Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Chalupas
Hands-on time: 55 MINUTES
Total time: 7 hours, 10 MINUTES
At nearly every large family gathering growing up, my mom would make Pork Chalupas. She started by soaking beans overnight (which legit made the house smell like farts), and the next day she would begin a timely process of boiling meat, simmering and marinating for what seemed like hours. (The aromas improved exponentially at this point.) The shredded pork was then piled on top of chips with a plethora of toppings to choose from, making the meal a huge hit amongst everyone. Since that time, I’ve developed my own method of cooking this flavorful feast, and that is using a Crock-Pot. Chester! (See: Slow-Cooker Mac & Cheese for “Chester” explanation.) In this recipe, the slow cooker does all the hard work for you and what you’re left with is super-tender, savory meat. Instead of the chips my mom used, I like to lightly fry tortillas until they puff up and crisp—trust me, that small effort raises the bar from excellent to extraordinary. Once topped with velvety refried beans (#nosmell), shredded pork, salty queso, creamy avocado, tangy pico and bright cilantro, you’re left with a dinner you will want to make again and again.
1 1⁄2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless pork shoulder
1 large white onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup Mexican beer
1⁄2 cup chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1⁄2 cup canola oil
20 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Ripe avocados, cut into wedges
3⁄4 cup crumbled queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese)
3⁄4 cup Avocado Pico de Gallo (recipe follows)
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges (optional)
Combine the salt, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture over the pork.
Place the onion and garlic in the bottom of a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Add the beer and broth. Place the pork on top, cover, and cook on HIGH until the pork is very tender, about 6 hours, or on LOW for 8 hours. Remove the pork from the cooker, and let stand for about 15 minutes. Coarsely shred the pork, and return it to the cooker; toss gently to coat with the cooking liquid.
Heat the refried beans in a small pan over medium-low, according to the can directions; cover and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add 1 tortilla and cook until lightly puffed, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the tortilla to a paper-lined tray, and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Divide the beans, pork mixture, avocado, queso fresco, Avocado Pico de Gallo, and cilantro evenly among the tortillas, and serve immediately with lime wedges, if desired.