Slow Cooker Chorizo Spiced Pulled Pork has all the flavor of a traditional Mexican chorizo but in a lightened up slow cooker meal made with pork tenderloin. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
This Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Chorizo Spices couldn't be more delicious. It's spicy and smoky and savory with all the flavor you would expect to find in chorizo - except it's good for you! Make it with this Spicy Cabbage and Corn Slaw and Crockpot Pinto Beans for an amazing Mexican meal.
I was basically drooling when I originally saw this Slow Cooker Chorizo Pork recipe on Serious Eats. Between my love of pulled pork and my love of chorizo, I knew I would absolutely love this recipe. However, I also knew I needed to lighten it up a bit since pork shoulder tends to be a much fattier and higher calorie cut. To make it a little more diet friendly, I decided to use a lean pork tenderloin and substitute in chicken broth for the beer. It worked perfectly and I am in love with the resulting dish. It's perfect for sandwiches, tacos, burrito bowls, or quesadillas. Honestly, I would eat it with just about anything.
The key to making this recipe shine is the chorizo spice blend. It's made with a combination of ancho chili powder, black pepper, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, coriander, and salt. This gives the pork a spicy, smoky flavor but it also has a nice warm note from the cinnamon. It can be made more or less spicy by altering the amount of chili powder. And for those who have never used ancho chili powder, it's a variation of chili powder made from ancho, or poblano, peppers. It is usually a bit milder than something like a chipotle chili powder. Any chili powder will work, but I love the flavor the ancho version adds to the dish.
In addition to the spice blend, the pork is also cooked with onions and garlic to add more flavor. You could use garlic powder and onion powder, but I like having the slow-cooked onions mixed into the meat and find that fresh garlic provides more garlic flavor. Then to finish things off, there is a touch of apple cider vinegar to add some acidity to the recipe.
How to make sure the pork tenderloin doesn't dry out in the slow cooker?
One of the main difficulties with cooking pork tenderloin is that is can quickly dry out, especially if it is cooked too long. To prevent that from happening, it is important to cook the pork in liquid. In this case, I used chicken broth but any cooking liquid would work. My friend makes this with diced tomatoes in their juices and it turns out great. Additionally, make sure to cook it on low. Pork tenderloin tends to be thinner and cooks pretty quickly on low. In my slow cooker, it takes about 3.5-4 hours. You want to shred it as soon as it is cooked through so it doesn't get tough.
Can I use a different protein?
Sure! This recipe will work with all different types of proteins and cooking methods. If you are going to stick to the slow cooker, I would recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs or a lean beef roast. The chicken thighs will take about 4 hours to cook but the beef will take closer to 8 hours. Chicken breast would work as well but you need to make sure to remove them as soon as they are cooked so they don't dry out.
If you don't want to use the slow cooker, you can use the chorizo spice blend like a dry rub for the meat. It works with chicken breasts, chicken thighs, pork chops, and steaks. It's especially good on the grill. If you have time, let the meat marinate in the spice rub first by combining it with some olive oil or lime juice. This makes a great taco.
What is the slaw served with the tacos?
After initially posting the recipe, I got a bunch of questions about the corn slaw seen on top of the tacos. It is a Spicy Cabbage and Corn Slaw that is a riff on Mexican Street Corn. It is made with a combination of fresh or frozen corn, shredded cabbage, and a creamy lime dressing. Here is the recipe:
- 2 cups fresh (or frozen) corn, cooked
- 14 oz. shredded cabbage coleslaw mix
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 limes, juice
- 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Salt and pepper
- Directions: Toss together the corn, coleslaw, and jalapeno peppers. In another bowl stir together the remaining ingredients. Toss the veggies and dressing together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. ancho chili powder (up to 1 tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. coriander
- 2 lb. lean pork tenderloin
- 1 U onion, diced
- 4 U garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Mix together all the spices and rub over the pork.
Place the pork in the slow cooker. Cover with onions and then add the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar.
Cook for 4-6 hours on low until it easily shreds with a fork.
For crispy pork, place it under the broiler after cooking for 3-5 minutes.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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