This is by far one of our favorite go to meals. The best part is it’s extremely flexible (like all my favorite meals). You can put the seasoned pulled pork on a salad, sprinkle on a batch of nachos, place in a fajita wrap, a larger burrito wrap or make into enchiladas. There are an endless number of topping varieties to choose from and best of all, each family members can build their meal differently to suit individual taste!
First you have to break down your shoulder roast into pulled pork. You’ll find a number of recipes online with complex ingredients. However, I only use salt and pepper when I’m making pulled pork. Since most shoulder roasts are large, at least 3-4lbs, they usually have more pork then you’ll need for one meal. By holding off seasoning the pork I can break the pulled pork into two batches and use half for tacos one night and the other half for a second recipe like pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. Without having complex seasoning getting in the way.
The most common way to break down a shoulder is slow cooking it in the oven. Season the pork with salt and pepper, cover with foil and cook at 300 degrees for 6hours until pork pulls apart easily with a fork.
You can also break it down in a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper; put a ½ cup water in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours until pork pull apart easily with a fork.
The way I do it is in my Instant Pot, which I love. A defrosted 3lb pork shoulder will break down in the instant pot in 90minutes. I usually put a frozen 3lb shoulder roast in the instant pot for 120 minutes (I almost never remember to defrost the night before). I put ½ cup of water in the bottom and season the roast with salt and pepper, then let the instant pot do it’s magic. Add 15 minutes for every additional pound.
Once you have your pork broken down and pulled apart you’re ready to make your tacos!
The following spice amounts can easily be adjusted to taste depending on personal taste. Honestly I never measure out ingredients, I usually just shake the bottle until it feels right but the numbers below will work well to get you started. If you like your food spicy you can up the paprika and add some cayenne pepper. If you don’t love cumin reduce it to ½ teaspoon. You can also pick up a pre-mixed pack of taco seasoning from the store to throw in with the pork if you want a faster option. .
1-2lbs of pulled pork
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp brown sugar (optional but it helps bring out the spice)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
12 taco shells
2 cups grated cheese
The rest of these topping are optional, but this is what we usually have on our table:
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 diced tomatoes
8 oz salsa
8 oz plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup guacamole
Place the portion of pulled pork you are using in a skillet with about ½ cup of the dripping to keep it moist. Add all your spices and simmer on medium low for 10-15 minutes.
Toast the taco shells in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes to make them crispy.
Serve buffet style. Load the shells with the pork and grated cheese, then placing the rest of your topping into the shell. My order of operations if you’re curious is as follows. Pulled pork, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, hot sauce.
Note for babies:
if you have a little one or a picky eater heat up some refried beans (if they are too young to chew the pork) and try a broken open taco on their plate. Put a small pile of beans or pork, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and if you think they’ll try it salsa on their plate. It’ll be a mess but I promise they’ll enjoy it!
Mother of 2 beautiful girls! Our growing family is the largest drive we have to build a life filled with good food and a connection to the land.