Let’s make taco night a special night. Bypass the gritty ground beef with the taco seasoning envelope and those stale taco shells, that break when you bite into them ultimately spilling taco juice all over your white shirt. Because that is usually how it works doesn’t it?
The great thing about these tacos is that they can come together as easily as the other tacos with the use of a slowcooker. Contrary to popular belief a slowcooker is just for pot roast. Don’t stereotype the slowcooker, it can do some pretty cool things.
First you need a 3 lbs pork shoulder (butt) cut into cubes. To make your life easier get your hands on a boneless one if you can.
Juice 2 large oranges and you should have about 3/4 cup of orange juice.
Then squeeze the juice out of 1/2 a lime. Reserve the rest of the lime for garnish later.
You will also need to mince 7 cloves of garlic and chop 1/4 cup of cilantro. Which I did photograph but it was horribly blurry so lets just pretend there is a picture of minced garlic and cilantro below.
In the slowcooker combine all the ingredients, pork, juices, garlic, cumin, salt, cilantro and stock.
Give it a good stir and try to arrange all the pork into a single layer at the bottom of the pot.
Cover and set on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
Once the pork is done, it should be tender enough that you can shred it with a spoon. Heat a stainless steel or aluminum pan with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon transfer the pork from the pot to the pan in batches. Fry the pork until brown and crispy, breaking it up as you fry it.
Do not crowd the pan with pork for best results. If you like you can deglaze the pan with about 3 tbs of beer per batch and cook till evaporated.
Fill flour or corn tortillas with pork and garnish with chopped onion, avocado, fresh cilantro and a lemon wedge.
Here is to redefining taco night! Trust me your family will love it and it just as easy to make as its predecessor. The pork is tender and flavorful with all the savory elements of an authentic taco at a stand taco.
I admit there was a time that I left my slowcooker in the corner collecting dust because I thought it was just a glorified pot roast cooker, but I was so wrong. The slowcooker can produce culinary genius if used to its fullest potential.
If you like reserve 3 cups of the pork and it’s juices for a great Posole soup, which I will be posting before the end of the week.
Carnitas (adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen)
See notes before starting this dish.
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (butt) roast, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 7 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup of chicken or beef stock
- 1 Mexican beer (optional)
In a slowcooker combine all ingredients and stir. Arrange the pork so it sits as a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Set slow cooker to high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Once the pork is done, it should be tender enough that you can shred it with a spoon. Heat a stainless steel or aluminum pan with 2 Tbs of olive oil. Using a slotted spoon transfer the pork from the pot to the pan in batches. Fry the pork until brown and crispy, breaking it up as you fry it. Do not crowd the pan with pork for best results.
If you like you can deglaze the pan with about 3 tbs of beer per batch and cook till evaporated.
Serve on tortillas garnished with chopped onions, avocado, fresh cilantro and lime wedge.
*Notes: I did not brown the pork before putting it into the slowcooker and I think I should have. I suggest seasoning the pork with the cumin and salt and browning it before putting it into the slowcooker. However I have not tired it which is why I did not add this to the actual recipe.
If you don’t have a slow cooker you can do it stove top by combining all ingredients in a dutch oven or large heavy pot. Arrange the pork so it sits as a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Bring mixture to a boil and cover loosely. Allow meat to simmer until tender and liquid is evaporated, about 3 – 4 hours. If liquid evaporates and the pork in not yet fork tender, add more liquid and continue to simmer. Spoon pork with rendered fat into hot pan and continue recipe.
If you choose the slowcooker method you will have some juices in the pot when the pork is done. Strain this juice and reserve with 3 cups of pork for Posole soup.