Leftovers can often be a challenge when it comes to creating new exciting and satisfying meals. No one wants to eat the same thing night after night. However, with a little creativity, you can transform those leftovers into a new delicious meal.
Today I want to talk about my favorite way to serve leftover pulled pork and share my recipe for Leftover Pulled Pork Tacos. We love smoking pork shoulder or pork butt roasts in our electric smoker. But it typically creates lots of leftovers.
In this house, we LOVE Mexican food in all its forms. In fact, one of the biggest reasons we make a yearly trip to Mexico is to enjoy all of the delicious food they have to offer.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy: Leftover pork tacos can be on the table ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. This is my favorite quick meal.
- Easy to customize: Start with tender juicy pork and top it with a variety of vibrant toppings. You can experiment with different textures and flavors, making each bite a unique and exciting experience.
- Perfect for Entertaining: This pork taco recipe is a crowd-pleaser, making it an ideal choice for a party. Whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue, a game night with friends, or a festive celebration, serving up a platter of pulled pork tacos is sure to impress your guests.
- Leftover Magic: Pulled pork tacos are a delicious way to repurpose pulled pork leftovers. If you have some leftover pulled pork from a previous meal, turning it into tacos is an opportunity to get creative and enjoy a fresh meal without letting anything go to waste.
Leftover Pulled Pork: Tacos are one of my favorite ways to use up leftover smoked pulled pork.
Soft Tortilla Shells: You can use either corn tortillas or flour tortillas. You can also make your own homemade tortillas. If you have a sourdough starter, I have a recipe for sourdough discard flour tortillas.
If you like crunchy tacos you could also use crunchy taco shells. Follow the directions on the box to heat them before serving.
To limit carbs you could use lettuce instead of the tortilla shells to create pulled pork lettuce wraps.
Toppings: This is where you can really get creative. There are so many possible toppings to choose from. For a full list see the topping section below.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Warm Up the Pulled Pork: Begin by gently reheating your leftover pulled pork. You can do this in a microwave, on the stovetop in a large skillet, or in the oven. Add a splash of chicken broth or chicken stock to keep the meat moist. For more detailed instructions check out this post: How to Store and Reheat Pulled Pork.
Note: Depending on how your shredded pork was originally prepared you may want to add some additional seasoning. Try adding some chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin to the pork as it reheats. You could also stir in a little salsa.
Prepare the Toppings: While the pulled pork is warming, take the opportunity to prepare your desired toppings. Slice some freshly pickled onions, chopped fresh cilantro, and gather any additional toppings you love, such as salsa or avocado crema. This step adds freshness and a burst of flavor to your tacos.
Warm the Tortillas: Next, warm the tortillas. You can do this by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and microwaving them for a few seconds or heating them on a dry skillet until they become pliable and warm. This step ensures that your tacos are soft and ready to be filled.
Assemble the Tacos: Now it's time to bring everything together. I like to set up a taco bar and let everyone choose their own toppings.
Take a warm tortilla and fill it generously with the reheated pulled pork. Add your desired toppings, such as pickled onions, chopped cilantro, and any optional additions like coleslaw or pineapple salsa. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different combinations!
Serve and Enjoy: Plate your leftover pulled pork tacos, and get ready to indulge in a flavorful and satisfying meal. Serve them alongside a side salad or some crispy tortilla chips and salsa. These tacos are great for a quick lunch or dinner, and they're also perfect for entertaining guests.
Tip: If you get frustrated by tacos that fall over and spill out all of their toppings pickup some of these taco holders.
Tacos are a great way to use up other leftovers. If you're looking for substitutions for pulled pork leftovers, there are several delicious options to consider.
Shredded Chicken: Shredded chicken is a versatile and widely enjoyed protein that can be a great substitute for pulled pork in tacos. Season it with your favorite spices, such as cumin, chili powder, or garlic, and cook it until tender and easily shreddable. The result is a savory and satisfying filling for your tacos.
Smoked Tofu: For a vegetarian or vegan option, consider using smoked tofu as a substitute for pulled pork. The smoky flavor of the tofu adds depth to the tacos, and its firm texture allows for easy shredding. Marinate the tofu in a smoky barbecue sauce or your preferred seasoning before grilling or pan-frying it until golden and tender.
Pulled Jackfruit: Jackfruit is an excellent substitute for pulled pork, particularly for those looking for a plant-based alternative. When cooked and seasoned, young or unripe jackfruit has a texture similar to pulled pork. It easily absorbs flavors and can be marinated in barbecue sauce or spices before being cooked and shredded.
Beef Brisket: If you prefer a different meat option, beef brisket can be a fantastic substitute. Slow-cook the beef brisket until it becomes tender and easy to shred. The result is flavorful and juicy meat that pairs well with taco seasonings and toppings.
Lentils: Lentils can provide a hearty and nutritious substitute for pulled pork. Cook them until they are soft and then mash or partially blend them to achieve a shredded texture. Season the lentils with your preferred spices, such as smoked paprika or cumin, for a delicious plant-based filling.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted Vegetables are a flavorful alternative to pulled pork in tacos, particularly for those seeking a vegetarian or lighter option. The process of roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness while adding a slightly charred and caramelized flavor. Choose a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, and sweet potatoes.
Shrimp or Fish: For seafood lovers or those looking for a lighter option, shrimp or fish can be an excellent substitution for pulled pork in tacos. The delicate and succulent nature of shrimp or fish brings a unique flavor and texture to your tacos. Season the shrimp or fish with spices such as chili powder, cumin, or paprika, and cook them to perfection. Sauté the shrimp until they turn pink and opaque, or grill the fish until it flakes easily with a fork. The result is a mouthwatering filling that pairs wonderfully with fresh toppings and a squeeze of lime.
Choosing your favorite toppings, with their diverse flavors and textures, allow you to customize your pulled pork tacos according to your taste preferences. Mix and match them to create variety in every bite.
Tangy Pickled Red Onions: Pickled onions add a tangy and slightly sweet element to pulled pork tacos. The acidity of the pickling process cuts through the richness of the pork, providing a refreshing contrast and enhancing the overall flavor profile.
Fresh Cilantro: Chopped cilantro adds a vibrant and herbaceous note to pulled pork tacos. Its bright and citrusy undertones complement the smoky flavors of the pork, while also adding a pop of green color to the dish.
Creamy Avocado Crema: Avocado crema, made by blending ripe avocados with lime juice, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, and a touch of salt, creates a luscious and creamy topping. It adds a velvety texture and a cool, creamy contrast to the tender pulled pork.
Spicy Jalapeños: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, thinly sliced or pickled jalapeños can add a spicy kick to your pulled pork tacos. Their fiery flavor enhances the richness of the meat, creating a balance of heat and savory notes.
Fresh Salsa: Whether it's a classic tomato salsa, salsa verde, or a fruity variation like pineapple or mango salsa, the freshness, and tanginess of salsa can bring a burst of flavor to pulled pork tacos. The diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice create a vibrant and zesty accompaniment to the smoky pork.
Crunchy Coleslaw: Coleslaw adds a satisfying crunch and a refreshing bite to pulled pork tacos. The shredded cabbage, carrots, and tangy dressing provide a contrast in textures and a cool, crisp element that complements the tender pulled pork.
Creamy Chipotle Sauce: A creamy chipotle sauce adds a smoky and mildly spicy flavor to pulled pork tacos. This sauce, made with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, mayonnaise or sour cream, and lime juice, add a velvety and slightly smoky touch to your taco creation.
Fresh Lime Wedges: Squeezing fresh lime juice over your pulled pork tacos provides a zesty and citrusy element. The acidity of the lime juice brightens up the flavors of the dish, enhancing the smokiness of the pork and adding a tangy freshness.
Guacamole: Guacamole is the perfect topping for pulled pork tacos. With its creamy texture and vibrant flavors, it adds a luxurious and fresh element to each bite. The rich avocado blends harmoniously with the smoky pork, while the tanginess of lime and the freshness of tomatoes and cilantro enhance the overall taste.
Sour Cream: Sour cream serves as a delightful and versatile topping for pulled pork tacos. Its smooth and creamy texture adds a luxurious touch to the dish, creating a luscious contrast against the tender pork. With its mild tanginess, sour cream brings a subtle acidity that helps balance the richness of the meat.
Cheese: Cheese is a delicious and indulgent topping that adds a rich and savory element to pulled pork tacos. Whether it's shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, queso fresco, or another favorite cheese variety, its melty goodness takes the flavor profile to new heights.
Pico de Gallo: Pico de Gallo is a vibrant and refreshing Mexican salsa that showcases the flavors of fresh ingredients. This classic condiment combines diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice, resulting in a medley of bright colors and robust flavors.
The tomatoes provide a juicy and slightly tangy base, while the onions and jalapeños add a kick of heat. Fresh cilantro lends a distinct herbaceous note, and a squeeze of lime juice brings a zesty and citrusy finish.
You can also use this recipe to assemble a pork quesadilla by sandwiching the leftover pork with a generous sprinkling of cheese between two tortilla shells and baking them in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes.
Make pork nachos by scattering the pork over a bed of tortilla chips and adding your favorite toppings.
Or make a pork burrito by adding the pork and your favorite toppings to a large burrito-sized tortilla and wrapping it up to create a delicious pulled pork burrito.
When it comes to storing shredded pork tacos, it's important to handle the ingredients properly to maintain their quality and freshness. Here's some storage information to keep in mind:
Pulled Pork: If you have leftover meat, allow it to cool completely before storing it. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it promptly. Pulled pork can typically be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container or resealable bags for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen pulled pork in the refrigerator before reheating.
Tortillas: Store any unused tortillas in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but if you want to prolong their freshness, refrigerate them.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze tortillas for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before using them.
Toppings: Toppings such as guacamole, sour cream, salsa, or pickled onions should be stored in separate airtight containers. Keep them refrigerated and consume them within a few days for optimal freshness.
If the toppings have been sitting out at room temperature for an extended period, it's best to discard them to avoid any food safety concerns.
Assembled Tacos: It's generally recommended to assemble and consume tacos immediately for the best taste and texture. However, if you have assembled pulled pork tacos with toppings, you can store them in the refrigerator for a short period, usually no more than a day.
Keep in mind that the quality of the toppings and tortillas may deteriorate when refrigerated for too long. It's advisable to store the components separately and assemble the tacos just before serving for the best results.
Remember to always follow proper food safety guidelines and use your judgment when it comes to the freshness and quality of stored ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paprika: Adds a subtle smoky flavor and a beautiful reddish hue to the pulled pork.
Cumin: Provides earthy and warm notes that complement the richness of the meat.
Chili Powder: Offers a mild to moderate level of heat and imparts a smoky and slightly sweet flavor.
Cayenne Pepper: If you prefer a spicier kick, a pinch of cayenne pepper can be added for some heat.
Garlic Powder: Adds a savory and aromatic element to the pulled pork.
Onion Powder: Enhances the overall flavor profile and adds a touch of sweetness.
Brown Sugar: Balances out the savory flavors with a touch of sweetness and helps create a caramelized crust.
Salt and Pepper: These essential seasonings enhance the overall taste and bring out the flavors of the meat.
Remember, the amounts of each spice will depend on personal preference, the amount of pulled pork, and the desired flavor profile. It's always a good idea to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed while cooking to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.
Coleslaw: A refreshing and crunchy coleslaw adds a delightful contrast to the tender pulled pork. The tangy dressing and crisp cabbage provide a textural balance and a fresh, cool element to the tacos.
Beans and Rice: Serve pulled pork tacos with a side of black beans and rice for a complete and satisfying meal. The beans provide protein and fiber, while the rice adds a neutral and comforting element to the dish.
Elote: Elote is made with grilled or roasted corn on the cob, typically slathered with a creamy mixture of mayonnaise and Mexican crema and sprinkled with crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, and chili powder or Tajín.
For even more side dish ideas check out this post: The Best Sides for Pork Tacos.
These are my favorite dishes to serve with pulled pork tacos:
- Choose fresh and flavorful toppings: Select a variety of toppings that complement the pulled pork, such as tangy pickled onions, fresh cilantro, creamy avocado, or spicy jalapeños. These toppings add contrasting textures and flavors to the tacos.
- Warm the tortillas: To enhance the taco-eating experience, warm the tortillas before assembling the tacos. You can heat them in a dry skillet, on a griddle, or wrapped in foil in a low oven.
- Build and garnish your tacos: Assemble the pulled pork tacos by placing a generous amount of pulled pork onto each warm tortilla. Add your desired toppings and garnishes, such as salsa, guacamole, or crumbled cheese. Don't forget a squeeze of lime for a final touch of freshness.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Leftovers no longer have to be mundane or uninspiring, especially when you have a recipe like these leftover pulled pork tacos up your sleeve.
By giving new life to your leftover pulled pork and combining it with fresh toppings and warm tortillas, you can create a meal that is bursting with flavor and excitement.
So, the next time you find yourself with some extra pulled pork, remember this simple recipe and enjoy a delicious taco feast that will leave you wondering why you didn't make more in the first place!
Looking for More Pork Recipes?
Leftover Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe
- 2 cups leftover pulled pork
- 8 small corn or flour tortillas
- toppings of your choice
- Begin by gently reheating your 2 cups leftover pulled pork. You can do this in a microwave, on the stovetop in a large skillet, or in the oven. Add a splash of chicken broth or chicken stock to keep the meat moist.
- Note: Depending on how your shredded pork was originally prepared you may want to add some additional seasoning. Try adding some chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin to the pork as it reheats. You could also stir in a little salsa.
- While the pulled pork is warming, take the opportunity to prepare your desired toppings. Slice some freshly pickled onions, chopped fresh cilantro, and gather any additional toppings you love, such as salsa or avocado crema.
- Next, warm the 8 small corn or flour tortillas. You can do this by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and microwaving them for a few seconds or heating them on a dry skillet until they become pliable and warm.
- Now it's time to bring everything together. I like to set up a taco bar and let everyone choose their own toppings. Take a warm tortilla and fill it generously with the reheated pulled pork. Add your desired toppings, such as pickled onions, chopped cilantro, and any optional additions like coleslaw or pineapple salsa. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different combinations!
Thanks for Reading!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below! You can also snap a picture and post it on Facebook be sure to tag me @RaspberriesandKohlrabi.