Friday Food Find: Asian (Pork) Tacos — In a Crock Pot!

Ok. I know I’ve been corrected numerous times.  It’s not a crock pot anymore but a “slow cooker”.  But come on it’s a crock and a pot (of sorts). Am I right?  Either way the best attribute about this kitchen tool is that it cooks any number of things - very well.  All the while turning your back for hours.  Well, I finally broke down and bought one of these contraptions and have begun to use it.   And that’s after receiving two as wedding gifts and giving them away immediately (18yrs ago). I mean I wasn’t going to be cooking that way. Oh, no!  But here I am now so many years later going to share a slow cooking recipe with you and all you really have to do is plug in.  It’s rocks!  So here’s the recipe.  It’s Asian in nature; a take on Tex-Mex tacos.  The flavor dynamic is just that - dynamic.  Get ready….I think you’re really going to like this one!


6lbs pork butt (some bone in is ok)
3tsp fresh ground pepper
2tsp of kosher salt
7 medium cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
4 bay leaves, dried
3 whole pieces of star anise
5 quarter size pieces of fresh ginger, cleaned of grit (does not have to be peeled if it is clean)
2 4” stalks of lemongrass, cut into 1” pieces
1/2 of large onion, rough chop
1tsp dark sesame oil
2Tbls Mirin
3Tbls Ponzu
1C water


Rub pepper and salt all over the pork butt.  Place into crock pot.  Add next 5 ingredients and arrange them so that they are dispersed below, to the side and above the meat. In other words, all over.  Then pour all liquid ingredients over the meat, vegetable and spices.  Place crock into pot, tightly seal with lid, plug in and turn on.  Depending on how powerful your crock pot it may make a different for the temperature.  I have a very basic one no bells or whistles.  So, I just place mine on HIGH for 2 hours and walk away.  Coming back I turn it down to low for another 3 1/2  for a total of 5 1/2 hours or until the meat breaks away from itself with a fork.  Five and half hours is the magic time for me.  Once fork tender, let the meat cool.  Once cool, drain the liquid and reserve.  Shred the pok with your fingers or with a fork.  Use the reserved liquid to moisten the shredded pork if neccessary.  Your shredded pork is now ready for tacos. 

Ingredients, in the crock pot and finished Asian pork. Yields 6-8C of shredded pork.

How to make a taco

Warm a flour or corn tortilla; either over a flame or in the microwave.  Place warmed tortilla flat on a plate.  Place pork 3/4’s down from the top of the tortilla.  Line pork from left to right edge so that it makes a horizontal line.  The amount of pork you use depends on the size of the tortilla.  Generally I always start with 1/2C.  Add anything you like.  I serve this with an Asian slaw.  It adds a nice crunch, lightens the taco and adds another flavor dimension.

I like to have a little garnish too.  Here I’ve used just a little torn flat leaf parsley and some toasted sesame seeds.