These slow-cooked pork tacos will feed a crowd and are just the tastiest things. Meat candy, as my husband says. Cooked with fennel seeds, garlic and cayenne and sweetened with maple syrup and hard apple cider, these are sweet with subtle hints of spice.
I served them with warm corn tortillas but I think next time I will make them into lettuce wraps topped with cilantro and a dab of sour cream. Maybe add some shredded cabbage too.
I love our slow cooker. We have had it for a year and I am still experimenting with it but so far this pork and my grandmas apricot brisket recipe come out amazing. It’s about 30 minutes of work and them it cooks while you are out and about. What’s not to love about that? I cook these for 24 hours because it gets better the longer it cooks. But you could get away with about 12-15 hours of cook time.
If you are not gluten free, a fruity ale would also work well in place of hard apple cider. I love a good hard cider though and there are so many new organic local ciders on the market today that aren’t too sweet.
Max had a couple friends over when I was making this recipe and I actually convinced them all to try the pork. They were also enjoying my honey sweetened popcorn. Peer pressure was working in my favor because once one of them agreed to try it. they all did. I told them that it basically tastes like bacon and well… here’s what they thought-
- 6-8 lb bone in pork shoulder
- 3 tbsp fennel seeds
- 8 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp ground blackpepper
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 16 oz hard apple cider
- Corn tortillas +/or lettuce cups
- Sour Cream
1.Let the pork come to room temperature. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in several places.
2. Toast the fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat. When it becomes fragrant and lightly toasted, grind the seeds using a mortar and pestle. Set aside in a small bowl.
3. Add the garlic and sea salt to the mortar and pestle and grind. Slowly add the olive oil and grind to a paste. Add cayenne, pepper and fennel seeds.
4. Rub the paste over the pork until well coated. In a large cast iron skillet, cook pork for about 6-7 minutes on each side, until nicely browned on each side.
5. Place pork in a slow cooker and pour maple syrup and hard apple cider on top. Cook on high for 2-3 hours and then on low for 18-24 hours. Pork will easily shred with a fork.
Baste with maple cider several times throughout cooking process.
*if it is very liquid y, take a cup a liquid and reduce it in a sacepan and add back to slow cooker.
6. Warm up the tortillas in the oven at 200 degrees for about 5-10 minutes. Add about 1/4 cup pork mixture and top with cilantro and sour cream.