Winter weather has been in full force in New York this week. We’ve been blanketed with that awful combination of rain and snow (snowain, if you will) that doesn’t quite merit an umbrella but still requires busting out the waterproof boots. The storm was the only nudge I needed to dust off my trusty slow cooker for an 8-hour braise involving all the good things in life: pork, beer and chocolate.
Yes, indeed. Chocolate. It’s my go-to ingredient for kicking up the flavor of savory spice rubs, and it provided just the flavor punch needed for these Simple Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos. Pork shoulder is slathered in fresh garlic and spices before going for a long, slow simmer in a hot tub of beer and orange juice. The result is a tender-tastic mountain of pulled pork that’s piled high in corn tortillas and topped off with pickled onions and crumbled Cotija cheese. Who needs carolers when your holiday guests will be singing your praises?
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- 1 (4- to 5-pound) pork shoulder
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 4 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 12 ounces beer (See Kelly's Notes)
- 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade salsa
- Corn Tortillas
- Taco toppings: diced avocado, sour cream, cheese or pickled red onions
- Rub the pork shoulder on all sides with the minced garlic, massaging it into the meat.
- Combine the salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cayenne pepper and cocoa powder in a small bowl then sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the meat. Transfer the pork shoulder to the slow cooker then add the lime juice, orange juice, salsa and beer.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on "low" for 8 hours, or on "medium" for 6 hours.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker (leaving behind any liquid), shred and serve in corn tortillas with assorted toppings.
- You can opt for a Spanish-style beer, such as Negra Modelo or Corona, or just use whatever beer you have on hand.
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Recipe inspired by Pinch of Yum.
Excellent!! Perfect with pickled red onions.
I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Jessica!
can bone-in port shoulder work for this recipe?
It should work, Diana! Just make sure to adjust the cooking time so that the pork shoulder is fully cooked. Enjoy!
What do I do if I can’t use beer?
Beef or chicken broth would work. Enjoy!
Loved the flavors of this pulled pork. Definitely a keeper – thank you!
Thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Pam!
Can I use a pressure cooker, and how much time will I have to cook it for?
Hi Boi – I’ve only ever made this recipe using a slow cooker, so I can’t say with certainty how it would turn out or what temp/time would be best. Let me know if you give it a shot!
I was going to use beef?
We aren’t big pork eaters. Will it work alright ?
Hi Brandie – It should work but you may have to adjust the cooking time.
Your Tacos dish looks spectacular! Can’t wait to give it a try. :)
This recipe looks amazing. Question…
Is there anything else I can use instead of beer. I don’t drink or cook with it and was wondering if the recipe would be greatly effected if I didn’t use it or replaced it.
Feel free to replace the beer with beef or chicken broth. Enjoy!
This recipe works great with chicken too! I omit the cayenne pepper for my kids. We have one that be a bit of a diva when it comes to new foods. Once she tried one bite, she devoured it. This recipe it a hit!!! TY!
Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it, Chelsea!
Made this tonight and it was easily the best pulled pork I have had. Absolutely delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing!
Awesome! So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Tenby!
Just a suggestion on the pork after you pull it from the cooker. Wrap it with foil and then wrap that with some towels. Let it sit for about an hr and your pork will be very juicy and very tender. It will just about fall apart without any work.
I use this technique with pulled pork from my smoker. Never fails me!
Great idea, Dave!
I got a pork tenderloin on sale, would that work?
It should work, Kristy! Just make sure to adjust the cooking time so that the tenderloin is fully cooked. Enjoy!
I am trying it with chicken instead of pork…hope it turns out okay :/
Can you use the left over liquid at all?
Thanks so much for this! I’ve been looking for a good pulled pork recipe and this is the one that finally hit the spot! My husband had to tell me how good it was after each bite :D
My husband and I made this recipe today for tonight’s dinner. He just proclaimed this was so good he could eat it everyday. Thanks!
Love it! Thanks for the note, Arlie!
I know this is crazy to want to complicate things, but is it possible to make this WITHOUT a crock pot? I don’t own one!
I have all my ingredients ready to get the pork shoulder in the slow cooker tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to eat these! I will repost to let you know how great they were!
my boyfriend made this last night- absolutely hands down the best pulled pork he’s ever made. he brews his own beer and used it in the recipe– DELICIOUS!
Just got everything loaded up in the crock pot this morning..only I was out of cocoa powder, so I subbed dark chocolate chips which I had on hand. We’ll see how it turns out! Looks so delish!
If I needed an excuse to get a slow cooker, this recipe would be it!
P.S Have recently bought your book, thank you for the great advice! :-)
Oh this looks so good. The slow cooker is starting to become my BFF…I love the beer & chocolate you added! My kind of cooking :)
Looks delicious! I love slow cooker recipes – great for weekday cooking!
A. I want to be in that hot tub. B. This would go over swimmingly at my house. Get it? har har.
I remember exactly which day you were referring to…and yeah it was pretty gross here! UGH. hoping we don’t get many of those this winter! I love how you went all-out on the comfort food front though. This sounds awesome!
This looks delicious. I love pork tacos. I’d probably set them under a broiler for a few minutes after coming out of the crock pot to crisp them up a bit to be more like carnitas.
oh, this sounds so wonderful! beautiful photos too :)
I love a crock pot taco! And you added beer and chocolate…yes!
I think chocolate is a great ingredient, especially for the slow cooker. It’s perfect for these spices. Love these, Kelly!
YES YES YES. Please and thank you. That is all I have. I now need to go get a pork shoulder.
Oh my… this looks right up my alley. I’m trying to find more crockpot meals. I think both my husband and I would love this!
these look amazing!
Its a real shame your rss feed does not pull though your beautiful photos, i often miss your posts because everyone else i subscribe to has their photos in the rss. Anyway you could fix that if not intentional??
This looks really yummy!!!
Thank you, Nicola! I’m working on getting the photos added to the feed :)