I’m always on the look out for an excuse to eat something in taco form, when inspiration came from a recent Food Network magazine which listed 50 different ways to serve tacos, pulled pork being one of them. Then, Flow, an excellent restaurant in my hometown shared their recipe for pulled pork in the local newspaper, and I thought I should probably go ahead and make this whole pulled pork taco thing happen. Basically, the equation for this recipe breaks down to:
pulled pork recipe from Flow + general taco awesomeness = pulled pork taco dinner heaven
So here’s how the pork went into the oven. In tenderloin form (healthy!), after marinating in a rub of paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, tomato paste etc., for a few hours. Then into a roasting pan with carrots, celery, onion and broth.
Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Roughly 4 hours later it came out looking like this:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Separate the meat from the broth (and reserve the broth to use in other recipes if you like, it’s tasty stuff) and pull the whole thing to shreds using a couple of forks.
Pulled apart pork tenderloin
But while the pork is in the oven, you can prepare the sauce. Mix all these things together in a pot and heat on a stove for about 10 minutes. Super easy, super delicious.
Pulled Pork Sauce
It doesn’t look like much, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste like much. It turned out to be a delicious and tangy-sweet sauce.
Simmering Pulled Pork sauce
Next, stir the sauce and the pork together. At first i thought pulled pork would be better the longer it simmered in sweet saucy goodness, but I wanted to try this just like Flow does it, so I followed the recipe and mixed them together right before serving. Let me tell you, there was NOTHING wrong with this pulled pork. Not one single thing.
Saucy Pulled Pork
As for turning it into a taco, I started with a flour tortilla (after being unable to find corn ones :(, but in the end the flour ones were great), then a layer of refried beans with the pulled pork piled high on top of that.
Sidenote: very difficult to take an appetizing photo of refried beans swiped on a tortilla. Let’s skip that picture and go straight to this one:
Re-fried beans and pulled pork
Next you’ve gotta fry them up. Use just enough vegetable oil to make them turn golden brown, but not get too greasy.
Fried Pulled Pork Tacos
Then it’s time for standard (but awesome) taco fare. Guacamole, pico de galo, cheese, sour cream, etc. etc. etc.
Dressed up Pulled Pork Tacos
I also decided to top one of them with homemade apple coleslaw, just to see how it tasted when it was more liked a pulled pork sandwich on a tortilla, rather than a taco with pulled pork on it. The coleslaw combo was great and I would have it again, but overall I preferred the traditional taco toppings. In other words, my third taco that evening had traditional toppings on it 🙂
I basically cut their recipe in half since I used a smaller tenderloin instead of a 5 -7 pound pork shoulder which Flow recommends for this recipe. Below is their exact recipe, so adapt it as you see fit!
Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or ketchup)
1 cup diced onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1-2L of beef stock (to fill roasting half way)
1/2 cup of pork shoulder stock reduction
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Mix all rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Put the pork and stock in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours, flipping the roast at the half way mark. Roast the pork until fork tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.
- To make the barbecue sauce: combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until smooth.
- Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks and “pull” the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat.
- *To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hoagie bun, and top with the slaw. Serve with your favorite leafy salad.
*I obviously ignored this part of the instructions and served it in taco form. Pile pork on a tortilla, along with your favourite taco toppings, and eat!
From: Flow Café & Catering, Elmira Observer