Cherry Republic BBQ Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

On July 6, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Normally I would put a pork butt in the smoker and wait 12 hours for an amazing piece of meat.  Unfortunately, a lot was going on this Fourth of July holiday weekend and well I almost forgot to cook the pork I defrosted.  It was 11am and we were getting ready to head to the beach so I needed to do something quick. So this is a solution to quick using slow.

A slower cooker (aka Crock Pot) was my solution. It was slow enough and fast enough at the same time. On high, I could have the pork ready in 6 to 8 hours the perfect amount of time for when the family came back from the beach ready to eat dinner.

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You do lose the rich smoky flavor with a slow cooker, but this recipe depends more on the barbecue sauce.  I went with one I received as a gift from Glen Arbor, Michigan’s Cherry Republic. Their Spicy Cherry BBQ Sauce has a hint of spice that still maintains the sweet cherry flavor. For a jar barbecue sauce, it’s pretty good for a sandwich like this, but you can use whatever sauce you like.

Before arriving home, we also made a quick stop for some La Brea bread bake at home ciabatta bread. They are a great option. If you can’t find them, use a rustic roll instead of a hamburger bun. You’ll enjoy it a lot more and the bread will not get soaked in sauce.

Finally for the meat, use a sustainable ranch.  For this recipe, I bought the pork at the Studio City Farmer’s Market.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Serves 4-6

3-4 lb Pork Butt
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced in half moons
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup bbq sauce (optional)

Combine dark brown sugar, salt, and spices into a small bowl.  Pat down the pork butt with some paper towel to make it as dry as possible and then rub the spice mixture into the pork on all sides.  Then add the onion and garlic cloves to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place the rubbed pork on to the onion and garlic and pour in the stock around the sides so as not to wash off the rub.

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Cook for 6-8 hours on high or 10-12 hours on slow.

Remove the pork when done and then strain the liquid left in the slow cooker, reserving the liquid and discarding any onions, garlic, and fat.  Pull the pork by removing strands of meat and placing them back into the slow cooker and then add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid back into the pot along with the bbq sauce of your choice.  Mix it up and then let it cook on low for 20 minutes in the slow cooker.

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Serve on hard bread rolls along with sides of your choosing.

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porksandwich

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve put the smoker to some use and not because I haven’t wanted to.  Life has been busy, but I found some time during the three day Memorial Day weekend. A few weeks before I noticed on Instagram a post from the new BBQ restaurant in Studio City, Barrel & Ash, that they get some of their meats from a butcher in Santa Ana called Electric City Butcher.

I looked into Electric City Butcher’s social media profiles to learn more. They focus on responsibly raised meats. I found an article back from 2014 about the owner chef/butcher Michael Puglisi who used to work at Picnik in Pasadena before opening his own place at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. Puglisi’s approach to meat was what I was looking for after my former favorite butcher Lindy & Grundy closed their business last year.

Electric City Butcher is a fairly small operation inside the market. It looks to me like the beginnings of bigger things to come. The shop has a glass cooler with meats to select from everything from beef, pork, chicken, duck, sausages, and plenty more.  Michael and his team were cutting up orders and I placed my order for 4 pounds of pork shoulder and some salami in the case.

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Unfortunately, Santa Ana is some distance from where I live, but for those times that I’m in Orange County I’ll definitely make a stop at Electric City Butcher.  My hope is the shop grows and moves into a bigger place in Los Angeles.

I prepped the smoker the next day and trimmed some additional fat off the pork shoulder to maximize the smoke flavoring and rub.

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Serves 6-8

4-5 lbs bone-in pork shoulder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup peach nectar
1 teaspoon hot sauce, Tapatio or similar

6 burger or brioche buns
2 cups of cole slaw
your favorite bbq sauce

Trim pork shoulder to have minimal fat and do not remove bone.  Mix dry seasonings together to make rub. Remove 2 tablespoons of the rub and place in a mixing bowl and add hot sauce, 1/2 cup apple cider and 1/4 cup peach nectar whisking the rub and liquids together.

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Using the remaining dry rub, rub the pork shoulder all over to cover.  Using an injector, fill with the liquid in the mixing bowl and inject the pork shoulder with the liquid in various points in the pork.

Let the pork sit for 1 hour with rub and injections done.  Prepare your smoker.

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In a spray bottle combine a 1/2 cup of apple cider and 1/2 cup of peach nectar and place spray bottle in the fridge.

Place the pork in the smoker at 225 degrees for 10-12 hours or until it reaches 180 degrees.  Periodically, spray the pork every few hours with the fruit juice spray bottle.

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Remove the finished pork and pull the meat.  Build your sandwiches with buns and place meat and slaw in the bun adding bbq sauce.

 

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Coppa Street Tacos

On October 7, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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coppatacos

Last weekend I had a chance to stop by my favorite LA butcher, Lindy & Grundy.  They carry a selection of local, pasture raised, and organic meats. Unlike most visits, I didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to buy and found a cut of boneless pork shoulder, coppa, next to my typical bone-in pork butt that I normally put into my smoker.

Coppa is a cut I wasn’t familiar with, or at least wasn’t used to seeing it at meat counter in its raw form.  That’s what is so great about visiting Lindy & Grundy, I learn about different cuts one usually doesn’t find; although, when I arrived at home with my Coppa in hand, I looked up the cut on Google and learned it most often used to make one of my favorite cuts of cured meat – Capocollo.

I had bought the meat to make some tacos so I decided to marinate the Coppa and smoke it the next day.

The tacos worked in the end. The smoked Coppa had a smoked, bacon-like, flavor that went well with the corn tortillas, onions, cilantro, squeezed lime and Tapatio hot sauce.

Coppa Street Tacos
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of Coppa, boneless pork shoulder
2 oranges, juice only
1 bottle brown ale, such as New Castle
4 garlic cloves, sliced in half

12 corn tortillas
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes, quartered
hot sauce

The night before cooking marinate the Coppa in a bowl mixing the orange juice, ale and garlic cloves. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare a smoker. Discard the marinade. I used some Almond Wood and smoked the Coppa at 225 degrees for 7 hours letting it reach 160 degrees.

Once the Coppa is cooked in the smoker, it can be refrigerated and used the next day or diced into small chunks and served.

Heat the corn tortillas in a saute pan on medium-high with a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil.  Let the oil get hot and using tongs heat each side of the tortilla for about 10 seconds and then place on some paper towel to remove the grease. Repeat with each tortilla.

Add Coppa, onions and cilantro to each tortilla and serve with cut limes and hot sauce.

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Pork Tenderloin with Peach Asian Marinade

On October 6, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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porkloinsousvide

 

There are some meats that I now cooked solely with my SousVide Supreme.  I simply can’t beat the perfection of a slow cook that I get from this style of cooking. Pork tenderloin is a cut that does very well and adding a marinade is a great way to add a ton of flavor since the meat and marinade is vacuum sealed which helps trap all the flavors.

This simple dish requires only a few ingredients and was a great way to put a sweet, flavorful peach to use that was getting a bit too ripe to eat.

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Pork Tenderloin with Peach Asian Marinade
Serves 2

1 Pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
1 Peach, peeled and cored
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar
1 garlic clove

Combine everything for the marinade into a handheld food processor or blender until smooth.  Place the pork tenderloin into a vacuum seal bag and add the marinade.  Seal the loin and marinade.

Place in a water bath in the SousVide Supreme and cook for 8-12 hours at 140 degrees.  After 8 hours it is done, the extra time is flex time.  Preheat a grill on high for 10 minutes. Remove the pork from the SousVide Supreme and place pork on the grill for a couple minutes on each side to add some finishing grill marks.

Slice the pork and serve over rice or with your favorite Asian inspired side dish.

 


DISCLAIMER: I was sent the SousVide Supreme to try as part of a blogger outreach program from the company.  The opinions are my own.

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Perfect Baby Back Ribs

On May 5, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Great ribs are simple with the right equipment. In my case, that’s putting my recent electric smoker purchase to work.  So far I’ve made brisket, pulled pork and now baby back ribs. It’s so easy it doesn’t even feel like cooking.  Though the brisket did take a lot of work, the pulled pork and ribs were pretty much put them in the smoker, forget about them and come back when they should be ready.

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The ribs only took the small effort of coating them with some BBQ rub the night before. Also, the removing of the thin membrane under the rib bones is good too so the rub coats all the meat you’ll be eating.

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The ribs I bought came from my favorite butcher in Los Angeles, Lindy & Grundy. They’re from ReRide Ranch in Lake Hughes, California. The ribs were already perfectly trimmed so I had little prep to do.

 

BBQ Rub

Prep Time: 5 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot smoke paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Put into a shaker for future BBQ needs.

Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 3 Hours 30 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb baby back ribs
  • BBQ Rub
  • 2 oz. apple wood

Directions:

  1. Trim any excess fat on ribs and remove membrane layer on back of rib bones. Rub ribs the night before with a layer of BBQ rub and put in refrigerator until cooking time.
  2. Using 2 ounces of wood, a dry apple wood is best, place ribs in smoker at 225 degrees.* Leave in smoker for 3 1/2 hours.
  3. Serve.
  4. I use a CookShack electric smoker. Times may need to be adjusted for other smokers.
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My Meat Prayers have been Answered

On May 4, 2013, in Featured, Food, by Chris Baccus
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Thank you Meat God.

When we moved out of Texas last year to come back to my home state California, one thing I knew I’d miss was Burgundy Pasture Beef.  The ranch in Grandview, Texas was a gem in where I sourced my meats. We would drive to the ranch about every 6 weeks (it was a hour drive south of Dallas) and get $300-$400 of meat while enjoying some of the best burgers in my life. Life was good. I had found an amazing small ranch, grass-fed beef place I loved going to visit and support with my dollars.

Los Angeles is not Dallas. Or is it California is not Texas?

LA is not full of ranches within a hour drive and the area is known more for vegetarian, raw food which I love too, but it just isn’t a mecca for beef like Texas.  So I went around the local Farmers’ Markets and bought from a couple good grass-fed vendors.  Nothing was that impressive and at least I found some sources outside of the supermarkets or mail order.

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That’s when fate intervened.  We were interviewing some interns for a open position we had where I work and one of the interns mentioned she was doing social media for an organic, grass-fed butcher in Los Angeles called Lindy and Grundy. My ears perked up and I asked her to tell us more about the place, where it was and what she was learning about grass-fed meat. I noted the place and went to it that Saturday when the weekend arrived. I’ve been back since about four times.

Lindy & Grundy sells local, pastured raised, organic meats including beef, pork, chicken and a few other options. I had the pleasure this week of finally meeting one of the two owners Amelia Posada. She was great sharing how she spent some of her time growing up in Pasadena just like myself. I bought some beautiful baby back ribs, chicken, and Amelia’s family recipe pork carnitas.

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We had the carnitas tonight. Oh. My. God. They were delicious. The lard, oranges, garlic and spices brought out so much wonderful flavor I couldn’t stop eating. The shop was also selling fresh tortillas today from the Boyle Heights location of Guisados Tacos. Writing about this I’m now thinking of raiding the refrigerator to make another taco.

So while I love doing vegetarian/vegan meals every 3 to 4 times a week, having a great place to get high quality, sustainable, grass-fed meats is a blessing to my meat quest. Amen.

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Pulled Pork

On April 21, 2013, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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With a new toy in the backyard, it’s no surprise I’ve done back to back weeks of BBQ. This weekend I put the smoker to work doing some Pulled Pork.  Friday after I work I made a trip to west Los Angeles to Lindy & Grundy and picked up a beautiful 6 1/2 lb bone-in pork butt.  Here it is the day before after I applied the rub.

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We were having neighbors over so it was the first time I would have guests to try what came out of the smoker. My biggest worry was having it ready on time. Concerned I may not have enough time even though I placed the meat in the cooker at 6:30am with guests coming at 6pm, I decided to up the temperature from 225 degrees to 250 for the full cooking time.

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The pork did come out with a more darker crust than I’d expect with a slower cooking time, but it wasn’t burnt. There was a pretty good crunch and the hotter temperature proved a good solution as the internal temperature of the pork came to 195 degrees after 11 hours which gave me time to pull the pork before guests arrived. Here is how it looked falling off the bone after I pulled it out of the smoker.

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I pulled the pork and lined a pan and covered it with foil then placed it back into the smoker for when we were all ready to eat. The end product was full of smoky flavor, had some great pieces of “bark” and was fairly moist though I could’ve taken it out about a hour or half hour earlier when the internal temperature hit 190 degrees for a more moist meat.  The pulled pork was served with two homemade barbeque sauces: Mustard and Sweet sauces.

Here is the end result.

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Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 11 Hours Total Time: 11 Hours 15 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 1/2 lb bone-in pork butt
  • Rub:
  • 3/4 cup Hot Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Salt
  • 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Onion Powder

Directions:

  1. Rub pork the night before or for 8 hours before putting in the smoker.
  2. Heat smoker to a 250 degree temperature maintaining a consistent temperature for 11-12 hours. Remove from smoker when internal temperature of meat hits 190 degrees.
  3. Remove and pull the pork. Serve with your favorite sauce or sauces.
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Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce

On September 23, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This week’s #SundaySupper is all about apples as we celebrate the beginning of Fall with an Autumn Apple Party. Immersing ourselves into the apple theme we decided to spend Saturday at a couple apple orchards near San Bernadino about a hour and 20 minutes east of Pasadena.  Our first stop was Snow-Line Orchard where the boys watched donuts being made and tried about 15 different types of apples at the sampling table.

We stopped there to do u-pick raspberries since they didn’t do u-pick apples.  Sadly, by 1pm they had ran out of raspberries to pick so we enjoyed some donuts and drove down the road to Riley’s Los Rios Ranch. Riley’s was a lot of fun. The boys loved roaming around the rows of apple trees finding all kinds of varieties to pick.  We mostly ended up with some beautiful red delicious and granny smiths.

We brought home 5 pounds of apples, a pint of apple cider, and homemade caramel dip. Yes it’s a good weekend.

After a fun afternoon of apple picking, it was time to start cooking. I stopped by a store for some Calvados (Apple Brandy) and picked up an organic pork tenderloin at the market. I had some collard greens, sweet potato, and bunch of freshly picked apples to begin the night’s feast.

I paired this dish with a couple sides.  The first was some sauted collard greens.  Just chop some greens and slice half of an onion into thin half-moon.  Add some olive oil to a saute pan cooking the onions for a couple minutes then adding the greens and cooking them down for about 5-8 minutes. Toss a few times during cooking to mix the onions and greens together. You’re done.

For the second side, I chopped up two sweet potatoes and one apple into small cubes.  Tossed them with a handful of raisins, olive oil and salt and pepper .  Bake this in an oven proof casserole dish at 450 degrees for 30 minutes while you make the main the course.

 

Pork Tenderloin with Calvados Cream Sauce
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ “steaks”
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in medium heat pan. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes.  While cooking pound the pork tenderloin “steaks” using a meat tenderizer, salt and pepper the pork and add to the pan.

Cook about 3 minutes on each side where the sides of the pork brown just a bit.  Don’t crowd the pan and set aside some of the tenderloin in a bowl.

With some pork tenderloins in the pan, add the apple brandy to the pan and if you feel daring ignite the brandy with a match after it heats in the pan for a second.  The flames will surge so be careful. Let it cook for a moment with the flames then carefully cover the pan to put out the flames. Cook the brandy on medium-high heat letting it reduce by half.

Once the brandy is reduced by half add the heavy cream and cut up apples.  Let this cook stirring together bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it cook for about 3 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

Serve the pork with the sauce and sides.


For more Sunday Supper Autumn Apple recipes checkout the following:

Soups, Salads, Starters and Breads

Main Meals

Sides

Desserts

Beverages

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Street Tacos al Pastor for #SundaySupper

On September 16, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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September 16th is Día de Independencia in Mexico (Mexico’s Independence Day) and to celebrate the group of bloggers from #SundaySupper decided to feature Mexican dishes.  As someone who has another blog entirely dedicated to my favorite Mexican food — Tacos — I was excited to try making something I have always wanted to attempt.

Tacos al Pastor is my go to taco when I am out doing taco reviews on GasStationTacos.com.  It’s my test to see if the taqueria is sub par, average or amazing. If you have never enjoyed an al pastor taco, you are in for a treat provided you find a place (or recipe) that is at least average and hopefully amazing.

I’ve had amazing a few times.  The most memorable is from this gas station in Dallas, Texas:

They make it on a vertical spit something most home cooks don’t own, myself included. Sadly this recipe isn’t a match for some of the amazing pastor tacos in my history, but that doesn’t mean you should stop reading or ignore this recipe.  It just means the recipe here is above average and is a solid choice for homemade al pastor.  Granted I’ll probably try some other things next time, like increasing or modifying the chiles used as I prefer a bit more spice.

My wife really liked this recipe and thought the tacos were really good. Note this was her first time having al pastor tacos, because she will not eat at the gas stations or taco trucks I like to frequent.  Her loss.

So here is my virgin attempt at al pastor.

You will need to find a Mexican market as you’ll need a coupe things you probably won’t find at the typical grocery store.  Achiote paste and dried guajillos chiles are two things I had to find after striking out here in LA at Whole Foods.

Tacos al Pastor
Serves 4

16 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil
2 lbs pork butt, trimmed of some of the outer fat and cut into 1″ “steaks”
1/2 pineapple
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, diced
4 limes, cut into quarters
salt

Anchiote Marinade
2 oranges, juice only
1/2 cup anchiote paste
10 dry guajillos chiles
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the marinade by soaking the dried gualjillos chiles in hot water for about 10 minutes.  Add the softened chiles to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined.  Pour the marinade over the pork butt, cut into 1″ thick “steaks” and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Heat your grill and add the pork.  Cook the pork for about 20 minutes turning halfway through and pounding the pork with some grill tongs. You want to soften the pork and thin it while it is cooking.  For the last 5 minutes of grilling add some rounds of pineapple.

While waiting for everything to grill, soften the tortillas by heating some oil in a saute pan on the stove.  Quickly add the tortillas for just a second on each side and place on papper towel patting them to remove any excess oil.

Remove the pork and pineapple.  Chop the pork and cut the pineapple into small pieces mixing all of it together.  In a separate bowl mix the red onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime and salt.

Prepare 3 to 4 tacos per plate and place some pork and pineapple mixture onto each tortilla and top with the onion and cilantro mixture.

Serve with some hot sauce and fresh limes.


For more ways to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day checkout the other #SundaySupper recipes this week:

Join us around the family table this week for our #SundaySupper Mexican Fiesta – it’s a party that you won’t want to miss. We hope to inspire you with these mouthwatering recipes from our talented contributors. We will be sharing them all day long and would love for you to share your favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired recipes during our #SundaySupper live chat at 7pm (Eastern).

Sopas (Soups), Ensaladas (Salads), and Entremeses (Starters)

La Comida (the food)

Postres (desserts)

Bebidas (beverages)

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite recipes for a Mexican Fiesta! All you have to do is follow the#SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your Mexican Fiesta recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers! And feel free to leave links to your favorite Mexican or Mexican-inspired recipes in the comment section of this post – I’d love to see them!

Sundaysupper-clear

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Pork Tenderloin and Jicama Slaw Tacos

On July 2, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is a leftovers meal.  The night before I made some BBQ glazed pork tenderloin on the grill. With about half of the loin left, I decided to shred it and reheat it in a saute pan for 5 minutes added a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and some ground pepper.  Note: You can use an asian marinated pork tenderloin too. It really does not matter.

For the slaw, I bought some jicama slaw at the local Whole Foods last night. It’s basically just sticks of jicama, carrots, and bell peppers with a light mayo. Again, you can do whatever you want here. A vinaigrette based slaw would be even better but I went with what was easy at the deli counter.

Add the pork and slaw then some hot sauce.

The flour tortillas are from Two Chefs who are at the Coppell Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning here in Dallas.  I highly recommend them and will massively miss their chips and medium salsa as I move to Los Angeles this coming week.

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