I'm a food geek. I get enthusiastic about recipes like yakitori chicken skewers, pressure cooker Pho Bo, and rotisserie duck with a pomegranate glaze.
But what recipe do my friends and family love? Slow cooker shredded pork. That recipe has a lot of bang for the buck. Toss everything in the slow cooker, come back ten hours later, and you have shredded pork that would fit right in on a Mexican roadside taqueria.
Little league baseball is back in season, and my nights are getting hectic. I've already made my slow cooker shredded pork a couple of times this season; it is time for something new.
This is a riff on mole, the long simmered Mexican sauce. I'm using the slow cooker's long cooking time to give me the advantages of a mole without all the work. The dried peppers soften in the slow cooker, along with some other aromatics, and I use the defatted pork juices as the liquid in the sauce. A quick whiz in the blender, and I have a complex, sweet, earthy sauce with some mild heat.
Give this a try when you are bored with slow cooker pork. It is a tiny bit more work, but cleaning the blender isn't that hard - especially if you use a stick blender.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork with Dried Chile Pepper Sauce (Pork Deshebrada)
Inspired by: W. Park & Norma Kerr, El Paso Chile Company Texas Border Cookbook
Cooking time: 10 hours
- 3 pound pork shoulder roast
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 5 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and rinsed
- 1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed, seeded, and rinsed
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
1. Assemble the ingredients in the slow cooker:
Put the pork roast in the slow cooker, then season all over with the salt, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. Top with the dried chiles, onion and garlic, and water over the top of everything.
2. Slow cook the pork:
Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or high for 5 hours.
3. Prepare the sauce:
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and set aside. Move the dried chiles, onions and garlic from the slow cooker into a blender. Add the brown sugar and lime juice to the blender. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a gravy strainer and let settle for 10 minutes, then pour 1 cup of the defatted liquid into the blender. Slowly turn the blender to high, then blend until you have a smooth chile puree. (Add more of the defatted liquid if the chiles are not moving around enough in the blender.)
4. Shred the pork:
While the slow cooker liquid is settling, shred the pork, discarding any bones or large pieces of fat. Toss the pork with the chile puree to coat.
Serve with tortillas, red onions, crumbled cojita cheese, cabbage slaw, and lime wedges.
- Low for ten hours or high for five? If you have a choice, go with the longer cooking time on low heat. I think the pork shoulder turns out a little better. That said, I use the shorter, higher heat version all the time, when I'm behind schedule and don't get the slow cooker set up until lunchtime.
- If you use a stick blender to make the sauce, be patient. You don't want to rush things and pull the head of the blender out of the sauce while it's still running...and spray a line of chile pepper sauce across the counter, the wall, your pants, and your (now annoyed) wife. Just saying.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork (Pork Tinga)
Red cabbage slaw from grilled fish tacos
Click here for my other slow cooker recipes.
W. Park & Norma Kerr, El Paso Chile Company Texas Border Cookbook
*Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner using the RSS or Email options on the right, link to this post from your blog, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you.
This was delicious!!! I just discovered your blog the other day while trying to figure out green beans on a grill. I've been enjoying looking through all your recipes! Thank you!
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
Really. It doesn't need much water - the pork and the onion will give up a lot of liquid while they are cooking. Judging from the picture of my gravy strainer, I ended up with 2 cups of liquid, which is plenty for blending the peppers.
If you're worried, you can go for a cup - or more - but the dried pepper sauce will be thin. I like having a thick dried pepper sauce when I'm done.
Mike, how much water do you put in the slow cooker? Really just a 1/2 cup?
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
Same ingredients and instructions. For step 2, instead of the slow cooker, put everything in an aluminum foil pan, and tightly seal the pan with foil. Cook it over indirect low heat (250*F or so) for 3 to 4 hours. It's done when the pork falls apart on its own. Continue with step 3, prepare the sauce.
(This can be done in the oven as well - same as above, make sure you use a pot with a tight-sealing lid).
Carsten (from Denmark) says
long time reader of this site - it's brilliant! how about doing a gasgrill version of this one, to those of us not owning a slowcooker? (if possible) 🙂
can't wait to try this with the chile pepper sauce. This is what I would call carnitas and have made many times after being taught how to do it by a young woman at a surf camp in Baja yrs ago.
One thing I would add is to braise the pork (all sides) until nicely brown in a cast iron skillet before putting it in the slow cooker, make sure and capture the juices. This adds flavor and helps break down the collagen.
one other thing I do is to return the pulled pork to the skillet after slow cooking and cook it on a fairly high heat to add some crispiness to some of the meat for that alternating crisp soft texture.