Pulled Pork Tacos with Fried Plantains
Slow roasted pork tacos….tender, juicy and fork tender. Is there anything better? Really? Yes, there is. These tender pulled pork tacos with perfectly golden brown fried plantains (think not sweet bananas) topped with a crisp carrot and cabbage slaw and a slightly tangy, creamy sheep’s milk feta cheese. I mean…there is a reason this taco is my most requested dish when I entertain. Seriously just the perfect bite.
So here’s the lowdown on this awesome taco. The pork can be cooked one of three ways. This recipe is for the low and slow in the oven but it’s pretty similar if you do it on a smoker or a crock pot. Basically you take your favorite rub (I have a homemade one here if you don’t have a favorite) and you rub that all over the meat. If you are using a smoker you don’t need to pan sear the meat but I do recommend this if you are slow cooking in the oven or in a slow cooker because this is your only chance to get a bit of a crust on it. Then you cook it low and slow for about 4 hours for a 3 lb pork shoulder. The smoker method will give you the most crust and smoky flavor. I personally prefer this method but not all of us are lucky enough to have one so that’s why the recipe is for the more universal method of a heavy dish in the oven. You drain off the fat and then you pull apart the meat. Toss with a little bit of mop sauce (vinegar, sugar, Tabasco) and then a little bit of your favorite bbq sauce.
What are plantains? They are related to the banana but have more starch (which is why they hold up so well to frying) and are not as sweet. They can be fried at any stage of ripeness but I like to find the really ripe ones with the outer skin almost blackened. These are a tiny bit sweet and just pair so well with the pork. To fry the plantains you just need a medium pan with about an inch of Canola oil set over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the sliced plantains into it carefully, cooking in batches so you don’t crowd them. Let them get a dark golden brown and then remove and salt them. They can be done ahead and reheated in the oven if making ahead.
Then assemble by putting the plantain on the taco shell, then the pulled pork, then a little bit of this Heirloom Carrot Purple Cabbage Slaw and top with sheep’s milk Feta cheese and cilantro and serve with fresh limes. Enjoy these pulled pork tacos with fried plantains with a cold beer and good friends!
- 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 6-8 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1/4 cup favorite honey chipotle bbq sauce
- 6 soft white corn and flour tortillas, cut into 4-inch cicle
- 6 fresh limes, quartered
- Fresh cilantro
- 3 oz sheep's milk feta cheese
- 1 large plantain, brownish/blackish on the skin and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 1/3 cups Canola oil
- Preheat oven to 275 or smoker. Combine the dried spices in a bowl and set aside. (vinegar, sugar, and Tabasco are for the wet sauce)
- Remove the pork from the fridge and let sit out for about 20 minutes. Pat dry and then rub with the spice rub.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons Canola oil in an oven proof pan with a lid. When hot cook the pork about 3-4 minutes per side to get a brown crust on it. Place in the oven, cover with a lid and cook for approximately 4 hours or until falling apart. Remove pork and let slightly cool and pull apart with your hands or two forks, discarding any fat.
- Mix the vinegar, sugar, and Tabasco in a bowl and then toss with the pork. Add the bbq sauce to the pork and mix gently to combine. Set aside and keep warm.
- In a heavy bottomed small or medium pan add enough canola oil to cover the bottom by about an inch. When hot (ideally about 325 degrees) add the plantains (do not crowd) and cook until deep, golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and then sprinkle with a little sea salt.
- Continue until all plantains are cooked. If making appetizer style tacos I like to cut the shells down using a pastry round/biscuit cutter to about 4 inches and then fill with plantain, pork, cabbage slaw, sheep's milk feta and top with cilantro