This is a slow cooking slow cooker recipe that does NOT require an actual slow cooker. Instead, we went low tech with our recipe and used a heavy-bottom Dutch oven and a technique called braising to add layers of flavor to our Pork Shoulder. Braising is a cooking method where meat is seared over a high heat to develop a golden-brown crust; then the heat is reduced and liquid is added so the meat can have a long, slow bath and finish cooking over several hours. This process adds unbelievable depth to meats, and you get the tenderest meat possible as the interior poaches slowly. “Low and slow” techniques work great on meats like pork and beef. The prolonged cooking breaks down tough connective tissue and fatty marbling, which basically melts into the meat and makes it fall-off-the-bone tender. Chicken and fish, which are far leaner, don’t benefit quite as much from this technique as it's easier to overcook them and turn them into mush. If you were interested in trying to braise chicken for your burritos instead of pork, after searing you would stew for around 2 hours, rather than 4 to 6. You absolutely use a slow-cooker for this dish; you can sear the pork shoulder in one pan, then transfer the meat to your slow cooker with the requisite seasoning, tomato paste, and broth to continue stewing.
Using our Al Pastor Taco Seasoning shows its versatility beyond just tacos. It has a blend of chiles and some of those savory flavor powerhouses (hello onion, garlic, and cumin) that adds balance to Mexican cuisine. If you were looking to go more spicy or smoky you could absolutely drop a dried Chipotle Morita (or two) in there to ramp up the flavors even more. You could go a step further; after your pork is shredded you could spread it out on a baking tray and stick it in the broiler for a little extra charring and touch of crunch.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pork shoulder, boneless
- Kosher Salt and Organic Ground Black Pepper Coarse Grind to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Al Pastor Taco Seasoning
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 Ancho Chile, stem and seeds removed
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, chunked
- 6 Flour tortillas, burrito size
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
- 2 Tablespoons red onion, minced
- 6 radishes, sliced thin
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro and 1/4 cup sour cream, optional
- In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium-high. Add pork shoulder and brown on all sides, 5-7 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add the Al Pastor Taco Seasoning, garlic cloves, onion, Ancho Chile, tomato paste, and 2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and keep at least an inch or two of liquid in the bottom of the pot, adding stock as needed. Cook for 3-4 hours, turning every half-hour to 40 minutes.
- When pork is fork tender, remove from braising liquid and place on a large tray with high sides to prevent spillage, and shred with two forks. Reserve braising liquid.
- Add ½ of the braising liquid back to the pork. Keep warm.
- Grill or saute pineapple chunks. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine 1 cup lettuce, radishes, red onion, and lime juice and mix well.
- Assemble burritos, ¼ cup filling, pineapple, and shredded lettuce in center of tortilla, fold ends and roll. Drizzle with remaining liquid.
- Serve with salad, cilantro and sour cream.