Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell
Hands-on Time
25 Mins
Total Time
7 Hours 30 Mins
Serves 6 (serving size: 2 tacos)

The pork gets a big flavor boost from achiote paste, a mix of ground annatto seeds, vinegar, salt, and spices. Find it at Latin markets.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 250°.

Step 2

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until skins are well charred, turning occasionally. Remove cloves from pan; cool 5 minutes, and discard skins. Combine garlic, rind, juice, achiote paste, and 2 teaspoons oil in a mini chopper; process until smooth.

Step 3

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over pork. Brush achiote mixture evenly over pork. Place pork in a medium Dutch oven or ovenproof saucepan; cover and bake at 250° for 6 hours. Remove from oven, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Step 4

While pork cooks, place onion in a medium bowl. Combine 1/2 cup water, vinegar, agave, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Pour vinegar mixture over onion; stir. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; cool to room temperature, rearranging as needed to keep onion submerged. Chill at least 1 hour.

Step 5

Place pork on a cutting board; shred with 2 forks. Discard fat.

Step 6

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1 cup shredded pork to pan in an even layer; cook 3 minutes or until a crust develops, turning once. Place crisped pork on a platter. Repeat procedure with remaining shredded pork.

Step 7

Place 2 warm tortillas on each of 6 plates. Top each tortilla with 1 1/2 ounces crisped pork, 1 tablespoon Tomatillo Salsa, and 1 tablespoon pickled red onion.

Ratings & Reviews

Some tweaks...

May 07, 2016
I couldn't find a small pork shoulder at my grocery store so I substituted pork tenderloin. I should've researched that a little better... Anyway, if you go this route like I did, it cooks for wayyyyyy less time. I checked mine at 1 hour 40 minutes and it was already well over the recommended 145 degrees for pork. Lesson learned. Anyway, the dish still tasted AWESOME! That tomatillo salsa is better than any I've had in a restaurant and the picked onions are a MUST!! I need to make more for tomorrow. This dish definitely goes into my regular rotation.

Excellent flavor

May 01, 2016
So I should maybe not review this because we used our Traeger grill and slow roasted/smoked it.  The cut was also a pork top loin, so no shredding here (nor did we cook it again on the skillet), but thin sliced the meat for the tacos.  Loved the pickled onion.  The marinade was good - did not have the anchiote paste so subbed chipotle paste (2 teaspoons) and 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar.  Total cooking time at 250 was 2 hours and 45 minutes.  The meat was tender and juicy.  Time consuming but I'd make this again.

Very easy and incredibly tasty!

April 10, 2016
We used a ~1.9 lb pork butt roast and it was done at the 5 hour mark, so make sure to check on it periodically as 6 hours may be too long. We were tempted to skip step 6 as we thought that the pork was incredibly juicy, tender, and perfect as-is, but frying it afterwards gives it an even lovelier flavor and texture. The pickled onions are also a must-- really make the meal and help round out the flavors-- don't skip them.