Cheap Pork Tacos Three Ways!
I live in the land of fresh tacos. California is known for many things. Among them are surfers, gorgeous beaches, and amazing fish tacos. We can tip our hat to our neighbors to the South for their influence on the local cuisine here. But California is so much more than fish tacos. It is a state of agriculture and eating really fresh and clean. Specifically where I live, we have been ranked as one of the happiest cities in America for several years now. (Crazy, right?). I blame the clean, ocean air and bounty of fresh produce that surrounds us at all times. You can hop into town on any weeknight and find a farmers market happening.
That being said, tacos stands are everywhere here! And I love a great taco. Until I made my own corn tortillas I never knew how fresh tacos could be. Like many Americans, I was used to Taco Bell and grocery store deli’s and let’s be honest– that is a disgrace of a taco! No offense if you like Taco Bell, but good God that stuff is not real food. Authentic tacos are usually simple. A bit of meat and a homemade salsa, or some local cheese. They are cheap, easy, meals on-the-go but man, are they good!
For the last few weeks I’ve had a massive craving for tacos, but I wasn’t sure what kind I wanted to whip up. Then I got the idea to buy a 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, slow-cook it, and use it a few different ways. Y’all…. it was magic!
First, I slow-cooked my 4 pound boneless pork shoulder ($11 USD) using Melissa d’Arabian’s recipe. I liked her recipe a lot because it’s just a basic all-purpose shredded pork recipe that allowed me to use the cooked pork with a variety of spice combinations and neither affected the other.
All-Purpose Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder
Yields: 12 servings
1 (3 -to-4-pound) boneless pork shoulder (or 4 1/2-pound bone-in pork shoulder)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/2 cup dry white wine
Rinse the pork, place on a cutting board, pat dry with paper towels and rub in the salt and pepper. Set the pork in the bowl of a slow cooker, scatter the onion over the pork, sprinkle in the garlic and add the wine.
Cook until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork, about 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Turn off the slow cooker and transfer the pork to a platter. Use two forks to shred the meat.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can braise the pork shoulder in a 325 degrees F oven for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
And now for my 3 taco combinations! 🙂
- Veggie-Pork Taco: This taco is so simple to make and packed with great vitamins and minerals, all thanks to a few cheap, summer veggies. First, steam several handfuls of chopped kale. (I picked up a giant bag of organic kale for $5 USD). Next saute some chopped bell peppers. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded pork, grated Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a dash of cayenne, salt, and pepper. Win!
2. The Middle Eastern Taco: This taco is all about the rice and beans. It’s so hearty, filling, and jam-packed with flavor thanks to the Mujaddara on the bottom. I love Budget Bytes’ Mujaddara recipe, and have followed it for years. The cumin, allspice, and clove season the rice and lentils while the fresh, steamed kale gives the pork a lift. Top with sauteed onions and dig in.
3. The Breakfast Pork Taco: I definitely think this one was my favorite. Then again, I’m a sucker for a great breakfast 😉 . The secret to this fun taco are the hidden potato nests on the bottom. Simply grate a potato using a box grater, zoodle cutter, (or save some time and buy pre-boiled/grated potatoes from the store), and place into muffin tins. Bake at 425 degrees (F) for 25 minutes and you’re set! Place the cooked potato nests on the tortilla, top with shredded pork, salsa verde, a fried egg, and grated pepper jack cheese. Yum!!!