we normally use (3-4lbs), but it’s a simple ratio so simply scale it for your amount of meat

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Braising liquid

  • 3/4 cup no sugar added apple juice
  • Water to cover (for our pan that’s usually about 2 cups)


  1. Heat a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed oven-ready lidded pan over medium high heat with just enough vegetable oil (or lard if you have it) to cover the bottom .
  2. Pre-heat oven to 300ºF
  3. Cut pork into 1-2″ cubes, trimming large sections of fat off (we need fat for the flavor, so just cut off any real large pieces). Toss pork pieces with spice rub.
  4. Brown the cubed pork well in the dutch oven, going in batches so there is only one layer of meat at a time.
  5. Introduce all of the meat back to the pan and cover with water until it’s nearly submerged.
  6. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Cook covered for two hours.
  7. After letting the pork cool for a few minutes work through with your hands to separate and discard any fat or gristle pieces that hadn’t melted in the braise. Tear the meat into smaller pieces.  I used my handy dandy Pampered Chef Mix N Chop (very cool for ground beef and several other applications).
  8. Turn your broiler on to high and place a rack towards the top
  9. Toss the now shredded pork with some of the reduced braising liquid (that should have boiled down significantly by now) and spread in a single layer on a sheet pan.
  10. Broil the pork for approximately five minutes per side until the outside begins to caramelize
Serve with tortillas and salsa verde (recipe to come later), beans would have been nice but we did not get past the meat!
Orrs Trading Company
Beads, Native American products and a variety of teas.
639 Main Street, Suite B
, Grand Junction, CO 970-241-1126

About Trace Hillman

I am a dad, husband, and a food guy.. I love the idea of bringing people together and having real food.
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One Response to Spices and Carnitas…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions

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