Shredded Pork Tacos

Shredded Pork Tacos
It's September.  It's back to school time.  And whether a real school schedule plays into your life at all or not, September still signifies that summer is coming to an end.  Long summer meals have come to a close and it seems like September is time to get into a routine and buckle down a bit.

It's time to get some things streamlined.

It's time to have dinner magically appear for you when you get home from a long day of work.

It's time to break out the slow cooker.

Sorry...talking about crock pots just doesn't sounds nearly as jazzy as slow cookers. 

And we don't have to go into the fact that I don't have a new fancy schmancy slow cooker.  I have my grandmother's crock pot with all the paisley flowers and delicate riboons strewn about that just screams "I was trendy and cool in 1982." The point is... old timey or brand new, sleek chrome or ridiculously retro, you need a crock pot.  Splurge if you want or pick up a rockin one from a garage sale... they all do the same thing... cook slowly.

This thing is a life saver.

I feel a slow cooker is as close as the modern world has gotten to having that maid, Rosie, from the Jetson's.  Consider this jewel your dinner robot.

I'm feeling the need to really put mine to work this fall and winter so bust yours out and let's have dinner with none of the work and just one dish to clean.

These shredded pork tacos are a good place to start.

Tons of flavor and very few ingredients.   I thought this recipe was outrageous when I first saw it.  Cocoa powder and salsa?? Huh? But you won't believe the deep flavor you get from mixing these two. It's dynamite.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.
Shredded Pork Tacos
Shredded Pork Tacos
Adapted from Real Simple
Recipe Notes
If you are not use to buying pork, just branch out and do it.  I avoided recipes like this for a long time because I knew nothing about pork, but for the most part, you cannot mess it up.  If in doubt, tell the butcher what you are making and he will steer you in the right direction.  You can find slices of boneless pork butt in most grocery stores.  I chose boneless pork butt steaks because they cook faster and are available in smaller portions than a whole pork butt.  You can easily double or triple this recipe.  Whatever your slow cooker allows.  There should be enough sauce to add a pound or more of pork without having to double the sauce.  I cooked the meat for 7 hours on low.  You could cook for about 5 hours on high or up to 8 hours on low.  See picture below for how to prepare the meat for cooking.  See picture for trimming pork butt.
For a healthier option, you can use boneless pork loin.  Cut into slices to make sure all is covered by sauce. If you are using boneless pork loin, you will have a lot more meat because you have no fat to trim off.
2 cups store bought salsa
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork, either pork butt or boneless pork loin (see recipe notes for options)
Corn tortillas
1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 lime
shredded cheddar cheese (optional), for serving
Step by Step
In a crock pot, combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Remove any large strips of fat from pork (see pictures below).  Add meat and coat to cover.  Cover with lid.  Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours until meat is tender and pulls apart easily.

Twenty minutes before meat is done, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap corn tortillas in foil and bake until warm, about 15 minutes.  While tortillas are warming, remove pork from slow cooker and set on medium sized plate.  Using two forks, shred pork and smother with sauce from slow cooker.

Build tacos starting with pork and add a few sprigs of cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream to each taco.  Add shredded cheddar cheese if you would like.  Squeeze lime juice over the top of the tacos and serve.

Makes 4-8 servings.  Check recipe notes to see how using different cuts of meats gives different amounts of servings.

If you are using a pork butt or pork shoulder, remove any large strips of fat from pork before adding to the crock pot.  This will not be necessary with a boneless pork loin or other types of lean cuts. 
trimming the pork


  1. You can also use pork tenderloin to make it really lean, as I have found through experimenting. This one looks appetizing and interesting, considering it's got ingredients like cocoa powder in it! I am SUCH a fan of crock pot meals - they are the best!

  2. Thank you for that comment, Kristi. I will have to try that next time!

  3. These were delicious! Doubled the recipe and the whole family loved them. Love this blog! Everything has turned out great that I have tried! Next up, your Nutella cupcakes. Everyone in my office is always dying for someone to make a batch.
    Julia Lisenby

  4. These look so good!! I love the idea of dinner ready when you get home and I especially love your Jetson's reference. Haha!

  5. I really need to use my crockpot more. Sounds like a great recipe.

  6. wow Those slow cooked pork tacos look fantastic!

  7. The ingredients sound unusual, but I'll give it a try!

  8. Ashlea...your pork tacos look fabulous, so tasty...time to take my crock pot from its hiding place.
    Hope you are having a great week :-)

  9. This is SUCH a gorgeously photographed post! The slow cooker definitely screams fall...and is a total life saver at times!

  10. I totally need to break out the slow cooker! These tacos look wonderful. Perfect fall meal!

  11. What a great dinner...one problem, how do you stop yourself from eating too many? I love it that it's made in the slow cooker. YUM!

  12. Hi! This looks SO yummy and I'm going to make this on Friday for my girls SPOONS game night...I will have 12 girls to feed and am going to go the pork loin route to make it a little healthier, do you think 3 lbs would be enough or too much? And then I should definitely double the sauce right?

  13. Natalie,
    You could probably get away with 2 or 2 1/2 pounds to be on the safe side (leftovers are really good too). As far as the sauce goes, you just need enough to cover the meat when it is cooking in the slow cooker. If you can cut it up a bit and get it all covered with the sauce, you do not need to double. You might need another 1/2 recipe of the sauce. I would buy enough to double just to be on the safe side and then see how much fits in the pot.