Pork carnitas with pineapple adobo sauce

Pork carnitas with pineapple adobo sauce

Chris Middleton

Traditional pork carnitas are made from slow-cooked spiced pork shoulder. Once cool, the meat is shredded, refried, then hashed and flavoured with chilli, lime, red onion and coriander (cilantro). It’s then smothered over tortillas with guacamole, rolled like a cigar and grilled. This nuevo Latino version has the same flavours, it’s just more textural and pleasing to the eye. The spicy and glossy pineapple adobo sauce adds a moist and extra-juicy layer.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg free-range boneless pork belly
sea salt
2 litres Chipotle chicken stock
100ml vegetable oil, for frying
8 Tortilla dough
Avocado crema
sliced green chilli, to garnish
lime, to garnish (optional)

Pickled pineapple

Quantity Ingredient
500g ripe pineapple, peeled, cut in half, excess core removed and thinly sliced widthways, then each slice cut in half
Mexican-style pickles, pickling solution only, hot

Pineapple adobo sauce

Quantity Ingredient
500ml pineapple juice
250ml sherry vinegar
230g brown sugar
15g dried chilli flakes
250ml Adobo sauce


Quantity Ingredient
2 gem lettuce hearts, roughly chopped
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 small handful coriander or mint leaves


  1. To prepare the pork belly, generously season it and place it in a large, wide saucepan. Cover with the stock and bring to the boil over medium–high heat. Reduce the heat until simmering, cover and cook for 1 hour, until fork-tender. Allow to cool in the stock. Once cooled, remove the pork belly from the pan and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Line a deep tray, large enough to fit the pork, with baking paper. Place the pork belly in the tray, skin side down, cover with another sheet of baking paper and a large tray. Press down with a heavy weight, such as tins of beans, so the pork is pressed flat. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. To prepare the pickled pineapple, place the pineapple in a small, deep tray, and pour over enough hot pickling solution to cover. Set aside for 1 hour or until cooled.
  4. To prepare the pineapple adobo sauce, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar and chilli flakes in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and simmer until reduced to make a rich caramel. Add the adobo sauce and stir to combine. Set aside.
  5. Cut the pork into 2 cm cubes or rectangles.
  6. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Fry the pork pieces, taking care as they may spit when they cook, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer onto paper towel to drain.
  7. Pour the oil out of the frying pan and wipe clean with paper towel. Add the pineapple adobo sauce to the pan and warm over low heat. Add the crisp pork cubes and baste and coat in the sauce. Keep warm.
  8. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat. Lightly spray with oil and briefly fry the tortillas to warm them. Stack the tortillas, wrap in a warm damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside to keep warm.
  9. To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce, onion, coriander or mint in a medium bowl. Add a little of the pickling liquid and toss to coat.
  10. To serve, arrange the tortillas on serving plates, top with guacamole or avocado crema, salad, slices of pickled pineapple and pork. Garnish with chilli and add a squeeze of lime, if desired.
Paul Wilson
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