Oh my goodness, I am only going to say this once. I am so freakin' glad Thanksgiving is over. Why might you ask? Because five days in San Francisco, Marin County, and beyond have really done a number on
my waistline me.
Between a complete Thanksgiving dinner in Georgia and another in Cali, plus a dreamy turkey noodle casserole, multiple bowls of white turkey chili, not to mention the barbecued oysters overlooking Tomales Bay, cheese straight from Cowgirl creamery in Pt. Reyes, fresh-off-the-boat Dungeness crab, and an Indian feast to boot, I think I am quite literally about to bust! A detox is in order...
But before I go on a strict all-veggie diet — and we'll see how long that actually lasts — I've got to share this pulled pork recipe. Don't even ask why I decided it was a good idea to make these with the amount of leftovers in the fridge, but it only seemed appropriate to do something Southern while on the West coast. We served our first round of pulled pork as sliders, smothered in a classic Carolina red. The second round, these pork tacos, were equally well received.
This is my favorite cheater pulled pork recipe, served up here with a twist. Hopefully I'll get to sneak one last bite before it's lettuce and carrots for me! (Yeah, right.)
Pulled Pork Tacos
For the pulled pork:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (3 1/2 - 4-pound) bone-in pork butt, fat still intact
1/2 cup lager-style beer
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
Favorite barbecue sauce, to taste
For the tacos:
Flour or corn tortillas
Cotija cheese, or other crumbly Mexican cheese
Cilantro, for garnish
For the pulled pork, preheat oven to 325°F.
Whisk together the paprika, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and cayenne. Massage the spice rub into the pork butt, coating on all sides. Allow to rest for thirty minutes or as long as overnight.
In a large Dutch oven, whisk the beer, cider vinegar, and liquid smoke until combined. Nestle the rubbed pork into the Dutch oven and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours, basting occasionally, until the pork easily falls apart.
Remove the pork to a large cutting board. Allow to cool a few minutes, then shred using two forks (or my favorite, "bear paws"). Place the shredded meat back into the cooking liquid and cool completely. (This step can be made up to two days in advance; just cover and refrigerate until ready to move forward.)
Turn the oven on broil. Push the pork through a fine mesh sieve to remove excess sauce (do not discard the cooking liquid.) Arrange the pork on two sheet pans and broil, working in batches, until it is crisp and some of the ends are blackened, about 6 - 10 minutes each.
Toss the pork with your favorite barbecue sauce, a few tablespoons at a time, to your taste. Add a few tablespoons of cooking liquid to moisten, if desired. (I always save some liquid to add to the meat when reheating.)
For the tacos, arrange pulled pork on tortillas. Serve with additional barbecue sauce, pickled onions (or coleslaw), lime slices, and cotija cheese. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)