It’s no secret to anyone that’s been reading along that I love tacos, and can stretch them to fit any nationality (and have). Today, barbecue… because it’s my faaavorite. I’m not sure why I have this obsession with all things sweet and saucy. Maybe it’s just an excuse for me to get a sugar fix in with my meat.
Last year I kept things pretty standard with barbecued chicken thighs. This year, I’m making pulled pork because, in my opinion, that’s THE BEST kind of barbecue. Despite loving it entirely way too much, I never make it because in the few times I’ve tried it’s come out just…subpar. This year, I decided I NEEDED to learn to make it properly and succeed I did…way above par.
The problem I’ve typically had is that it just comes out too mushy. Because I have better things to do than watch meat cook for 8 hours, the slow cooker was a must. How do you get crispy pulled pork from a slow cooker? Finish it off in the oven.
Thanks to Mommyhood’s Diary, the soggy pork problem was solved with a quick 30 minutes under 450 degree heat. The crispy pork combined with what has been my favorite homemade barbecue sauce to date made for some terrific tacos.
As for that sauce, I combined a base from Rachel Ray and threw some hard cider into the pot to add to the sweetness. I do love me some hard cider.
Tying it ALL together is the slaw- an apple-cabbage mix that provides just the right topping and tang to my tortilla filling.
- 3 pounds pork butt or shoulder
- 1/2 TB garlic salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 TB smoked paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 TB Dijon mustard
- 2 TB maple syrup
- 2 TB apple cider vinegar
- 2 TB Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 8 ounces Hard Cider of your choice
- 1 Granny smith apple, julienne
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
- 1 carrot, julienne
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 4 TB apple cider vinegar
- 4 tsp maple syrup
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Corn tortillas
- Queso fresco
- Combine the all the sauce ingredients (except for the cider) in a small pot. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Season with coarsely ground black pepper.
- Meanwhile, coat the pork on all sides with the garlic salt, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper. In a large skillet, add about 1 TB vegetable oil and brown all sides, about 4 minutes per side, to get a nice crispy crust.
- Add the pork to the slow cooker, along with the barbecue sauce and hard cider. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 6 hours.
- Once the pork is done, use 2 forks to pull the meat apart.
- Drain the sauce and put on the stove in a saucepan over medium heat to reduce a bit while you finish the pork.
- Heat oven to 450F. Line one baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil.
- Place pork in sheet, with about ½ cup sauce, and bake for 20-30 minutes, mixing twice, until the pork looks golden and crisps around the edges. Remove from oven and serve with the slaw.
- Combine the vinegar, syrup, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the apple, cabbage, onion and carrot. Toss with the dressing and serve atop the pork, wrapped in a corn tortilla and topped with cheese.
- You can also use the whisk attachment of your stand mixer to shred the pork. I was skeptical it'd work, now I'm a believer.