In preparing to make the up-coming week's meal plan, I went through the freezer and inventoried its contents, finding,, among other things, a pork belly, a pound of turtle meat, a couple of packs of chorizo, a chunk of canadian bacon, and several bags of pulled pork that we had put in the freezer after Labor Day. Needless to say, we'll be eating out of the freezer for the next couple of weeks, starting with the pulled pork.
My original plan was to make the White Duck Taco Shop's BBQ Carnitas Tacos posted a couple of weeks ago by Sommer at A Spicy Perspective. Their recipe uses the pulled pork, creamy coleslaw and BBQ sauce of a traditional southern barbecued pork sandwich and piles it all on to a corn tortilla with baked beans. It sounded divine, but when I saw that I was going to have to make barbecue sauce since I don't do bottled, I decided to change directions. My tacos take the components of traditional southern barbecue sandwich -- pulled pork, slaw and sauce -- but give back a little of their southwestern flair. In the spirit of the season, I decided to make a pumpkin-chipotle barbecue sauce.
Pulled Pork Tacos with Pumpkin-Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Cilantro Slaw
For the Pumpkin-Chipotle BBQ Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
For the Cilantro Slaw:
- 1 1/2 cups tri-color slaw mix
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon seeded and minced jalapeno
- pinch of salt
For the Pulled Pork Tacos:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound pulled pork
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 12 corn tortillas
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until it softens and begins to turn brown. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the onion and garlic with the chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the ketchup and pumpkin. Whisk to combine.
- Season the sauce with the Cholula, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
- Stir in the water and simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes. Add more water if the sauce becomes too thick.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the slaw mix, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and salt.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat the teaspoon of olive oil over medium low heat. Add the pork and the chicken broth. Simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes until the pork is warm and has absorbed the broth.
- Heat the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over medium high heat until it is 350 degrees. The oil should be very hot but not smoking.
- Fry the tortillas one at a time. Fry for 30 seconds on one side, then flip and fry for 30 seconds on the other. Fold the tortilla in half and fry for a couple of seconds on each side before removing to paper towels to drain. Stand the tortillas up like tents. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- To serve, put a couple of tablespoons of pork in each tortilla shell, top with a tablespoon of sauce and a couple of tablespoons of the slaw.
Yield: 6 servings of 2 tacos each
Total time: 60 minutes
I served the Pulled Pork Tacos with Pumpkin-Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Cilantro Slaw with some spiced up pinto beans and sliced avocado. Big Hit! The sauce had just the right amount of heat. It did not have a big pumpkin flavor, but instead a mellow sweetness from the combination of the pumpkin and a bit of brown sugar. The combination of the smoky pork and spicy barbecue sauce with the corn tortilla rivals any pulled pork sandwich you've ever eaten!