Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa

When I worked at TWO Urban Licks in Atlanta, most of the crew was Hispanic. Every Saturday, one of the cooks would bring...
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Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa

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Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa

When I worked at TWO Urban Licks in Atlanta, most of the crew was Hispanic. Every Saturday, one of the cooks would bring in barbacoa tacos he bought from a guy named Manuel out on Buford Highway. Manuel sold these barbecued goat tacos right out of his apartment with a soccer game on in the background and his family milling about. This kind of Mexican barbecue isn’t smoky. It tastes more steamed because the meat is cooked in a pit in the ground. Everyone knows Mexican tacos can be dry, but Manuel’s were moist and juicy, with spices like clove, allspice, and cinnamon along with hot peppers. I loved them. I’ve stayed true to Manuel’s flavors here, but I use pork instead of goat, wrap it up in foil, and then bake it until it’s tender enough to shred. If you have a pit in your backyard, have at it. But the foil-and-oven method works great. The meat is delicious in tacos. — Kevin Gillespie, author of Pure Pork Awesomeness.

12
Servings
384
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

Instead of Boston butt, you could use the picnic part of the shoulder. Or use the whole shoulder if you have one. Just trim the fat down to 1/8-inch or so.

For a simple family meal, just serve the shredded meat in corn tortillas with rice and beans and whatever toppings you like — chopped onion, grated cheese, a squeeze of lime.

From Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

Ingredients

  • 2  Tablespoons  kosher salt
  • 1  Tablespoon  ancho chile powder (or other single chile powder, not a blend)
  • ½  Teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • ¼  Teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 5  Pounds  bone-in pork shoulder
  • onion, quartered
  • 10  cloves garlic, peeled
  • dried bay leaves

Directions

Adjust the rack in the oven to a lower level so the roast will easily slide in.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, chile powder, cinnamon, and cloves. Pat the pork dry and generously season all over with the salt mixture. Cut a large piece (about 24 inches) of heavy-duty foil and place in a roasting pan. Add the roast, onions, garlic, and bay leaves and wrap everything up tightly in the foil. Roast for 3 ½ hours.

Remove from the oven and let rest, still wrapped in the foil, for 30 minutes.

The foil will keep all the moisture and flavors in the packet and the shoulder will braise as it cools, creating very tender and juicy meat. Discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaves before shredding the meat.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
15g
21%
Sugar
1g
1%
Saturated Fat
5g
21%
Cholesterol
153mg
51%
Carbohydrate, by difference
1g
1%
Protein
57g
100%
Vitamin A, RAE
10µg
1%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin B-6
1mg
77%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
2mg
3%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
1µg
1%
Calcium, Ca
107mg
11%
Choline, total
194mg
46%
Folate, total
1µg
0%
Iron, Fe
2mg
11%
Magnesium, Mg
41mg
13%
Niacin
16mg
100%
Pantothenic acid
2mg
40%
Phosphorus, P
457mg
65%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
90µg
100%
Sodium, Na
144mg
10%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)
1µg
7%
Water
119g
4%
Zinc, Zn
7mg
88%

Pork Shopping Tip

Bone-in cuts tend to be slightly less expensive than their boneless counterparts, and have more flavor.

Pork Cooking Tip

According to the USDA, the recommended internal temperature for cooked pork should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pork Wine Pairing

Tempranillo, dolcetto, gewürztraminer, or muscat with roast pork; carmènere with  pork sausage; sangiovese, pinotage, or richer sauvignon blancs for stir-fried or braised pork dishes or pork in various sauces; syrah/shiraz, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nero d'avola, or primitivo with barbecued spareribs or pulled pork, or with cochinito en pibil and other Mexican-spiced pork dishes.