Mexican Style Pulled Pork

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One of my favorite things about cooking or grilling is the ability to play with flavors.  Given my love for Mexican food and BBQ, I decided to put a spin on a classic pork recipe by making a Mexican style pulled pork.  Don’t get me wrong, nothing beats the original, but the flavors were out of this world.  Hints of chili, pepper and the addition of achiote paste made this recipe one for the books. Here we go!

Get the pork ready and on the grill.

pulled pork ingredients

This recipe is definitely not a last minute dinner choice.  It is a process that needs time for the meat to cook through nice and slowly while containing the tenderness and flavorfulness of the pork as well as the seasoning that’s applied throughout.

To get started, coat the entire pork shoulder with hot sauce which will work as a binder for the seasoning.  The seasoning mix includes salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and crushed peppers.  Don’t be shy with the seasoning.  The shoulder is a large chunk of meat, so make sure to coat it heavily on all sides.

Next, place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill at 250 degrees on direct heat.  Leave it on until the internal temp of the protein reaches 170 degrees.  Depending on the size of the shoulder, this part of the cook will take about 4 hours.

What makes this a Mexican styled pulled pork recipe?

Aside from the flavorful dry rub seasoning, the key flavor driver is the achiote paste sauce that’s applied in the second part of the cook.

Pulled pork sauce and wrapping

While the pork is on the grill, start prepping the sauce.  In a blender, add achiote paste, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, vinegar and water.  Mix it all together until you get a thick liquid of orange goodness.

What makes pulled pork so tender?

The long smoking process is what makes the meat so tender, that it falls off the bone.  In order to keep the moisture and prevent the protein from drying out, you need to wrap it for the final cook.

Line 2 sheets of Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Foil and a banana leaf that you can find at your local ethnic market.  The banana leaf not only works as a great wrap that holds in the moisture, but infuses the pork with hints of banana flavor.

Wrapped pork shoulder on the grill

Once the grilled pork shoulder reaches 170 degrees, place in on the wrap and pour the liquid paste all over the meat.  Wrap up the protein for the second cook starting with the banana leaf and ending with a tight seal from the heavy duty foil.  The wrap will help keep all the moisture inside the cook and allow the sauce to penetrate through the meat and infuse it with all those amazing Mexican style flavors.

Leave the wrapped pork on the grill for another 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees. Remove from the grill and let it rest for 1 hour.

Shredded pulled pork

Place the shoulder in a pan, remove the bone and shred the meat, mixing it in with all the rendered juices.

Finally, it’s time to enjoy the cook after many hours of cooking and patience!  I chose to make Mexican style pulled pork sandwiches, but this would also work great with a plain corn tortilla, chopped onion, cilantro and a dip in the remaining liquid that’s still in the pan.

Mexican Style Pulled Pork

Watch the recipe video on Instagram

 

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A post shared by Maciek Z (@grillin_with_dad)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Printer friendly recipe:

Mexican Style Pulled Pork

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Servings 6 people

Instructions
 

  • Coat the entire pork shoulder with hot sauce which will work as a binder for the seasoning. 
  • Mix the seasoning using 1 tablespoon of each: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and crushed peppers. 
  • Coat the shoulder heavily on all sides.
  • Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill at 250 degrees on direct heat and let if cook for about 4 hours or until it reaches 170 degrees internally.
  • While the pork is on the grill, start prepping the sauce.  Blend together achiote paste, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, vinegar and water. 
  • Before removing the pork from the grill, Line 2 sheets of aluminum foil and a large banana leaf
  • Place the grilled pork shoulder on the wrap and pour the liquid paste all over the meat. 
  • Wrap up the protein for the second cook starting with the banana leaf and ending with a tight seal from the heavy duty foil. 
  • Leave the wrapped pork on the grill for another2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees.
  • Remove from the grill and let it rest for 1 hour.
  • Place the shoulder in a pan, remove the bone and shred the meat, mixing it in with all the rendered juices.

 

Be sure to visit the Recipes page for other tasty ideas.