A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Slow Cooker Jerk Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Slow Cooker Jerk Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

I know that many of you dog owners out there warned me of this, but I just need to say it: Puppy parenting is hard work. Between a dozen trips in and out of the building to go potty to cleaning up a variety of accidents to midnight barking from the crate and 5 AM wake up calls... the past 10 days have definitely been an experience. And I am just exhausted. God bless you readers with human babies.

It's a good thing that Clery is so darn cute and all in all, a really well behaved puppy. It's also a good thing that I own a slow cooker because I have been relying heavily on it lately. This kitchen appliance can sometimes be the only thing standing between serving a homemade dinner or picking up a takeout pizza on my way home from the office. These jerk pork tacos are a fresh and easy way to make a complete dinner with very little hands on prep time-- you know, so you have time to do other things like pry rocks out of your puppy's mouth or roll a tennis ball his way 35 times in a row.

This recipe is a fun twist on your standard taco night recipe with complex spicy and slightly sweet Caribbean flavors from a variety of spices and a combination of dark rum and apple juice. The pork cooks low and slow all day in the slow cooker and then all you need to do is shred up the pork and assemble your tacos. Topped with an island-inspired salsa of fresh mango and sweet bell peppers, these tacos are both easy and impressive. This pork would also be great on a bun with a sweet slaw or even over rice with roasted veggies and this mango salsa on top.

  • 1/2 Tbs. onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. smoked or hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. pork loin or butt, trimmed
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup apple juice 
  • 1/2 cup dark spiced rum
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 fresh mango, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Small corn tortillas for serving

In a small bowl combine all dry ingredients from onion powder through cayenne pepper. Rub spice mixture all over pork.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or in your slow cooker if you have a multi-function slow cooker. Sear the seasoned pork until browned on all sides.

Place the pork in the slow cooker and pour the apple juice and rum over pork and add bay leaf. Cook on low for 8 hours, turning the pork a few times throughout if possible.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred with two forks, and then add back to the liquid in the slow cooker. Toss to evenly coat.

In a medium bowl, combine mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Top each tortilla with warm pork from the slow cooker and finish with mango salsa. Serve immediately.

Derived from recipe by Mother Thyme.

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