Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pulled-Pork Tacos with Avocado Salsa and Ranchero Sauce

The best tacos are the simplest tacos: tender, shredded meat, fresh salsa, and a smoky-good chile sauce that packs a lot of flavor in just a little drizzle. The most important ingredient is time—give the pork about two-and-a-half hours to become wonderfully juicy and easily pulled into shreds. (And try not to nibble too much as you’re pulling it—save some for your guests.)

Note: Making your own ranchero sauce is easy and fast. And there’s nothing in a bottle quite like it.

Makes about 12 tacos


For the Tacos
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • 3 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tarragon or oregano twig
  • 12 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, lightly charred on a gas range (or wrapped in foil and warmed in an oven)
  • 1 recipe ranchero sauce
For the Salsa
  • 2 semi-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 2 large radishes, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • sea salt
Salsa Ingredients

For the Tacos
  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients (through cumin) in a small bowl and season with salt. Place the pork pieces on a plate and rub the spice mixture all over them. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or overnight). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.
  2. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place 1/2 the pork in the pan and sear until browned, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and sear the rest of the pork with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
  4. Return the 1st batch of pork to the pan, with any accumulated juices. Add the broth and herb twig and season with salt, if desired. Cover tightly and braise in the oven until fork-tender, about 2-1/2 hours, turning once halfway through.
  5. Transfer the pork to a plate and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reserve 1/2 cup of the juices from the pan.
  6. Pull the pork into shreds, discarding any fatty parts, and place in a medium pot or skillet. Add the reserved juices and heat until hot throughout.
Spice-Rubbed Pork
Beginning to Sear 
After Turning
Ready to Braise
Braised Pork 
Pulled Pork
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with warm tortillas, ranchero sauce, and avocado salsa (recipe follows) alongside.

Pulled-Pork Tacos with Avocado Salsa and Ranchero Sauce
For the Salsa
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl just before serving.
Avocado Salsa


  1. Oh yum!! I love pulled pork tacos and these look especially delicious!