Sweet and Smoky Crock Pot Pork Tacos

CATEGORIES: Kate, Latin, Pork, Slow-Cooker

sweet_and_smoky_pork_tacos-1 square It is no secret that Sara and I are big taco people. I don’t mean actual large human tacos, but that we’re really, really into tacos. And lately, I’ve been really, really into my slow cooker. So often when it comes to dinner…I just can’t, you guys. Are you disappointed in me? Because I get into cooking ruts. And by “ruts,” I mean I wish someone would plan, make, and deliver nutritious and delicious meals to my house. And then stay to clean things up. And put my kids to bed. And then rub my feet and fold my laundry. Is that too much to ask?

Anyway. I got way off track there. Where were we? Love tacos. Love my slow cooker.

I’ve been wanting a smoky slow cooker taco recipe for a long time. Something easy, something relatively healthy, but something we could easily dress up at dinnertime with all sorts of taco fixin’ deliciousness. Finally, with Cinco de Mayo upon us, I decided it was time to buckle down and get it done. And we loved these tacos–a little sweet, a little spicy, plenty smoky, a perfect member of my taco family (still tacos, not people.)

You’re going to start by seasoning a pork roast (about 2.5-3.5 pounds; sirloin will be your leanest choice, shoulder/butt is the fattiest but also super delicious, the loin is kind of middle of the road) with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and heating a couple tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork roast and sear on all sides.

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Transfer the pork to a crock pot.

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, onion, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and smoked paprika.

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Rub it over the top of the pork roast. Whisk together the Coke, adobo sauce, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke

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and pour it around the pork roast. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours or until it shreds easily with a fork. Juice the lime over the pork and stir to combine, then season to taste with salt. Serve with lime wedges, crumbled queso fresco, fresh pico de gallo, sliced white onions, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and any other favorite taco toppings.

Sweet and Smoky Crock Pot Pork Tacos

Sweet and Smoky Crock Pot Tacos
These Sweet and Smoky Crock Pot Pork Tacos are as easy as they are delicious! Top them with your favorite taco toppings for an easy weeknight dinner!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 2.5-3.5-pound pork roast (sirloin is a good lean cut, picnic roast is always delicious but fattier, pork loin is a good middle-of-the-road cut)
  2. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons dry onion
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  7. 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  8. 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  9. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  10. 1 cup Coke (not Diet Coke)
  11. 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilies (2 if you want medium heat, 3 if you really want it spicy; if you're very sensitive to heat, use 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce or mild enchilada sauce. Keep in mind the finished product will be milder.)
  12. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  13. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  14. Juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Heat about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork roast with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the pork roast and sear on all sides. Transfer the pork to a crock pot.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, onion, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and smoked paprika. Rub it over the top of the pork roast. Whisk together the Coke, adobo sauce, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke and pour it around the pork roast.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours or until it shreds easily with a fork. Juice the lime over the pork and stir to combine, then season to taste with salt. Serve with lime wedges, crumbled queso fresco, fresh pico de gallo, sliced white onions, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and any other favorite taco toppings.
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31 comments

  1. I usually use pork butt for any shredded pork something. Big difference between that and the loin?

  2. question too … I seriously had the sweet and spicy chipotle pork tacos on my menu for this week but now i’m tempted to switch over to these instead, might look easier! So how would you say the two compare, because I really like the slow cooker idea and the ingredients are similar. right?

  3. Also wondering about the cut of meat…my grocery store has a picnic shoulder roast for $0.99/lb this week so I was hoping to do some kind of mexican pork dish with that…would it be too fatty for this?

  4. Except for some tweaking this is a recipe that the Pioneer Woman has already done. It is a wonderful recipe and super simple!

    1. I haven’t ever seen this on The Pioneer Woman; I truly developed this myself. That said, there are a lot of recipes involving pork and Coke and herbs and spices and I would venture to say that many of them are similar in many ways. This isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel. 🙂

  5. This looks delicious! I would love to make it this week. Unfortunately, we have a caffeine allergy in the family. Can anyone think of a good Coke substitute?

    1. I’ve used root beer and salsa and brown sugar with success with pork so root beer would be a good alternative. I’m also going to try it with orange juice to see how that works. 🙂

    1. If you go with the 2.5-pound roast (and you’re using a leaner cut of meat), you can probably count on 8-ish servings, closer to 12 with a larger roast. A fattier cut, like the shoulder/butt roast, will give you a little less. Hope that helps!

  6. I bought a pork roast because it was on sale. Now I know what to cook. This sounds really yummy! I too would like someone to deliver fresh, nutritious meals and clean up after dinner every day. I’m usually worn out by the time dinner hits.

  7. I do a similar one for a barbacoa pork with Dr. pepper so I would honestly say just about any dark soda would work? I slather mine in cilantro lime slaw.

  8. I’m totally with you on getting into a dinner rut. My daughter is just starting a project for church where she is supposed to help plan and prepare meals for 2 weeks and I feel like I have hit the jackpot! Having someone else decide what we are going to eat and having a built-in helper is going to make me so happy. I’m hoping she will lose track of time and maybe do it even longer than 2 weeks.

  9. I made this for dinner last night and it was a hit! My husband and 3 kids all loved it! I used a 3 lb pork shoulder since that was all my friendly neighborhood Walmart had. My kids aren’t into spicy, so I only used 1 T. of adobo sauce and it was perfect. I served the tacos with crumbled cotija cheese and avocado slices and made some spanish rice as a side dish. I will definitely make this again–thanks for the recipe!

  10. This is in the crock pot right now and smells delicious. Do you have any suggestions on what to make with the rest of the can of chipotles?

    1. I don’t usually use a lot either, so I pour the rest of the can of adobo into the blender and liquefy the whole thing. Then I portion it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. After that, I use one ice-cube-sized portion for any recipe that would call for chilies in adobo. One can gives me lots and lots of pork tacos!

  11. Loved this recipe! Very tasty and the flavours are well-balanced. I used the same amount of onion powder instead of flakes because it’s what I had; didn’t change anything else. Used a 3.5 lbs shoulder blade roast (bone-in) and after 9.5 hours on low overnight (with porky scents wafting into my dreams), it shredded beautifully. It looked like the right proportion of liquid (I shredded the pork up in the morning and let it sit in the juices all day with the slow cooker on the ‘keep warm’ function) but it was a little liquidy when actually in the tacos (juices dripping out). I don’t eat tacos often but I assume that is normal? We can handle heat but I went with 1 tbsp of adobo sauce to start (got part of a chili in there too by accident) and I thought it was barely noticeable in terms of spiciness but added to the smoky flavour. I went with the suggested toppings, and made Once Upon a Chef’s corn-bean salad to go with it.

    @Nancy – the corn bean salad has a variation on the dressing which calls for some adobo sauce/peppers. I’m still looking for other uses for my can as well.

  12. I find myself in a dinner/laundry/toilet cleaning rut all of the time. This often seems to coincide with feeding the missionaries! Any suggestions on a simple dessert to go with this meal? I am going to do the pork tacos, spanish rice and your mango pina coladas.

  13. Have you ever tried freezing this? I am wanting to make it for a graduation party and would like to make it ahead. nay thought?

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