Pork shoulder and slow cookers were made for each other. Slow cookers try to overcook everything; most meat dries out during the long cooking time. Pork shoulder gets better the longer it is cooked; it needs long, slow cooking to melt all the fat and connective tissue it holds. Properly cooked pork shoulder is juicy, and shreds at the touch of a fork. It is the perfect cut for stews, braises, barbecue, and today's recipe, slow cooker Mexican shredded pork.
Shredded pork is a great weeknight dinner. I start it in the morning (on low heat) or at lunchtime (on high heat), and come dinnertime I have a roast that is tender and ready to be pulled apart. I use the shredded pork for taco night, and then I get creative with the leftovers. I've used it in soups and topped it with cornbread to make tamale pie. But, I usually serve it in cheap white hamburger buns. If I want Tex-Mex sandwiches, I top the pork with salsa and shredded cheese; If I want something more southern, I add barbecue sauce and dill pickles.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork (Pork Tinga)
Adapted From: Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate At A Time
Cook time: 10 hours
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 5 lbs pork shoulder
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large onion, sliced thin
- 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chipotle en adobo puree
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- Juice of 1 lime
1. Brown the pork: Heat the vegetable oil in a 12 inch fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the pork roast evenly with 3 tsp kosher salt and the black pepper. Put the roast in the pan, fatty side down. Sear the roast for 3 minutes, or until well browned. Flip the roast, and sear for another 3 minutes on the other side. Move the pork roast into the slow cooker.
2. Deglaze the pan: Reduce the heat in the fry pan to medium and add the 1/2 cup water. Heat for a minute, then scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up all the browned bits of pork into the water. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, bring to a simmer, then pour over the pork in the slow cooker.
3. Slow cook the pork: Cover and cook on low heat for 10 hours or high heat for 5 hours.
4. Shred and serve: Remove the roast to a carving board. (It will probably break into pieces while you do this.) Let the roast cool for five minutes, then shred with two forks. Move the shredded pork to a serving platter, and spoon 1 cup of the sauce over the top of the pork. Serve, passing the rest of the sauce on the side. Serve with tortillas, salsa, and any other preferred taco toppings.
*I find that browning meat adds a lot to the flavor of the finished dish. I timed myself while I took the pictures for this post. It only took fifteen minutes to brown the pork and get everything into the slow cooker. If you have the time, don't skip the browning!
That said, I know that sometimes life gets in the way. The recipe still tastes great if you skip the browning, dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker, and run out the door.
*My preferred taco toppings are: salsa (of course), thin-sliced red onion, cilantro, shredded cheese, and hot sauce.
The perfect side dish, if you own a second slow cooker? Slow cooker beans in broth.
If I have more pork than I can use in the next couple of days, I freeze the leftovers. I use one quart zip-top bags - they freeze flat, and are easier to thaw out in the microwave.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Slow Cooker Pork Pot Roast
Slow Cooker Dried Beans
Mexico One Plate At A Time
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