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Essentials: Pork Tacos at Home

I’m a little nervous about putting this recipe before this crowd, which probably includes more people with dearly-held opinions about barbecue and tacos than I could find anywhere else. Me, I like pulled pork, but I’m from Texas, so that’s not the brand of barbecue I was raised on; and again, I’m from Texas, so I’ll accept a crispy shell full of ground beef and orange cheese as a “taco” just as happily as I’ll eat carnitas wrapped in a fresh tortilla. In short, people with standards more exacting than mine might argue that this is not real pulled pork and these are not real pork tacos. But recently I fed them to a discerning friend who went back for seconds and thirds, and their excellence has made it hard for us to enjoy pork tacos at our former favorite places, so…I’m going to risk putting this out there.

I have been in thrall to The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook since I got my copy. It has much to recommend it—wonderful writing, near-perfect recipes—but the most brilliant thing lurking in its brilliant pages is definitely the recipe for Oven BBQed Pork Picnic Shoulder. You cook a big, inexpensive piece of pork for a long time with some simple flavoring, and the result is meat far more tender and delicious than you thought you could produce in your little kitchen. You can carve it into slices to serve, but I like it best pulled and eaten on a bun with coleslaw or in a warmed tortilla (it’s also good for making enchiladas, but that’s a whole other post). The pork shoulder is so much better the second day that you shouldn’t even consider eating it the day you make it; cook it up and pull it on Saturday, and then when your friends come over for the game on Sunday all you’ll have to do is chop cilantro, slice onions, warm tortillas, and reheat the pork. I can’t stand football, but I’d get cozy and enjoy any old thing on television if someone was feeding me these.

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