Pulled Pork Tacos with Jalapeño Salsa and Pickled Red Onion


I was always really intimidated by the thought of investing so many hours into making a simple piece of pig and I didn’t really see the value in it. That is, until I tried making it myself. And now folks, I’m an addict. After several attempts, reading different recipes, combining new ideas, and tasting A LOT of pig, I think I’ve got it down. This pulled pork recipe is so damn delicious I promise you will have no regrets about spending so much time on a dish. In fact, the most recent time I made it, I had a revelation: thou shall never not have a piece of pork shoulder on-the-go again.

The key to this particular pork recipe is the brine and the cooking liquid. The brine is a simple salty, sugary liquid that seeps into the pork for hours before cooking and makes it so moist and flavourful. The cool thing about a brine is that you can really add any flavour to it you want. I dissolve part of the rub to the brine liquid, which is a great way to basically marinate the pork in the smoky salty rub flavour. I then remove the pork from liquid, dry it off, cover it in rub, and let it sit in those flavours for another hour. When cooking, I add about an inch or two of chicken stock to the bottom of the pot, and continually replenish that liquid over the course of the cooking process. The liquid all gets absorbed by the pork, making it so damn tender once you finally go to pull it apart. This is a HUGE difference from cooking it dry. Dry cooking also produces very flavourful pork, but the moisture all seeps out of the pork and into the pan. If you’re really into experimenting, try both methods and pick which you prefer! Please let me know your thoughts.

Yes, this pig takes a while to cook and requires a large time commitment, but the process shouldn’t be rushed! Find a weekend when you don’t have tons going on, perhaps at the cottage. Though it takes a while, the hands-on time isn’t much! Between checking your pork, enjoy some quality dock time and sip on a cold brew as the scent of this juicy thing seeps out of the cottage and tantalizes your nostrils.

Another plus about this dish is that it’s so versatile! You can make tacos with it one day, and pulled pork sandwiches with it the next. Or just go full cave man and tear apart this puppy with your teeth. No judgement here. Today, I’m featuring my recipe for tacos, but see here for how to use the leftover to make some sweet saucy sandwiches with lots of the same toppings.



Pulled Pork Tacos with Jalapeño Salsa and Pickled Red Onion

Course Main Course
Total Time 19 hours



  • About 6-9 pound pork shoulder
  • Tacos
  • Pork shoulder
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 limes , cut into small wedges
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro

Pork rub

  • 6 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp black pepper


  • 10 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 of pork rub

Cooking liquid

  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pickled Red Onions
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 red onion , very thinly sliced
  • *double this recipe if you like to have pickled red onions around for sandwiches or slaws

Jalapeño Salsa

  • 1 jalapeño
  • 2 anaheim peppers
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp red onion pickling liquid
  • Juice of half lime
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro



  1. Night before eating, prepare the rub by combining paprika, mustard powder, salt, garlic powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and black pepper in bowl. Divide in half, and set one half aside for tomorrow
  2. Prepare the brine by combining water, salt, brown sugar, coriander seed, mustard seed, bay leaves, and half pork rub in large container or bowl deep enough to cover pork shoulder. Stir until dissolved (except for seeds)
  3. Pat dry pork shoulder with paper towel and poke holes all over using skewer or fork. These holes will help the brine seep into the meat better
  4. Submerge pork in brine and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in fridge for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours
  5. Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towel
  6. Cover pork completely with rub and put back in fridge for 1 hour
  7. Preheat oven to 275°F
  8. Remove pork from fridge, place fat side up in deep cooking pot and pour in chicken stock about 1 1/2 inches up side of pot (do not pour over pork, rub will come off)
  9. Add quartered onion and smashed garlic cloves into chicken stock
  10. Cover and place in oven for 6 hours, or longer if pork is not very fork tender. Check on pork every 1.5 hours, adding about 1/2 cup chicken stock to the bottom of the pot each time. Start basting pork with surrounding cooking liquid after 3 hours, but not before (because the rub will come off). Pork and surrounding liquid will start to look burnt about 3 hours in. This is OK and the burnt bits are actually packed with delicious deep flavour. If you feel the top of your pork is looking too burnt, place a piece of aluminium foil directly over the top of the pork, but still keep pot covered with lid as well. About 20 minutes before removing pork from oven, remove lid and aluminium foil if applicable. Baste the pork with cooking liquid, and leave uncovered in oven for 20 minutes. This will help form a slight crust on top of pork. Remove pork after 20 minutes and set aside to rest for 10 more minutes

  11. In the meantime, incorporate white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and red wine vinegar with salt, sugar, and mustard seed in bowl. Add thinly sliced red onion, cover, and set aside for minimum 1 hour before serving

  12. While pork rests, make jalapeño salsa. Place peppers on high heat on grill until completely charred, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill, set aside to cool for a few minutes. Remove charred skin with fingers, and chop very finely. Combine with red onion, pickling liquid, lime juice, and cilantro

  13. Remove pork from pot, and place in shallow dish. Scoop out all brown bits from bottom of pot (onion and garlic) and place on pork. Using two forks, pull the pork apart and incorporate brown cooking bits. Add 2 tablespoons of brown cooking liquid from pot and incorporate. This is a perfect time to sample the pork on its own. Prepare to have your mind blown

  14. Place corn tortillas on very high heat on grill just to warm, about 2 minutes. Add dollop of pork onto each tortilla. Garnish with pickled red onion, jalapeño  salsa, and cilantro leaves. Serve alongside lime wedge and lots of napkins!

  15. Dig in!


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