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Cocoa Pork Birria


1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground pepper

Main ingredients

3 lbs trimmed pork shoulder

5 small tomatoes

1 garlic head

1 yellow onion

4-5 sprigs fresh oregano leaves

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

1 cinnamon stick


Preheat oven to 350 and Prep a Webber grill with hot coals. Have some mesquite chips nearby. It’s very important to not skip this steps as it imparts all the flavor

Prep the meat by timing away all the fat  mid all the spices and coat the meat liberally. Set aside any remaining spices

Add the meat, tomatoes and onion (quartered) to the grill. Add smoking chips and let look for 5 mins. Flip the meat and cook another 5 mins, adding more chips. Flip a few more times as necessary to cook all sides. The inside should still be raw. Flip the tomatoes and onions as well. Tomatoes will start falling apart.

Remove all from the grill and transfer to a Dutch oven.

Squeeze the tomatoes to mush them and break apart the onion.

Add enough water to cover. Add oregano, thyme, cinnamon stick and peeled garlic cloves. Add any remaining spices.

Place in the oven and cover and let cook for three hours. Check the meat and flip it over. Add a little more water if necessary to ensure meat is almost covered.  Place back in oven and let it cook for another hour. Remove the lid and let cook for another 30 minutes so that liquid reduces by half.

Remove from the oven and ladel  away any grease from the top. Break apart the meat and serve with limes, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, salsa and tortillas.

George Christidis