Extra tender Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork cooked sous-vide served with fresh guacamole, black bean paste, corn tortilla and sour cream for a hot and sweet Mexican night!
This is my own version of spicy Mexican pulled pork tacos, with a Canadian flair to it of maple syrup. This particular recipe uses a sous-vide machine although it could easily be done in a slow cooker. The other day, while walking around my “Temple” called Santa Caterina Market, in Barcelona. I’ve ended up at my favorite pork butcher and got hypnotized by those skinless pork knuckles/ham hock, couldn’t resist the urge to try to make something special out of them. So here we are!
Pork knuckles / ham hock
We don’t see many recipes around with this cut even though it’s divine tasting. It reminds me of pork cheek, the taste is somehow distinct, bolder and better in my opinion, above other cuts. Once perfectly cooked it becomes so tender, it falls apart easily plus it’s a way less fatty than let say pork belly… I already know the Germans (husby) love this cut, they make a popular roasted pork knuckle dish in Bavaria called Schweinshaxe. Delicious stuff, although you need the skin for this particular recipe.
This cut of meat is essentially the elbows of the pork which contains lots of ligaments and tendons. For this reason the meat needs propre long and low temperature cooking in order to become extra tender and no better way to cook long and low than a sous-vide machine right? Of course the dish could be done in a crockpot or slow cooker for 1/4 of the time although the meat’s texture might change, less juicy and might be overcooked. I like sous-vide for this reason, the meat cooks to the perfect temperature guarantied and get cooked uniformly because the heat comes from all around while the slow cookers cook from the bottom part. However for this recipe I’ve used sous-vide method, slow cooker are great to make pulled pork too… simply add all the ingredient in the slow cooker and let it go for 5 hours at low temperature.
I’ve always wanted to be a heat warrior like my siblings but in the end of the day I just have to accept that I’m weak. I do love some heat in my food but just cannot pass the “medium” level. That’s why I love to add a little sugar though those hot dishes of mine to calm the heat down and no better sweetener than my “home sweet home” maple syrup. This element bring a nice note to the dish, not powerful enough to make the meat sweet but enough to calm down all that heat and give the meat this extra layer of deliciousness… is that a word? Anyhow the maple syrup isn’t in everyone’s pantry so if you don’t have any simply substitute it for some honey.
So let’s start those tacos already!
Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Knuckles
Makes 10 tacos | Preparation: 48h | Difficulty: easy
- 2 pork knuckles/ham hock
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 220g (1 small can) of chipotle in adobo
- 1 lime (or 3 tbsp of apple vinegar)
- 5 tbsp of maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- 5g butter
- salt and pepper
- small corn tortillas
- black bean paste
- sour cream
- extra cilantro leaves
Sous-vide pork knuckles
- Add a touch of coarse salt and pepper to the skinless pork knuckles / ham hocks, add them to the plastic bag with the butter
- Sous-vide them (air tight bag) and let them 48 hours at 63°C (145F) for a tender result
- Once done with the help of a fork shred the meat and reserve
- Soften the onion in a small pan in a bit of olive oil and salt (5 minutes)
- Add to blender with 6 chipotles peppers from the can, 3 tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can and the rest of the ingredients, blend until homogeneous paste
- Mix the chipotle paste with the pulled pork and check the seasonning (salt and pepper)
- Serve with corn tortillas and sides