These Korean-inspired pulled pork tacos are so easy to make!
We’ve entered that terrible phase where my children scrutinize every meal and refuse to eat foods they loved just the other week. Ugh! But tacos seem to be a magical dish where I’m able to sneak all kinds of ingredients and flavors passed them. I can put almost anything in a tortilla and they’ll gobble it up. Not surprisingly then, we’re eating a lot of tacos at our house.
And I’m not complaining!
These slow cooker Korean pork tacos are the latest recipe added to the rotation and we all loved them. I think they’ve even shot up to the top of our favorites. The pulled pork has a lot of great flavor with a subtle sweetness and hint of heat. The slaw made with cabbage, sesame oil, cilantro, and lime is the perfect contrasting crunch to the tenderness of the pork. This recipe makes a big batch and it’s a good too, because we couldn’t stop eating them!
Why you should sear meat before slow cooking
Searing your meat before sticking it into the slow cooker is a completely optional step, but I always make the time for it. “Searing” simply means that the surface of the meat is cooked at a high temperature over dry heat (I use my cast iron pan) until a brown caramelized crust forms. Brown food = more flavorful food and searing meat first injects more flavor into the dish than there would be otherwise. As I said, it’s optional, but it takes just a few extra minutes and makes a difference!
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Slow Cooker Korean Pork Tacos
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 lbs pork tenderloin or pork butt/shoulder roast
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 whole garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Corn or flour tortillas
- Shredded pulled pork
- Cilantro (optional)
- Lime wedges (optional)
To make the pork:
- Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, red onion, jalepeno, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- (Optional step) Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper and brown in a large pan set over medium high heat. Brown all or most sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Place pork in a slow cooker. Pour soy sauce mixture over the top. Add the garlic cloves.
- Cover with lid and cook on low for 7 hours, on high for 4 hours.
- Shred pork slightly into large pieces and continue to cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.
- Shred pork completely and use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 1 week in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To make the slaw:
- Combine the brown sugar, sesame oil, olive oil, ginger and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- In a bowl toss the green and red cabbage, scallions and cilantro together. Pour dressing over the top and toss until combined.
- Use immediately, the slaw won't keep for very long.
To serve the tacos:
- If desired, toast tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat.
- Top tortillas with pork, slaw, cilantro and a squeeze of a lime wedge.
- This recipe makes a lot of pulled pork. Stash half in the freezer for a quick meal another night.
- Depending on the jalepenos, this makes for mild-medium heat pulled pork. If you'd like to make it spicier, add 1-2 tablespoons of sriracha to the soy sauce mixture before cooking meat.