I’ve always loved making kalua pork because it uses three ingredients and is practically no fuss. You throw a nicely marbled 5-6 pound pork shoulder roast into a crock pot (fat side up), slather it with hickory smoked saltand a touch more hickory smoked flavoring, then turn the crock pot on low for 18 hours and walk away. That’s it! Amazing, right?! The question, though, has always been now what do I do with this tender meat?!
This week, I made these tacos which bring together some different flavors that are decidedly NOT Hawaiian and NOT Mexican. This is a Carmen fusion, lol. Don’t be mad at the lack of tradition, be glad that these things are so dang good!! 😉
Kalua pork is smokey like BBQ, so why did I make a taco?!
I borrowed the idea from the taco of my dreams…the Saltlick BBQ pork taco at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. It’s been two years since I last had that paper boat of amazingness and I am still thinking about it (makes me wonder if I was starving, or if they were just that good. It might be time for another trip to Texas, haha!). Anyway, the Saltlick taco was filled with smokey pulled pork and topped with BBQ sauce, cabbage and cheese.
Once I decided that a taco was the route I was going, I had to decide if I was going the BBQ sauce direction or a more “traditional” salsa direction. Since I didn’t have any BBQ sauce, but I did have some ripe mangos (which made me think of both Mexico and Hawaii), I made a sweet and spicy mango salsa. I’ll post a recipe for the salsa next week . Then, I topped the kalua pork taco with some thinly sliced green cabbage, but it was still missing something, so I kept thinking…
What flavors go well with smoked pork and mangos?
Feta cheese!! BUT, feta?! Really?! OMG, yes!! This winning combination of tangy Israeli feta, mangos and pulled pork will be entering my dinner rotation on the regular. Which made me think of one more thing…PF Chang style lettuce wraps…these tacos would be so good in that situation, but they are missing that ginger flavor, so I drizzled some ginger sesame dressing on them and BAM!! You now have my favorite meal of the week!! Kalua Pork Tacos (which can be made healthier by using lettuce as tortillas).
Of course, when I create something new, I must feed people, so our tree man and all the neighborhood kids were treated to a taste test. These kalua pork tacos were devoured!! I’d say they are a hit. 🙂
Here are the tools and special ingredients I used for this recipe:
- Hickory Smoked Salt: This was so pungent and so good! I highly recommend it.
- Colgin Gourmet Liquid Smoke: I just added a few dashes of this hickory liquid smoke and it did wonders for the roast! Between this and the salt, the smoky flavor was perfect!
- Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker: Funny story…my kids left my last slow cooker pot by the garbage can after getting distracted by a tree, and then the garbage man decided it was a garbage. I can’t blame him, really. It was right by the garbage…kids. I am kind of happy about it, though, because I adore this one! The lid clamps down, so that it doesn’t rattle as the food cooks. Best thing ever. 🙂
- A 5-pound pork shoulder roast
- 1 1/2 - 2 T Hickory smoked salt
- 1 T Hickory flavored liquid smoke
- Shredded kalua pork
- 1 -2 Tablespoons of Mango salsa
- Green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon of Israeli feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon of Ginger sesame dressing (whatever kind you can find in the store)
- Corn tortillas or romaine lettuce cups
- Rub the salt and the liquid smoke flavoring all over the roast. Then, place the roast into a crockpot with the fatty side facing up, so that the fat melts into the meat and naturally bastes it.
- Set the crockpot on low and cook for 18-21 hours. I set it at 8 PM and let it cook all night. Then, I shred the meat in the morning when I wake up.
- Start by prepping the tortillas. You can warm them slightly in a pan – and if you really want to make it good, you can fry them slightly. 😉
- Once the tortillas have been warmed and are pliable, add the meat and then layer in the toppings – salsa, cabbage, feta cheese and a small amount of the ginger dressing.