Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

As I mentioned on Monday, I went to Revival Market this past weekend and picked up an absolutely beautiful cut of pork shoulder.  I knew I wanted to go the taco route and I decided to use this recipe as my inspiration since Tasting Table hasn't let me down yet.  The tacos overall turned out fantastic, but the meat was definitely a bit spicier than I can normally handle.  I went into a coughing fit after my first taste test bite of the pork alone and had to immediately down a glass of water to recover.  I think next time I'd halve the cayenne pepper in the recipe and pat the spice mixture onto the meat a bit more sparingly than I did this time.  While my meat preparation was fairly true to the recipe, I mixed it up a bit with my toppings and the flavor combination I chose was pure magic.  The creamy avocado helps to tame the spice of the meat, the queso adds a mellow zing, and the pickled radishes, which I made a few weeks ago using this recipe here, added a combination sweet/tart kick that rounded out the flavor profile perfectly!

Spicy Pork Tacos

2 to 3-pound boneless pork butt/shoulder
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (pimentón)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced crosswise
Zest of 3 limes
1 Hass avocado
Queso fresco, crumbled
Pickled radishes, sliced
corn torillas, lightly charred

1. Place the pork butt on a cutting board and generously season all over with kosher salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. Rub the spice blend into all sides of the meat (you probably won't use all of it - in fact I recommend you don't).
2. In a large Crock-Pot or other slow cooker, add the onions, jalepenos, and lime zest.  Place the spiced pork on top.  If you're preparing this the night before, place in fridge over night like this.  If not, or in the morning, place into slow cooker heating apparatus, add water until it is just below the top of the meat and let cook all day (8-10 hours) on low.  That evening remove the meat and set aside until cool enough to shred.  Once shredded, scoop onions and jalepenos from the crock pot liquids and mix into the shredded meat.  Taste and season with salt if needed.
3. To make the tacos, heat the tortillas in a fry pan with a teensy bit of canola oil until you get little char marks.  Then build your taco with a heap of meat topped with crumbled queso fresco, 2-3 slices of avocado, and about a tablespoon of sliced pickled radishes.  Fold, eat, and enjoy!

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