Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Easy Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Red Cabbage Crunch and Avocado

[Photograph: Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls, Small Kitchen]

A taco's filling is infinitely variable, so it's easy to make them on the cheap. All you've got to do is pick a hearty but inexpensive filling, and practice rigid discipline with respect to your garnishes.

Pork butt can be had for a couple bucks a pound, and it's a fatty cut that responds beautifully to marinating and slow cooking. When it's shredded and mixed with a bit of barbecue sauce and a hint of chipotle, it's not only rich, but sweet, sour, and a little bit spicy. I add some crunchy, tangy red cabbage to complement the warm meat. Creamy cubes of avocado finish it off.

If you're feeling really thrifty, try shredding leftover turkey, mixing it with barbecue sauce and chipotle, and use it to fill your tacos.

Note: If you don't own a slow cooker, you can always cook the pork in the oven. Transfer it to a small Dutch oven, add the vegetables, and fill the pot with water about halfway up the pork. Cook, covered, at 325°F until the pork pulls apart easily with a fork, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Shopping List: 1 pound pork butt, $3; 1 avocado, $1; 1 pound red cabbage, $1; 4 flour tortillas (prorated), $1.50; 1 lime, $0.60; 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce (prorated), $0.50; 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, plus some extra sauce, less than $0.25; 1 large carrot, $.50
Pantry Items: brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt, garlic, onion, ground coriander, sugar, oil
Total Cost (for 2 portions): $7.85

About the authors: Phoebe and Cara are the co-founders of Big Girls, Small Kitchen, a food and cooking website for twenty-something cooks looking for user-friendly, affordable ways to navigate their kitchens. They have a heated, decade-long rivalry about whose Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie is the best. Their book, Big Girls, Small Kitchen, will be published in the spring of 2011 by William Morrow. Visit their blog here.

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