Over the years, I have grown to love low-and-slow cooked meat. You know, the kind that takes most of the day to cook, but falls apart easily and melts in your mouth. Actually, I didn't grow to love it, but rather fell in love once I figured out how to cook it properly! I've suffered through too many tough chunks of meat before I realized there are shortcuts that are not worth taking. There are certain chunks of meat that need extra time to reach their full potential, and this is one of them. Follow the steps below and you should have a melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork that was well worth every step it took, not that there are many to take!
These tacos are a favorite in my home. The flavors just work well together. The delicate and moist pork, the salty cheese, the tang of the tomatillo salsa, the crunch of the red onion...it simply works! I usually buy jarred tomatillo salsa. Maybe someday I'll figure out a great recipe...and share it with you of course!
These tacos are perfect for feeding a crowd. Keep the meat in a crock pot to stay warm, and serve the remaining ingredients in serving bowls. Let your guests make their own tacos, which I find helpful if you have guests with allergies or particular tastes. You can serve it as a main dish or a hearty appetizer.
Gluten Free Shredded Pork Street Tacos
- 3-5 lbs. pork shoulder
- 1 Tbs kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ½ Tbs dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ Tbs chili powder
- 1 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 onion cut in half and then quartered for 8 chunks
- 4 garlic cloves smashed
Tacos - to make 12 tacos
- 12 corn tortillas
- ½ cup shredded pork
- ¾ cup finely chopped red onion
- ¾ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- ¾ cup tomatillo salsa I buy mine prepared from the store
- ¾ cup crumbled queso fresco
- Pat the pork dry with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid. In a small bowl, combine all 9 spices, from kosher salt through chili powder and stir to combine. Using your hands, rub this mixture all over the pork shoulder. Place a large saute pan on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Allow the pan to heat properly, then add 1 Tbs canola or vegetable oil. Allow another minute for the oil to heat up, then place the pork in the pan. If your pan is hot enough, it should nicely sear the meat in 2-3 minutes per side. Rotate the pork until all sides are browned. Remove from heat and place in your prepared oven dish or crock pot.
- Oven Method: Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Prepare pork shoulder as instructed above and place in a roasting pan. I usually use some form of a 9 x 13 baking dish with sides about 2-3 inches high. Pour the lime juice over the pork and add the onion and smashed garlic. Cover the pan with foil, sealing all edges. Bake for 5-6 hours, or until internal temperature of pork is at 195 degrees F. Remove from oven and allow roast to sit for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and, using two forks, shred the meat, discarding any fat. Place the meat in a serving dish and pour about ½ cup of liquid from the baking dish back over the meat to help keep the meat slightly moistened and flavorful.
- Crock pot method: Turn your crock pot on low or high depending on your cooking time needs. Place the prepared pork in the crock pot. Pour the lime juice over the pork and add the onion and smashed garlic. Place the lid on the crock pot and walk away...seriously, don't open the lid! Here is my opinion on crock pots and cooking large chunks of meat: I always try and cook on low as I feel cooking on high cooks meats way too fast, especially for something that needs a low and slow kinda cook like pork shoulder. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Cook on high for 4-6. Toward the end of your cook, check the internal temperature of the pork for 195 degrees F and remove from the crock pot once it reaches this temperature. Place on a cutting board and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat, discarding any fat. Place the shredded meat in a serving bowl, covering with approximately ½ cup of liquid from the crock pot to help keep the meat moist and flavorful.
- warm a corn tortilla (Method 1: if I'm serving a large crowd I will place the tortillas in a stack and pop them in the microwave, maybe 10 tortillas for about 30 seconds. Method 2: take a larger stack of tortillas, maybe 20-30, and wrap them in aluminum foil, and then place in the oven at 225 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Method 3: if I'm only serving a handful of people, I like to heat my tortilla in a skillet on the stove over medium-high heat for about 1 minute per side. This method is my favorite as it gently crisps the tortilla)
- Place about ½ cup shredded pork on the tortilla, then cover with 1 Tbs each of red onion, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, and queso fresco. Or, use whatever amounts of toppings to your liking!