When Chorizo and Elote Meet Pulled Pork and Coleslaw: The Glory of A Mexican-Barbecue Fusion

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Mexico meets barbecue. [Photographs: Morgan Eisenberg]

I'd never turn my nose up at some classic barbecue pulled pork, but my true pig-eating allegiance lies south of the border with Mexican chorizo, the heavily spiced and insanely delicious sausages. Since I like to have my hog and eat it too, I decided to combine the two to make chorizo-rubbed pulled pork. Braised in beer and served with a coleslaw inspired by elote, the Mexican street corn, this twist on pulled pork is a must-make recipe.

The idea struck me while contemplating a marked-down pork shoulder at the market. Since pork shoulder is used in both sausage (ground) and pulled pork (shredded), I channeled the spirit of the little girl from the Old El Paso commercials and asked myself, ¿Porque no los dos?

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To give the pork the characteristic flavor of Mexican chorizo, I chop it into chunks and coat it with a mixture of seasonings that you'd typically find in chorizo: paprika, ancho chili powder, salt, cumin, Mexican oregano, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, and cloves. By first cutting the pork into chunks, I'm able to get more of the spice rub over a greater surface area, seasoning it more thoroughly.

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I also throw some fresh garlic and onion into the pot with the pork along with some beer for braising. I recommend using a darker Mexican beer, since the pork pairs much better with the caramel maltiness and subtle sweetness of that variety than it does with pale lagers such as Corona.

After 2 1/2 to 3 hours in the oven, the pork is cooked through and falls apart at the touch of a fork. I strain the solids from the liquids, shred the pork, and then I pour the liquids back to the pot to reduce them. A bit of cornstarch helps thicken them up even more, and apple cider vinegar lends a tanginess that we're accustomed to tasting both in barbecue sauces and chorizo. I found that 2 tablespoons worked well for me, but depending on how much your sauce reduces and how much acidity you like, you may want to add a bit more. Taste-test to find your sweet spot, but be warned: the sauce is so good you might be tempted to drink it down before it ever makes it to the pork.

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No pulled pork recipe is complete without slaw, so I decided to update the typical cabbage-mayonnaise mixture by incorporating corn, mayo, cotija cheese, jalapeños, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and chili powder—the ingredients you see in the Mexican street corn called elote.

Whether you decide to serve your pork and elote slaw between buns, wrapped in tortillas, or just eat 'em by themselves, this stuff is so good you may forget all about that barbecue craving altogether.

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