To infuse sweet and smoky flavors into our slow cooker shredded pork filling, we built a sauce using pineapple juice and ancho and chipotle chiles.–Editors of America’s Test Kitchen
LC What To Do With Shredded Pork Note
If you find yourself at a loss for what to do with the heap of shredded pig that remains after you’ve snitched sufficient tender, sweetly spiced, slow cooker shredded pork to be sated for the moment, take a gander at the tostada and burrito ideas just beneath the recipe.
Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 12 H
- Makes about 4 cups
- 3 dried ancho chiles, or 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 dried chipotle chiles, or 1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice (fresh or canned)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- One 3-pound boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, plus more lime wedges for serving
- 1. If using dried ancho and chipotle chiles, toast the chiles in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. (If the chiles begin to smoke at any point, lower the heat.) Tip the chiles onto a plate and let cool slightly. Wearing gloves, remove and discard the stem and seeds from the chiles and tear the chiles into pieces. Place the pieces in a small bowl, add enough warm water to cover, and let soak until softened but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
If using ancho and chipotle chile powders, hop on down to step 2.
- 2. Toss the soaked chile pieces or chile powders, pineapple juice, garlic, brown sugar, cumin, and cloves in a blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Dump the mixture in your slow cooker. Season the pork quite generously with salt and pepper on all side and then add the pork to the slow cooker and turn to coat it evenly with the chile mixture. Cover and cook until the pork is really tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
- 3. Transfer the pork to a large bowl and let it cool slightly. Meanwhile, pour the braising liquid into a fat separator or a shallow bowl and set aside for at least 10 minutes to allow the fat to float to the surface.
- 4. Shred the pork into bite-size pieces using a fork in each hand or your fingers, discarding any blobs of excess fat.
- 5. Skim the fat from the surface of the braising liquid with a spoon and discard. Drizzle about 1 cup defatted braising liquid over the shredded pork and toss to combine. Add more braising liquid if necessary to make the pork moist and flavorful. Squeeze 1 tablespoon lime juice over the pork, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss. Add additional lime juice as desired or pass lime wedges on the side at the table. (The pork and any leftover liquid can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
- Shredded Pork Tostadas
- Brush both sides of several corn tortillas with mild vegetable or olive oil, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 350°F (177°C) until lightly browned at the edges and slightly-but-not-tooth-breakingly crisp, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a 15-ounce can pinto beans and its liquid in a skillet over medium heat, mashing the beans with a potato masher or a fork, until the mixture thickens and is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread some mashed beans over each crisped tortilla, top with some warm shredded pork, and sprinkle with cheese (preferably queso fresco), chopped cilantro, avocado, salsa, and whatever else your desired accoutrements.
- Burritos With Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork
- Place several large flour tortillas on your work surface and plop some warm shredded pork, a spoonful home-cooked or canned pinto or black beans, some cooked rice, shredded cheese, and fresh cilantro on each tortilla, placing it in a rather tidy mound on the lower half of the tortilla, allowing a 1- to 2-inch border all around. Fold the sides of the tortilla in over the filling, then snugly fold the bottom of the tortilla up over the filling and continue to roll the bulging contents into a burrito shape. Place the burrito, seam side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.
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