Some of My Favorite Things: Carnitas Canape with Avocado Creme

by Sarah on October 17, 2009

And it’s not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

I love when my family clears out of the house. I can cook, take pictures and listen to random music at full volume–all till my heart’s content. Today I am making the famous Spicy Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon and a new snack treat for you, Tortilla Cups with Carnitas and Avocado Creme. Today’s playlist features The Electric Light Orchestra and the Grey Album. LOUD. I know, I’m pretty boring, but really, it’s as near to perfect as it gets for me. Besides–ELO, Danger Mouse and Candied Bacon? Please.

Ready to cook? Gather your supplies and preheat the oven to 325-350*.

First we’ll make the dry rub. I like to make it in a glass jar so I can just pour the stuff in layers. I don’t really measure it, other than making it about equal parts. For this, I used granulated garlic, granulated onion, ground cumin, chile powder, salt, black pepper and oregano. Normally I would use dried oregano, but in a middle-aged moment I couldn’t find it, so I used fresh. Of course I found the dried oregano as soon as I’d already made the stuff. Sheesh.

This is about how it looks when it’s all shook up.

Put your pork shoulder on a sheet pan. It’s probably better if you cut it up into smaller chunks, but I forgot.

Liberally apply the dry rub.

Rub it in so the whole thing is coated. Pop it in the oven and leave it there for about 4 hours.

About halfway through, I poured in a can of Dr. Pepper and some water, just for the heck of it.

I poured in enough liquid that the sheet pan was maybe 1/3 full.

While that’s working, let’s whiz up the avocado creme. Kind of like guacamole, roughly mash 4 avocados, and add 3 cloves chopped garlic and 1 minced jalapeno. Or three weak-ass chiles that you pulled out of your garden that have no heat. Whichever. Squeeze in some lime and orange juice.

Pour it all into a food processor and pulse it until it’s a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

See? Smoooooth.

Back to our little porky friend. This is about 4 hours later. And this is how it looks when it’s about done. But don’t judge a pork by it’s cover, you’ve got to check it out.

Take some tongs and try to pull it apart. If it quivers and just falls apart or shreds at a mere touch, it’s done. If he resists, or is pinkish in the center, stick him back in the oven another 30 minutes to 1 hour.

While the piggy is resting, now is the time to work on the rest of your appetizers…for me it was the deviled eggs. I know it looks like a lot, but believe me, these will all be eaten before long.

OK—our pig is rested. Time to pull it apart. If it’s too hot to handle, like this guy, use tongs in one hand and a fork in the other and pull it apart like pulled pork.

I ran a knife through it too, after pulling it, because it had to be small enough to fit into those small chip cups.

Yes, you COULD make your own tortilla cups, if you are a super-slow foodie, but I am more of a lazy food person and purchased these very convenient tortilla cup products. They work wonders, and were on sale for $1.99. Awesome.

I filled my avocado creme into a squirt bottle. It made it much easier. As you can see, I just used an old agave nectar bottle, though I supposedly own a bunch of squirt bottles for food purposes…..they all seem to have disappeared. It’s weird how that happens. Like socks in a dryer.

Squirt a bit of the avocado onto the canapes.

Pretty, ain’t it?

You know this stuff, Sriracha? Or rooster sauce, whatever…

I dotted about half of them with Sriracha, for those who enjoy some hotness.

And put a cilantro leaf for those who’d like to avoid the hotness.

That’s it, a perfect conglomeration of party munchies. I recommend that you all make some in the near future. You know the holidays are coming and that means potlucks. Impress your friends with carnitas canapes!

Some of My Favorite Things: Carnitas Canape with Avocado Creme


  • 1/4 cup of each:
  • granulated garlic
  • granulated onion
  • chile powder
  • ground cumin
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • dried oregano
  • 8 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
  • 4 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • Sriracha
  • cilantro leaves
  • Tostitos Scoops Chips


  • Preheat oven to 350*. Make dry rub in a jar, using about 1/4 cup of each spice in layers. Shake up and set aside.
  • For easiest results, cut up pork shoulder into large chunks. Place meat on a sheet pan. Sprinkle liberally with the dry rub and massage the spice mixture into the meat, covering all sides. Roast at 350* about 2 hours.
  • Open the oven and pour 1 can Dr. Pepper or other pop (Coke, Root Beer) into the bottom of the sheet pan. Add enough hot water to fill to about 1/3 full. Lower heat to 325* and continue to cook for 2-3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the avocado creme. In a bowl, mash 4 avocados. Add 3 cloves of finely minced garlic, 1 minced jalapeno with seeds, and one bunch of cilantro leaves , chopped. Pour mixture into a food processor. Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes and 1 orange. Pulse until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. Set aside. If saving for more than 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic down to the avocado so there is no room between the avocado and the plastic. Refrigerate. For easiest preparation, fill a squirt bottle with the avocado creme and set aside.
  • When the pork is done, remove from the oven and test for doneness by trying to pull it apart with tongs. If it seems a little tough, return it to the oven and cook an additional 1/2 to one hour. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Using tongs and a fork, pull the pork apart so that it is in shreds. Using a large chef's knife, chop so that the shreds are at least 1/2-1 inch long, and will fit into the chip cups.
  • Arrange chip cups on a platter, and fill with the pork. Using the squirt bottle, squirt them with a shot of the avocado creme. Use a dot of Sriracha or a cilantro leave for garnish.

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