Slow Cooker Chipotle Honey Pulled Pork {Quesadillas}

If you’re like me Cinco de Mayo is all about the yummy of food.

Last year I went all out and made pork carnitas and stuffed them along with homemade refried beans into the ultimate double-decker tostadas and washed them down with few margaritas. Overkill? Maybe.

This year I hadn’t planned to really do anything, but then my mom texted me asking if I was making anything for Cinco de Mayo and then suddenly the mood struck and there I was pulling out and literally dusting off my trusty slow cooker. I rifled through my pantry and whipped together this little ditty. One thing is for sure I always keep a can of chipotle peppers on hand. You never know when you’ll need them.

In this recipe a hefty pork shoulder slowly simmers away in a delicious concoction of broth, chipotle peppers, honey and spices until it’s so tender you can pull it apart with two forks. I did this only a few days prior to the quesadilla making and kept it in a container in my fridge and we literally ate it here and there over the entire weekend… annnd never grew tired of it.

The pork is remarkably moist, tender and extremely flavorful without being over the top spicy. I saw you eyeing chipotle in the title. Don’t worry… it’s good, promise! It’s super versatile and can easily be put to use in enchiladas, flautas, tacos or as you see above… stuffed into crispy, cheesy quesadillas.

You’ll want around a 6 pound pork shoulder, bone-in and have it sit out on the counter for about thirty minutes to take the chill off.

Then pat it down with some paper towel to absorb any moisture still clinging to it. Doing this will allow a better crust to form when searing.

Generously season it with copious amounts of kosher salt and coarse black pepper. It’s a big hunk of meat so you don’t have to go easy on either one.

Heat a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat and measure out about one heaping tablespoon of lard. Bacon fat or even olive oil will do.

Throw it into the pan to melt and once it melted and you see a glossy sheen to it… it’s time to sear the shoulder.

Simply lay the big pork roast into the hot pan. You’ll know it’s time to turn it when it easily releases itself from the pan.

Continue to sear all sides… about 5-6 minutes each to form a good crust.

While that’s all going on, go on ahead and peel, halve and dice up one medium yellow onion.

And mince up 2 large cloves of fresh garlic.

Continue to sear all sides… yes, even the ends… until the whole pork shoulder is crusty and gorgeous. PS. The fact that I managed this shot surprises me. Because of it, I’m fully aware that my left arm lacks the muscle needed to hold up a 6 pound pork shoulder while my other hand holds a camera. THIS is where I would confess that an assistant would come handy. Any takers?

Remove it and place it back onto the cutting board for a moment.

Reduce heat down to medium and add in the diced onions and scrape up any brown bits still clinging to the bottom of the pan.

Once the edges of the onions start to turn golden, add in the minced garlic and cook for one minute.

With a slotted spoon, remove the onion and garlic to a clean plate.

Measure 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth into a two-cup measuring cup. To it, add in two to three large minced chipotle peppers in adobo.

Measure and add in two heaping tablespoons of honey…

… one teaspoon of cumin. I had some toasted cumin that I had ground myself… but regular cumin will work just fine.

Next add in a teaspoon of ground {toasted if you have it} coriander.

Then I threw in a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. If you’re unsure about this, go ahead and add in a 1/4 teaspoon.

Pour in 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar…

… and the cooked onions and garlic.

Give it a stir and you’re good to go.

Place the seared pork shoulder into your slow cooker.

Cover it with the chipotle honey liquid…

Cover, set your slow cooker to high and let it go for 4 hours.

Man-o-man does this smell scrumptious! Once the time was up I used tongs to remove and transfer it to a large cutting board. Make sure you remove and discard that bone!

I cut the pork into chunks and then used two forks to shred it up. Sneak a couple bites… you know you want to!

Depending on the shoulder, it should yield roughly about 8 cups of meat.

I poured the remaining liquids from the crock pot into a large bowl. Once the fat rose to the top, I skimmed it off and spooned the chipotle/broth over top of the shredded pork. You can now do one of two things; you can use it right away in any recipe your beautiful mind can dream up… or place the shredded pork into an air-tight container with all of the skimmed juices and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

To reheat; I simply pulled out pieces of pork {the liquid solidifies and cling to the pork and will melt when heated} and reheat it in a skillet over medium heat until hot.

Whether you make quesadillas or enchiladas, tostadas or flautas; this pork is fantastic. My family LOVES it and it was just the thing for our impromptu Cuatro de Mayo {since we feasted on Sunday} dinner.  Don’t you worry… I saved the margs for Monday.

Cheers!

Slow Cooker Chipotle Honey Pulled Pork {Quesadillas}

Pork shoulder slowly simmers away in a delicious concoction of broth, chipotle peppers, honey and spices until it's so tender you can pull it apart with forks.

Yield: 8-10 servings depending

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 4-6 hours

Total Time: 4-6 hours

Ingredients:

FOR THE CHIPOTLE HONEY PORK:

5-6 pounds bone-in Pork Shoulder

Kosher Salt and Coarse Black Pepper

2 tablespoons Lard {or bacon fat or olive oil}

1 medium Yellow Onion, diced

2 large cloves fresh Garlic, minced

1 cup Chicken Broth

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Chipotles in Adobo, minced

2 tablespoons Honey

1 teaspoon Toasted Coriander

1 teaspoon Toasted Cumin

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

FOR THE QUESADILLAS:

2 to 3 cups Shredded Chipotle Honey Pork

4 8 inch Soft Flour Tortillas {I used ones that were both flour and corn}

2 cups grated Muenster Cheese

Pickled Jalapenos

Cilantro

Guacamole

Directions:

FOR THE CHIPOTLE HONEY PORK:

Pull the pork should out and set it out on the counter for 30 minutes to take the chill off. Pat it down with paper towel and season it generously with kosher salt and black pepper.

Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Measure and add in a heaping tablespoon of lard {bacon fat or olive oil}. Once the lard is hot sear each side {even the ends} of the pork shoulder for 5-6 minutes or until a nice, dark golden brown crust forms. Remove the seared pork to a nearby cutting board or plate.

Reduce the temperature under the pan to medium and add in the diced onions. Stir, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and cook the onions until they start to turn translucent and golden around the edges. Add in the minced garlic and cook for one minute before transferring the onion/garlic mixture to a clean plate.

Measure out the cup of chicken broth and to it add the minced chipotles, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of honey and the cooked onions and garlic. Stir to combine.

Place the pork shoulder in your slow cooker and pour the chipotle/honey broth over top. Cover and set it to high and let it go undisturbed for 4 hours.

Using tongs, remove the pork shoulder to a large cutting board. Pour the remaining liquids from the slow cooker into a large bowl. Once the fat has risen to the top, use a large spoon and skim it off the top and discard.

Use forks to shred the pork and place it into a bowl and add spoonfuls of the chipotle/ honey broth over top if desired.

FOR THE QUESADILLAS:

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Lay down the tortillas and sprinkle evenly with grated Muenster cheese. Top one half of the tortilla with shredded chipotle honey pork and fold the other half over top. Once the bottom is golden flip and cook until golden brown.

Serve with guacamole, pickled jalapenos and torn cilantro. Really the sky is the limit!