Fresh, vibrant slow cooker Caribbean pork tacos. Corn tortillas filled with citrusy, spicy shredded pork, a healthy mango avocado salsa, and lots of fresh cilantro. The perfect easy healthy week night meal.
You guys. I realized something BIG the other day. I haven’t celebrated Taco Tuesday in a while! What?!?
I came to this realization last weekend while on a walk with my husband. It was beautiful last Sunday, like almost 60 degrees. That’s impressive for March in Chicago.
While on our walk, we passed our favorite taco spot, Big Star, and it was packed. Big Star has an amazing outside patio and people did not hesitate to take advantage of their chance to eat lunch outside.
It got me craving tacos. Unfortunately, the weather dropped again in Chicago, so patio time at Big Star is not happening anytime soon.
No reason to fret! I decided to create my own delicious, vibrant taco, fit for patio weather (we may not be able to enjoy them outside, but it will make it feel like spring).
We actually had a pork butt in our freezer that we needed to use; so that’s why I went with pork tacos.
I also had tons of oranges in my fridge. My husband and I love an old fashioned cocktail, which calls for an orange peels. We literally had 4 peeled oranges in our fridge. I guess we have an OF obsession! I didn’t want all the delicious orange juice to go to waste, so I knew I needed to use it in this recipe.
Finally, I found ripe fresh mangos at the grocery store on sale, and had a few of those on hand as well.
I decided to use all of these ingredients to make a Caribbean pork taco with a mango avocado salsa. It is slightly spicy, citrusy, flavorful, fruity, and just downright delicious. It definitely put me in a spring time sunny mood.
Let’s get to cooking.
The tacos get most of their flavor from the spice rub that coats the pork. It’s a combination of chipotle powder, garlic and onion powders, brown sugar cumin ginger, and allspice. It’s spicy, but also slightly sweet. Mix all of the dry rub ingredients together and coat the pork with it.
I recommend doing this step the night before and letting the pork marinade overnight. This allows the spice rub to really impart it’s flavor into the meat. Just make sure to take the pork out of the fridge about an hour before you put it in the slow cooker. The meat will cook faster and more evenly if you start cooking it while it is at room temperature.
Another easy way to impart more flavor in the meat is browning it before cooking it in the slow cooker. My slow cooker has a sauté function. I simply turn that function on, heat coconut oil in the bottom of the slow cooker, and cook all four sides for 3 minutes per side.
If you do not have the sauté function on your slow cooker, you can complete this step in a separate sauté pan (or cast iron skillet). But please please don’t skip this step. It is worth the little extra efforts. The crisp brown bits on the tender pork are heaven!
Now throw in the remaining taco ingredients and let your slow cooker do the rest of the work. Cook the pork on low for 7-8 hours. The pork is done when it easily shreds with a fork. Remove the bay leaf and garlic cloves and shred the rest of the pork.
To make the salsa, mic together diced mango, avocado, and red onion, plus olive oil, agave, and lime juice. To add more flavor, lightly season with salt and pepper and cilantro. This salsa is so simple, but fresh, vibrant, and flavorful.
It’s so good, I literally just started eating it with chips. I had hide it in the fridge so I didn’t eat it all and have none left for the tacos!
Once the pork and salsa are done, you can start building your taco.
I highly recommend charring your corn tortillas on the open flame of your burner – it gives some extra flavor to the tortillas.
Add in desired amount of pork, mango avocado salsa, some extra cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
Take a bite and be transported to a beautiful sunny day on the patio. Better yet, to a beautiful sandy beach in the Caribbean.
The shredded pork is juicy and tender, plus smoky and sweet from the rub and marinade. The fruity salsa provide a pop of fresh flavor. Finally, the extra squirt of lime juice helps waken the whole dish up.
I might not be able to go to Big Star just yet, but these tacos are satisfying my taco craving and getting me ready for warmer days to come.
Slow Cooker Caribbean Tacos
A fresh, vibrant taco meal made entirely in the slow cooker.
- 4-5 pound pork butt roast
- 2 ½ tablespoons chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup fresh OJ about 3 oranges
- ¼ cup lime juice juice of one lime
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce optional
- 4 garlic cloves smashed
- 2 bay leaves
Mango Avocado Salsa
- 1 mango diced
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Juice of half of a lime
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon agave
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Desired amount of corn tortillas
- Greek Yogurt for topping, optional
- Extra cilantro for topping
- squeeze of lime juice
Trim excess fat from meat (can also ask your butcher to do this when you purchase the pork butt).
Mix all of the spices and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Rub the dry mix all over the pork. I recommend refrigerating the seasoned pork overnight so the spices can impart their flavor into the pork.
Turn your slow cooker on sauté mode and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the bottom of the slow cooker. Brown all 4 sides of the pork, about 3 minutes per side. If your slow cooker does not have a sauté function, you can use a cast iron skillet or regular skillet to complete this step.
Add in remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. The meat is done when you can easily pull it apart with a fork. Discard bay leave and garlic cloves. Shred pork.
During the pork’s last hour of cooking, make the salsa by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Allow the salsa to sit int the fridge for about an hour. It will allow the salt to marinate and develop more flavor.
Char corn tortillas on flame of burner (or heat in skillet). Add in desired amount of pork and salsa, and top with extra cilantro and squeeze of lime juice. You can also add a dollop of greek yogurt.
Serve and enjoy!
The extra pork last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Can use the extra pork for other meals too, such as nachos, bbq pork sandwiches, or stuffed sweet potatoes.