I think slow cookers are magical as they cook food for you while you are away from the kitchen. In the morning the ingredients go in and when you return later in the day they have turned into something fabulous smelling and wonderful tasting.
For this reason they are perfect for taco meat. And while tacos are a staple meal in many family’s homes because they are easy to make and they appeal to a wide variety of tastes, this recipe for slow cooked pork probably is not.
Most people brown ground beef, chicken or turkey and add a dry pouch of pre-made spice ingredients and water to the meat. This is fine and I have done it many times. But do me a favor and try making this pork. This is the way taco meat was meant to be. The caramelized flavor from a little browning of the meat and onions and the spice from the chili powder, cumin and oregano, together with the slow simmering in the cooker, make this meat extremely flavorful. This is what the dry package is trying to emulate. The best part is after 6-8 hours of slow cooking, you won’t even have to cut the meat. You can easily shred it with a fork.
Pile the meat on a platter and serve it with shredded lettuce, grated cheese, chopped ripe tomatoes and whatever else you like in your tacos. At our house we roll the meat and toppings in warmed corn tortillas.
Any leftover meat can be reheated the next day and tossed with a little barbecue sauce for putting on a toasted bun or French bread for a dinner sandwich.
- 2-3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat vegetable oil in heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat; add pork and cook without turning until browned and seared, about 2 minutes. Turn and repeat process. Transfer pork to a slow-cooker (see note below). In the same pan used for browning the pork, turn heat down to medium; add onion and garlic and cook and stir until softened and lightly browned. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir 1 minute. Add chicken broth; bring to a simmer then remove from heat.
- Add chicken broth mixture to the pork, along with bay leaf, tomatoes and salt.
- Cover slow cooker; cook on low setting until pork is cooked through (internal temperature 150 degrees F.) and very tender, about 6-8 hours.
- Remove pork from slow cooker; allow sitting at room temperature until cool enough to handle then shred or slice into thin pieces.
- Note: If you do not have a slow cooker, you can prepare the pork using an oven-proof medium size casserole dish or roasting pan with a lid. Follow the recipe above, but use 2 cups of chicken broth instead of 1 cup (liquid should come to about ¾-inch up side of pork). Cook, covered, in a 325 degrees F. oven until pork is cooked through (internal temperature of 150 F.) and tender, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours, adding additional chicken broth or water if necessary.