Twice-Cooked Pork Tacos – Second Meal

Like a lot of my ideas, this recipe was born of necessity. I didn’t have much around to make a brand new dinner, I was out of Taco Seasoning packets, and we had some beer in the house. I had lots of leftovers from the pork I had made in the crock pot and figured, hey, why not?! And now this is probably my favorite Second Meal.

I usually start with the leftovers from the easiest BBQ pork ribs in the crock pot. The pork is already super tender and has good flavor from the BBQ sauce. However you can start with leftovers from really tender pork loin (if cooked in crock pot) or a pulled pork recipe. You’ll need enough to basically fill a large skillet or frying pan.

Start by adding a pat of butter to the pan, heating over medium heat. Saute half a chopped yellow onion until they are becoming translucent. Then add your leftover pork. Toss with a spatula.

Pork & Onions

Pork & Onions

Next add these spices:

I never measure, I just add to my taste. I usually add a few times throughout the cooking process, and add more of what I think it needs. If I had to guess, though, I’d say the ratios are probably close to this:
2 teaspoons garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon at a time)
2 teaspoons paprika (again, 1/2 teaspoon at a time)
1- 2 teaspoons cumin, to your preference (again…. ^^^)
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste (added 1/4 teaspoon at a time)
*Since writing this post, I have written out a recipe for taco seasonings from scratch. Find it here.

After you add the first round of spices, stir. Now add your beer! I always use whatever we have on hand (use up your OHI!). I tend to like a malty beer best though:

Sam Adams, Leininkugel, or Smithwick's are ones we usually have and use

Sam Adams, Leininkugel, or Smithwick’s are ones we usually have and use

You want enough to go around the pan once. Don’t dump it all in there – just pour slowly around the pan and cover every bit of the pork. It’s going to bubble up and look like this:

The sugars in the beer tenderize the pork. SO GOOD!

The sugars in the beer tenderize the pork. SO GOOD!

DON’T STIR RIGHT AWAY! Give it a minute to cook in that beautiful juice. When there is less foam, you’re free to give it a little toss.
Now you’re going to repeat those steps a few more times. Add seasonings up to 4-5 times, and add beer up to 3 times. Just remember: Don’t add more beer until the previous addition has completely evaporated and the pork has soaked it up. Taste as you go and adjust to how you like it. If you like spicier, add more chili powder or even cayenne pepper. If you like heat and warmth without the heavy spice, use more paprika or cumin. If it tastes too bland, add more garlic powder.
When you taste the pork right out of the pan, it should be melt-in-your-mouth-tender and full of flavor.

You can prepare your tacos however you like, using whatever toppings you have and enjoy. I always like to use whole wheat tortillas, but I recently found a corn/whole wheat combo that was really good too. For toppings, we usually use some combination of the following: chopped tomatoes, salsa (the hubs’ favorite!), avocado, avocado spread, or guacamole (my favorite!), sour cream (the kids’ favorite!), and of course, CHEESE! I really like the Mexican Blend, but cheddar would be good too.

One thing you should NOT skip: LIME. A squeeze or two of fresh lime juice really brightens up these flavors and brings them to life. You can squeeze juice from half a lime directly into the pan with the meat, but I like to give each person a little wedge of their own to add as much or as little as they’d like.

Twice-cooked pork tacos with Spanish Rice

Twice-cooked pork tacos with Spanish Rice

I usually serve this with some kind of flavored or brown rice and some fresh veggies. Use your OHI! You can prepare these the same time you’re re-cooking the pork. This way, from start to finish, dinner should only take about 25 minutes or so. We usually get anywhere from 7-12 tacos from this recipe, depending on how much pork you have and the size of your tortilla. But since you’re not using a seasoning packet, you can adjust to whatever quantity you need! Bonus! I try to make more rather than less, because they do reheat well for lunch the next day (although there’s never more than enough for 2 tacos!).

I hope you and your family enjoy this quick delicious meal as much as we do!