garlic & cilantro shredded pork tacos.

+ the works!

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taco taco taco!!!

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i really think i could live on tacos alone. so many possibilities. what’s not to love?!?!!

peter is the regular meat chef in this house and he’s really good at marinating & grilling, etc. but i took it upon myself in the new year to learn how to meat mo betta.

my usual tricks pretty much consist of thawing out frozen chicken and cooking it in a pan with garlic, salt & pepper. or cooking sausages in a pan. and that is getting oooooold and lame real fast.

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i’m in love with tieghan gerard’s half-baked harvest cookbook - she has so many delicious looking meat recipes and different methods of preparing meat. i’m just learning everything from her at this point. and it’s working out famously.

last week, i made her marinated chicken for gyros and this pulled pork! both meat methods were delish and you could adapt the meats into a lot of different recipes.

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and the best part is…….learning to meat is super easy.

marinating is key…and all that really entails is a little bit of planning ahead and waiting around.

you can marinate this pork for just 2 hours at room temperature - i did it overnight in the fridge for about 24 hours and then cooked the pork in the dutch oven for about 4 hours.

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the result is fall-off-the-bone, succulent & super flavorful pork that you can use in tacos, sliders, sandwiches, burrito bowls, on rice…you name it! i just finished eating this pork for about the 6th day in a row and i wasn’t tired of it, which is huge for me! i enjoyed it in different formats to switch it up.

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these types of tacos are my favorite. after watching salt, fat, acid, heat on netflix, it makes so much sense why certain foods and flavors just taste good. ya got yer salt in the pork and the cotija cheese. ya got yer fat in the pork and avocado. ya got yer acid in the pickled red onion, jalapeño, and lime. ya got yer heat in the hot shredded pork. also, heat in the sense of spiciness from the jalapeño & hot sauce. and i’ll take it one step further and say the cooling effect of the hot sauce + sour cream is also a pleasing flavor experience. aaaaand fresh cilantro to boot.

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taco about flavor overachievers.

i’m excited to carry on my meat-learnin’ journey and not be afraid of it. one of my goals for 2019 is to make a new type of food or recipe i wouldn’t normally make, each week - i’m doing pretty good so far.

it’s sooooo cool when you make a new thing and actually learn something and a new door opens up to wherever….. i remember when i first made tortilla soup in a blender - my mind was blown - but also, i think that should’ve been obvious? it’s funny to reflect back on the littlest things in life that just started to * click * in your brain. you just have to try stuff to figure out that cooking is cool & fun and super liberating once you’ve gotten a bit comfortable in the kitchen.

you live you learn…thanks, alanis!!

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Garlic & Cilantro Marinated Pork Tacos

Total Active Time: 30 minutes, Total Time: 5-24 hours

Serves 6-8 people

(Pork Marinating Method adapted from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, Cuban Mojo Pulled Pork Tacos)


Ingredients:

  • 3 pound pork shoulder

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro

  • 2-3 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 2/3 cup sour cream + 1-2 TB hot sauce of choice, or lime juice

  • pickled red onion slices

  • avocado slices

  • cotija cheese crumbles

  • jalapeño slices

  • fresh cilantro

  • lime wedges

  • tortillas (my favorite are La Tortilla Factory Handmade Style Yellow Corn + Wheat)

Instructions-

To make the pork marinade, combine the olive oil, garlic and cilantro in a blender and pulse until super finely chopped. Place the raw pork shoulder in a large heavy duty zip-lock freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and set on a plate or in a loaf pan. Marinate the pork for at least 2 hours at room temperature, or in the refrigerator overnight.

Begin quick-pickling the red onions a couple hours before you’d like to use them - ideally pickle them for at least 24 hours.

Remove the pork from the fridge 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pork in a Dutch oven and discard the bag of marinade. Add 1 1/2 cups of water (I would also use a light beer for this step). Cover and place in the oven. Roast for 3-4 hours, or until the pork falls off the bone and shreds easily. Don’t let the liquid in the Dutch oven reduce to lower than 1 inch - add 1/2 cup of water if it gets too low.

Leave the liquid in the pot and shred the pork completely, discarding any fatty pieces. Toss the shredded pork into the remaining liquid to moisturize. Add about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 tsp. black pepper and toss to incorporate. Add salt to taste.

You could also cook the pork low & slow in a Crock Pot, and transfer to a cast iron pan to crisp the pork before serving.

Slice the avocado and jalapeño, wash and chop the cilantro. Mix the sour cream and hot sauce together, or use sour cream + lime.

Warm the tortillas on the stove until tender and slightly puffy. Build your tacos with the hot sauce sour cream, shredded pork, avocado, pickled red onion, cotija cheese crumbles, jalapeño slices and fresh cilantro. Squeeze with lime juice if desired.

Store the shredded pork in the fridge and reheat as needed. Enjoy the meat within 1 week.

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homemade barbecue sauce + my go-to pork sliders.

FEELS!: i feel that i haven't been wanting to cook and shoot recipes all summer because when the sun is out in this town, why da hell would i be in the kitchen?? though i would looove to just play around with food all the time, there are always more pressing things that need to happen during the summertime before we head into our winter hibernation mode. pressing items like swimming, camping, hanging out... 😉

my computer has been super weeeeird lately and i've had to update a lot of things. anyhoo, with my computer cooperating with me once again and summer fun times & house projects slowly winding down, i've found a bit more inspiration to get back to coming up with my own recipes. yay!

it's my durn-good homemade barbecue sauce recipe!

i'm the type who doesn't normally choose bbq sauce as my dipping option, and i usually am not attracted to sandwiches with barbecue sauce. i just don't really care about barbecue sauce i guess. unless i'm at a legit bbq joint and they have 8 options to choose from. then i care deeply and have to try them all.

i make my own because i like a good balance of savory + spicy + sweet + tangy. some barbecue sauces are just SWEET, bleh. some are thick and ultra savory. and the ones i avoid at all cost - smoky or chipotle flavored ones. heeeck nahhhh mannng. quinn + chipotle flavors = nope.

so yeah, here's what i do to achieve a tangy, savory, sorta sweet, and nice & spicy barbecue sauce.

i felt i couldn't just make barbecue sauce and take photos of it sitting in a jar or cup, so i made some delicious sliders to pair it with.

for the sliders: hawaiian sweet rolls or whatever slider buns you prefer (ALWAYS toasted or crisped up in a pan with olive oil - crisping up your roll makes up like 75% of the slider's quality rating in my book), pulled pork (pete and i use this method for our pulled pork - crockpot + pork shoulder + thick-chopped yellow onions + one can beer + one can green salsa), sliced red onion, sriracha mayo (i just make this at home and keep a little jar handy for sandwiches, etc - about 1 cup of mayo + 3 TB sriracha, whisk whisk whisk), and thinly sliced red cabbage.

i toss the cabbage in a little bowl with a splash of white vinegar and black pepper, just to take the cabbagey edge off the raw cabbage (read: cabbage is stinky). 

yum yum yum bout to gobble you up.

these photos got real messy real fast.

 

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Makes 1 cup sauce

Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 TB minced yellow onion (dried or fresh - make sure its very finely minced)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 TB mustard (I've used yellow or brown/dijon - both work fine)
  • 2 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TB Sriracha
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • splash of peperoncini juice (optional)
  • [also optional while melting the butter, 2 TB bacon grease - whoa mmhmm]

Instructions-

Finely mince a small amount of onion (fine enough so it is almost translucent - you want the onion to fully break down into the sauce after its finished simmering). I have also used dried minced onion and that works as well.

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and whisk to completely coat in melted butter. Add brown sugar and whisk to create a thick base. Increase heat to medium.

Add the remaining ingredients into the pan, whisking as you go. Let it bubble and thicken on medium heat for a few minutes before simmering on medium-low heat for about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in glass jar or airtight container. 

Enjoy on sliders, with fries, on pizzas, chicken dishes, pork dishes, grilled vegetables, potatoes, etc, etc.

 

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