Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shredded Pork Tacos With the Texan

Happy Tuesday, y'all. The Texan is in the cafe and today we're going to spice things up a bit. After all, it is Valentine's Day. And what's Valentine's Day without a little spice. Best of all, this recipe is super easy and oh so delicious.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped into big pieces
  • 2 lbs. (or more if you like) pork shoulder
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • l tsp. cumin (found this wonderful roasted cumin)
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. (depending how spicy you like it. I used about 3/4 tsp) chipotle powder
  • salt
  • black pepper

In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat. I don't know about you, but I love the aroma of sauteing onions. Let cook until the onion is translucent, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the pork and sear on all sides. Usually the pork shoulder will be in one hunk, but I bought carnita meat on sale (one of the benefits of living in Texas), thus the chunks.

Transfer pork and onions to Crock Pot or slow cooker and add remaining ingredients, including a generous (about 2 Tbsp.) bit of course salt and black pepper to taste.

Stir everything together, and add enough water to cover the pork two-thirds.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours. WARNING: This will make your house smell so fabulously yummy, those 5-6 hours will seem like an eternity. Unless you leave for something important like work or shopping, in which case you're safe.

Doesn't this look yummy? And did I mention the aroma?

Allow to cool slightly before removing meat to platter.

Using two forks (or whatever works best for you), pull pork into shreds. This meat is so incredibly tender, it practically falls apart on its own.

Serve with your favorite tortillas and toppings.
I adapted this recipe from The Cowgirl Chef. She made carnitas with it, meaning the shredded meat was set under the broiler until the meat was crispy. Personally, I like mine nice and tender. 

I also LOVE that this flavorful meat is so versatile. You can eat it alone, put it on a bun and serve it with some barbecue sauce, or whatever else you might like. And since I cooked more like 3 lbs., I had plenty of leftovers. Instead of shredding all the meat, I put the juice and two hunks of the meat into a zip-top plastic bag and put it in the freezer for dinner another night. Love that!

So do you have any big plans (or little ones) for this Valentine's Day? I remember the first Valentine's Day my husband and I spent together. He decided he'd take me out for dinner. I asked if he'd made reservations. He said no, that Valentine's Day wasn't that big a deal. It wasn't like there were going to be any big crowds or anything. (Yes, my man was clueless.) Imagine his surprise when we got to our favorite restaurant and there was a two-hour wait. He refused to wait that long and we ended up with take-out from KFC.

The next year, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Instead of going out, I prepared a sumptuous dinner for us at home, complete with china, crystal, and a beautifully decorated table. Pizza and a movie kept the kiddos happy in the other room.

I haven't done that the last couple of years. Now that the kids are older, they want to eat the sumptuous dinner with us and it's just not the same. Hubby says he's going to take me out for lunch today. Beat the crowds. Hopefully he'll be on the mark this time.


  1. Mindy, I'm so trying this! I usually get the pork butts for pulled pork, which is (of course!) the "back shoulder". :)

    It's got that nice fatty consistency you need for stringing meat. You don't see the picnic shoulders up here much any more. Most everything is boned out and done in major butcher shops then trimmed and pack in the groceries.

    I love that you crock pot this. I have one of those big 30 quart plug in ovens and I do the pork in their for a party, but I'm trying your method next time because I bet it holds even more flavor. And a good meat dish is all about the flavor, right?

    Dave and I did our Valentine's Dinner with friends Saturday night... then a little cozy celebration last evening because no one was here (a rarity!) and Dave had a day off.

    So nice.

    Thanks for this, Tex! Can't wait to try me some Texas Pork!

  2. Hi there Texan!! This sounds great. My hubby would love this. I've never heard of Mexican oregano, though. Do they sell that in Georgia? Maybe you'll have to mail some to me. :) Oh, but on thinking on that, we could get into trouble. I'll look here.

    1. Lindi, girl, you are too funny. It took me a while to find the Mexican oregano too. McCormick has in in their "gourmet" spice collection. Think glass bottles. It's not expensive.

  3. Ruthy, this meat is packed with flavor. And it's so moist and tender. All things I love in my meat.

    So glad you and Dave had some quiet time. I'm not sure I know what that is though :-)

  4. What a yummy recipe! Similar to something I saw on Food Network Saturday and jotted down. I'll be making this as soon as I can buy the pork!! Will also look for the oregano. :) Thanks, Mindy!

    We actually went out for V'tine's Day on Friday to miss the crowds. Had Maggiano's for lunch (YUM!). But I'm thinking we need to celebrate again. :)

    1. See, I like the idea of multiple celebrations. Anything that feeds me OFTEN and with no clean up is a plus. But I also love to cook...

      And I think I made biscuits today to RIVAL ANNIE LOVELESS's of the Loveless Cafe in Nashville....

      And I'll post them soon and see what you think and don't you dare laugh at this Yankee comin' up with good biscuits! Remember, New England DID IT FIRST.

      I'm just sayin'...

    2. Missy, I say milk it for all it's worth. If he took you out, you can take him out. Then, of course, you'll have to take the kids out too. So see, lunch and dinner today:-)

      Ruthy, I love when there's no clean up. Can't wait to see those biscuits.

  5. Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, MMMM! I love me some Tex-Mex! It's from those years living in West Texas (where the words "rural" and "rule" are pronounced exactly alike).

    I like to use the ends of pork loin for pulled pork. I'll buy a "log o' meat" as my boys say, and cut it into boneless chops, roasts, and then use the ends for pulled pork. I have some in the freezer as we speak...

    I found some chipotle chili pepper in the seasoning aisle - it adds a great flavor to tacos, chili, beans, etc. I've been using regular oregano, but I'll have to look for the Mexican oregano.

    You can never have too many spices in your cupboard, can you?

    When my dear husband left for work this morning, he broke the news that he didn't plan anything special for Valentine's Day - because with me, every day is Valentine's Day.

    I can't decide if he's being cheap, sweet, or if he's just been super busy at work lately....

    1. I'm going with cheesy. And cheap. He and Dave would GET ALONG FINE.

      Says Ruthy with NO FLOWERS TO HER NAME.

    2. Jan, you are exactly right. You can never have too many spices. Actually, I did a little research before I bought the Mexican oregano to see if there was any difference. There is. "They," who ever they are, say that italian oregano is sweeter, which I thought was odd because I've never thought of oregano as sweet. Oh well.

      I have to give your husband credit for his phrasiology. That is a man of tact. Cheap, but tactful. Sweet too.

    3. You're right, Ruthy. Floyd and Dave would get along JUST FINE! They can be all manly while we cook for them.

      But we wouldn't really trade them for flowers, would we?

      Although it would be nice to feel pampered:)

    4. I wouldn't trade him. But I might start buying myself flowers now and again. Jan, Feb and March are kind of long and dark in the north... The occasional blossom is food for the soul. (this is me rationalizing)...

      Dave's father is Floyd. You don't meet many Floyds anymore! Hey, Jan, we could buy EACH OTHER flowers, but that would be a little weird.

      Of course I do make up for it when it's gardening season and I just shrug off any complaints that happen to come my way because gardening is therapeutic. Keeps me from killin' folks.

      Kind of laughing in upstate!

  6. LOL, Jan. I'd just choose to say he's being very sweet. :)

  7. Have been to the Loveless Cafe, Ruthy. I don't know. Can you really make them that good???? I guess we'll have to see if a Yank can do it!


    1. Missy, when I tasted those biscuits, two things came to me... First they were great!


      They had bread-like tendencies. And what makes breadlike tendency????

      Yeast. Amazing what a difference a little bit of yeast can do. And if not the same, I think you're going to love them because oh my stars, they came out better than any I've ever done.

      I'm prattling.

      I need to be quiet now.