February 2, 2010

Pulled-Pork Tacos in the Slow-Cooker {Naptime Entertaining}

My Day So Far: The usual Tuesday morning mayhem with the added bonus of a colossal yogurt smoothie spill at breakfast.
Naptime Goals: Get the pulled-pork stewing, send document to certain someone for special Naptime Chef project to be announced soon (!)
Tonight’s Meal: Pulled-pork tacos with all the fixings, molasses cookies for dessert.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Keeping two-year old’s occupied indoors on winter days is next to impossible – break out a bunches of toys and hope for the best!

It is an unwritten rule in my house that when the temperature hovers in the single digits at high noon it is time to rev up the slow-cooker. This useful piece of machinery is apt to be simmering away in our house many times throughout the fall, winter and spring, but it is especially relevant during deep freezes. The slow-cooker is my go-to method for tenderizing meat and making thick hearty stews – exactly the kind of food we rely on to keep us warm while be wait out the cold.

My husband is a real meat and potatoes guy and lately we’ve been eating a lot of beef and chicken. When we spotted pulled-pork on a menu recently we realized that we hadn’t had it in months, it seemed like the perfect thing to refresh our menu. Then, as if we weren’t excited enough for dinner already, the temperature in our neighborhood plummeted to a balmy 10ºF where it was predicted to stay for five whole days. This was all the convincing I needed, I picked up the pork at the store and broke out the jar of Williams-Sonoma Pulled-Pork Starter my mother gave us for Christmas.

We’ve made pulled-pork marinade before as well, and I’ve included that recipe below. But, I’ll have to say, the Williams-Sonoma mix was delicious. After simmering for hours – I started the process during my daughter’s afternoon naptime and it was ready by 6pm – the pork shredded beautifully and was tender to the bite with a mellow spicy sweet flavor. In the interest of variety we decided to forgo the usual pulled-pork sandwich and make tacos instead. We set-up a nice little station of condiments, warmed up some flour tortillas and went to town wrapping the meat with sour cream, avocado, cheese and lettuce. With a side of spanish rice we had a perfect meal

Since taco night is a popular occasion in many households I encourage families to think about pulled-pork the next time they pick up a fresh bag of tortillas. I promise, you will love the salty sweet meat topped with your favorite fixings, and the kiddos will, too. My daughter is still a bit of skeptic when it comes to wrapped foods, but she was thrilled with her little pocket of sweet pork, devouring it in just a few bites. Also, if you don’t have a slow-cooker don’t worry, this pulled-pork can be made in a dutch oven and I’ve included those instructions below as well.


Pulled-Pork Marinade

loosely adapted from Good Housekeeping a while back


Serves 2 – recipe can be doubled or tripled easily

1.5 lbs boneless pork roast
3 T. vegetable oil
½ c. onion, chopped
¼ c. ketchup
 ¼ c. red wine vinegar
2 T. tomato paste
¼ c. light brown sugar, packed
1 T. paprika
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. Kosher Salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper


1. In a deep bottom saucepan heat the oil over medium heat until just smoking. Add the pork roast and sear all sides of the pork, including the ends. This will take about 1-2 minutes per side.
2. In a bowl mix the onion, ketchup, tomato paste, sugar, paprika, red pepper, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Add the seared pork to this mixture and coat the pork completely.
3. Add the pork and all of the sauce to the slow-cooker and turn it on per the manufacturers directions. Cook pork for 6-7 hours, or until pork is very tender and cooked through.

4. When pork has completed cooking remove it from the slow-cooker to a cutting board. Shred the meat with a sharp fork. Reserve any sauce from the cooker to drizzle over cooked pork if desired.

Dutch Oven Method: Complete steps 1 and 2. Then, place sauce and pork in a dutch oven. Heat the oven to 325ºF and cook for 3 – 3.5 hours, or until pork is cooked through. Continue with step 4.

Pulled-Pork Taco Toppings
1 package of tortillas
Sour Cream
Avocado, or Guacamole
Sliced Red Onions
Shredded Sharp Cheddar
Shredded Lettuce

1. Place the shredded pork in wraps and top with whatever you’d like!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Taco night is a classic and this is a great new twist on a taco bar. In the mood to keep it healthy? Add bowls of fresh chopped vegetables on the side for toppings, or you can go with our slightly creamier toppings of sour cream and avocado.

Naptime Stopwatch

Preparing the marinading and turning on the slow-cooker takes all of 10 minutes, then just let it do it’s stuff while you happily go about the rest of your day.

Naptime Reviews

This is a kid-friendly dish if there ever was one. The best part? Save the leftovers and enjoy delicious pulled-pork sandwiches for lunch or dinner the following day!

More Naptime Recipes