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_MG_4205_printOne Sunday a few years ago my Aro Val­ley flat­mate Edward cooked pork all day — eight hours in the oven. I wondered if he was slightly mad. If noth­ing else, he was very determ­ined. It was pulled pork, he said, served along­side home-made coleslaw, soft white rolls, and a very impress­ive and gor­geously tangy home-made bar­be­cue sauce. It was amaz­ing. I’d nev­er had pork like it: shred­ded apart, soft, incred­ibly fla­vour­some, and per­fect with the crunchy slaw.

Pulled pork seemed to pop up on my radar a lot after that. It wasn’t long before this Amer­ic­an bar­be­cue craze was just about every­where, on menus all over town, usu­ally served in little slider buns or in soft tacos. When I began cook­ing it myself, I real­ised its appeal instantly. You take a cheap, tough cut of meat and cook it until it’s melt­ingly tasty, then simply shred it apart with a fork.

My recipe is a lot short­er than Edward’s, and I’ve gone with a slightly Tex-Mex take on it, using tangy yogurt, avo­cado and fresh lime to cut through the fat­ti­ness. These tacos end up as beau­ti­fully bal­anced little bites, and a really impress­ive and deli­cious Sunday din­ner. There’s a reas­on you also see pulled pork on menus in sliders though: the soft white bun pays homage to the dish’s Amer­ic­an ori­gins, and com­bined with coleslaw it makes a really great starter or canapé.

This pork recipe, with its good amount of heat and chilli, lends itself well to sliders too, and it can be served with a home-made slaw if you prefer. I’ll chal­lenge any­one who’s not into cook­ing or slow cook­ing to give this recipe a go. You might sur­prise your­self, and impress every­one around you.

Pulled pork soft tacos



For the pork

  • 1kg pork loin or shoulder (you don’t need the thick strip of fat/skin for this recipe)
  • 1½ tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp gar­lic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground pep­per
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fresh oranges
  • 355ml bottle of beer of your choice


To serve

  • Small soft corn tortillas
  • Avo­cado slices
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Fresh cori­ander leaves, roughly torn
  • Hot sauce of your choice (Wellington’s own Huffman’s is great)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh salsa (option­al)



  1. Cut the pork into large chunks and place in a bowl.
  2. Sea­son with the spices, salt and pep­per, ensur­ing that each sur­face is covered.
  3. Sear the pork in olive oil in a heavy-based cas­ser­ole dish until golden on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  4. Keep­ing the dish on the stove top, squeeze the oranges straight into it. Add the beer and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and return the pork to the pan, ensur­ing it’s covered by the liquid. Put the lid on the dish and then place it in the oven at 175˚C. Cook for 30 minutes, then check and turn the pork over. Cook for anoth­er 60–90 minutes until the pork is fall­ing apart.
  6. Remove from the oven, and shred pork in the remain­ing liquid (which should have reduced and thickened) with two forks.
  7. Serve with the accom­pani­ments and the tor­til­las, slightly warmed.


Serves 4–6


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