This for me is the best way to enjoy pulled pork. Those crunchy taco shells just add the perfect texture contrast to the extremely tender and succulent pork. Adding a Mexican-inspired flavor to the braising pork shoulder I think would go well with how I intend to serve this.
Okay, the flavor base. We’re making a spiced dry rub to flavor our pork. A basic bbq dry rub should go by an 8:1:1:1 ratio. That is 8 parts sugar : 1 part salt : 1 part chili : 1 part spice mixture. In this case I used 2 cups brown sugar, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup spices, and supposedly 1/4 chili powder but I’ve toned down mine to 2 tablespoons since some kids will be eating with us too.
The spice part is where you can add your personal touch. I’ve used cumin powder, paprika powder, garlic powder, black pepper powder, and ginger powder in mine to somewhat give the dish a Mexican flavor. Go with your own concoction and don’t be limited by what’s become too popular. Be inspired by flavors from around the world. Add curry powder, cinnamon, Chinese five-spice, Sichuan peppers, ground cardamom. . . there are really a lot of possible combinations. Try something different every time until you come up with a combination that’ll become popular among your friends.
Next, have some fun with the pork. Rub it like crazy all over the meat making sure every inch of surface-area gets covered. Leave it there to marinate at least overnight. This dry-rub will eventually turn into a wet marinade as all those sugars melt away with the pork’s natural moisture. This combination of salt and sugar will also act as a short-term preservative meaning you can do this in large batches which should easily hold for a week in the fridge.
I’ve added a bed of sliced onions at the bottom of the crockpot to keep from the pork from sticking to the bottom as all those sugars start caramelizing. This week I’m using my 6.5 quart Crock-Pot brand slow cooker. Also, the natural sweetness of onions will add another layer of flavor to our generously spiced meat.
Add the pork on top together with the juices in the marinade. Add enough braising liquid to come to about two-thirds the height of your meat. Don’t go strictly by the 3 cups of cola called for in this recipe as this volume may vary depending on the size of your cooking vessel and the size of pork you’ll be using. You may need more or even less.
Also, feel free to go with any other braising liquid. Beer, stock, wine, fruit juice, anything that interests you will actually work for this. Just keep in mind of the flavor you’ll be adding in to the broth if you intend to later come up with a sauce or glaze from this liquid.
After 8 hours on a low setting, this pork shoulder should come out pull-apart tender.
You may already have a favorite brand for your bbq sauce but you could definitely make some out of the braising liquid that’s left in the pot. I transfer mine to a pan, run an immersion blender to puree all those onions, and reduce it to the consistency I like.
Assemble your tacos. Get any vegetable, cheese, or condiment in. As far as I know, there aren’t any strict rules set for building good tacos.