Pulled Pork 'Pearadise' Tacos
You’ve had pulled pork tacos, but I’ll bet you haven’t had them with this southwestern spin. These pork tacos are a one way ticket to “pear”adise, using Prickly Pearadise hard cider as the base of a pork injection and smoked salsa made with prickly pear fruit.
For the Pork:
- 1 8-10 lb bone-in pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
- 1 1/2 Cups “Prickly Pearadise” Hard Cider
- 1/2 Cider Vinegar
- 2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
- Your favorite sweet BBQ rub
- Yellow Mustard
For the Salsa:
- 1 Cup diced Prickly Pear fruit
- 1 Large Tomato diced
- 1/2 White Onion diced
- 1 Jalapeno, diced & de-seeded
- 2 Poblano Peppers
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 Lime
For the Tacos:
- Warm tortillas (corn or flour)
- Lime wedges
- Cotija cheese (optional)
Fire up your Green Mountain Grill and set it to 225 degrees. While the grill comes to temperature, remove the pork from its bag and rinse with water. Make sure to clear away any bone fragments that might have made it in the packaging. Place the pork into an aluminum pan. To simplify this whole process as well as maintain extra moisture, we’ll be prepping, smoking, and pulling this pork all in the same pan.
Rub the entire pork-butt in yellow mustard, and coat it in your favorite sweet BBQ rub. If you’re not sure what rub to use, these are the key ingredients to look for for great smoked shoulder seasoning: Dark brown sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Once the pork is thoroughly seasoned, let the rub adhere to the meat as you prepare your injection.
In a mixing cup, combine the Prickly Pearadise hard cider, Worcestershire sauce, and cider vinegar. Stir with a whisk, and use a meat injector to fill the pork with flavor! Don’t be shy with this step. The more injection mixture that makes its way into the meat, the more moisture and flavor your finished product will have. After the meat is saturated with your injection, top with another layer of BBQ rub. Take what’s left of the injection mixture and pour it into a spritz bottle for later.
Place the pork onto the grates. Smoke the meat until an internal temperature of 165 degrees, spritzing every 30 minutes to an hour. This can take upwards of 8 hours, so be patient and plan ahead.
While the meat smokes, it’s time to build our prickly pear salsa. We want to do this now so we can give the flavors time to marry together before serving. Dice 1 large tomato, ½ of a white onion, 1 jalapeno (deseeded) and combine into a bowl. Skin your prickly pear fruit and chop the meat of it into small cubes. Try to remove seeds as you do this as they can be quite hard. Add the prepared prickly pear and a small handful of roughly chopped cilantro. Juice lime into the bowl, give the salsa a quick mix, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
To give this recipe some added south-of-the-border flare, slice the 2 poblano peppers in half lengthwise, and place on the grill. We will dice this up and add it to our salsa later.
Once the meat reaches our desired internal temperature of 165 degrees, dump all the remaining spritz/injection mixture into the pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil so the remaining liquid will steam the meat and shorten our cooking time. Turn the grill up to 250 degrees. At this point, you can remove the poblano peppers, dice, and add them to the salsa.
If you are smoking on a schedule, you can adjust when you wrap the meat. The internal temperature rises faster when the pan is wrapped, so if you are running short on time feel free to wrap sooner than 165 degrees. When the pork has an internal temperature of approximately 200 degrees, it’s ready to come off the grill and rest for 1 hour.
Once the meat has rested, remove the foil and dump any excess liquid from the pan. Remove the bone, and pull the pork! This should be the most satisfying step. As you pull the pork, add extra BBQ rub and incorporate it thoroughly.
Warm your tortillas, fill them with your freshly smoked pork and top with prickly pear salsa. Squeeze a lime over top and if desired, sprinkle with cilantro and a light dusting of cotija cheese.