Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crock-Pot Dr. Pepper Pork Tacos & Apple Slaw

There's something about winter weather that makes me want to cook. Warm, delicious smells filling the kitchen, hearty spices and savory flavors blending together in harmonic perfection... I love to cook. But more than just whipping up something in the kitchen, I love cooking for a crowd.

This past Tuesday we threw a surprise birthday party for a friend (she had no clue, which is the best part), and I needed a soul-warming recipe that would feed at least 15 people and required minimal effort. Enter, Dr. Pepper Pork Tacos from The Pioneer Woman.

Full disclosure: I don't drink, or even like, Dr. Pepper. I'm a fully-leaded Coca Cola girl myself, and DP's never been my beverage of choice. But oh my goodness, does it ever make a great sauce.

Using the link above, I adapted The Pioneer Woman's recipe for the crock-pot, and fed a whole crew of people, plus made a tangy apple slaw that nicely complimented the heat from the chipotle peppers in this recipe.

Here's what you'll need:
  • One pork tenderloin, at least two pounds
  • Two 12 oz cans of Dr. Pepper
  • Two 7.5 oz cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in the Mexican food section of your grocery store)
  • One white onion
  • Salt & pepper
  • Tortillas
  • A crock pot set on low for at least eight hours
  • Avocado, for garnish
For the slaw:
  • One bag of Dole ready-made coleslaw
  • Two small or one large Granny Smith apple
  • Green onions
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • One serrano pepper
  • The juice of half a lemon
Start by cutting your onion in half, then cutting those halves in half.

 Remove the outer layer of the onion and separate, lining the bottom of the crock pot with the pieces.

Then take your pork tenderloin out of the packaging or butcher's wrap, and set it directly on top of the onions in the crock pot. I hate the way raw meat looks, but there's so much deliciousness in its future!

Then crack open your cans of chipotle peppers. I can't vouch for any other brand, but I use San Marcos.

Pour both cans right on top of the meat, just directly onto it. Let it sit on there. I used a can per half. 

These suckers are spi-cy, but it's the exact kind of spice you want when it's bitterly cold outside. Once you've added the peppers, pour the two cans of Dr. Pepper into the pot. That delicious smell you're getting? It only gets better. 

Then, generously salt and pepper the whole concoction. I had some wedges of onion left over, so I shoved them in there around the edges. Set your crock pot on "Low" and cook for at least eight hours. 

I'm in a position right now where I can run home on my lunch breaks and check in on what I'm cooking, but if you don't have that luxury, just set the timer for as long as you'll be gone. There's enough liquid in here that your meat should be good and hydrated without drying out. I personally set it for six hours around 7:30 a.m., then came home at 1:30, set it for another five hours until I got home.

Eleven hours of cooking time may seem like a really, really long time to cook your tacos (at least, it did for me), but I promise you it makes a difference. All of that spice and Dr. Pepper flavor is soaking into the meat the entire time, and let me tell you... when I pulled the tenderloin out of the pot to shred it, it basically fell apart on my tongs. It was so soft, so moist, so freaking flavorful that I considered calling everyone and telling them the party was cancelled just so I could have a batch of tacos all to myself. 

Take the meat out of the crock pot and put it on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the tenderloin. After all that time cooking, it won't be difficult.

You will get a ton of pork awesomeness out of this. Once you've shredded the meat, return it back to the crock pot on low heat or on "warm," then add some additional salt and pepper to taste. 

While the shredded meat is soaking in the juices, make the slaw.

In a big bowl, pour 1/4C apple cider vinegar and the juice of half of your lemon into the bowl and mix with a fork. Then, julienne your apple into matchsticks and let it soak in the juice while you dice green onions, de-seed and mince a serrano pepper. Then put your coleslaw into the mix and, while drizzling olive oil into the bowl, toss everything together with tongs. 

Now for the grand finale: Using tongs, serve yourself a portion of the meat onto a warm tortilla, top with slaw and diced avocado. Then revel in your creation and share with family and friends. Or don't, your call.

Crock-Pot Dr. Pepper Pork Tacos with Tangy Apple Slaw
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Images Copyright of Jessica Reynolds & Hey There, Friday

1 comment:

  1. I am so incredibly excited to finally have access to this amazing recipe! I will definitely be adding this to the meal rotation soon. Disclaimer for those that are wondering how good these actually are: My husband can barely handle the spice of black pepper and eats these like they are going out of style; red faced and sweating bullets. They're THAT GOOD.