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Pork Tacos with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Scallion Radish Pickle

Oh Cinco de Mayo, how I love you because you are another excuse to throw a pork roast in the oven and make some tacos. Okay, I don't really need an excuse to do that but sometimes it's nice to be put yourself on the spot when you realize it's been ages since you have roasted up a big, old chunk of pig to wrap in stack of corn tortillas. Sometimes we all need a push.

I like to use this David Chang recipe for pork sometimes because the meat comes out delicious, with crispy, crunchy bits but the flavour is neutral and I can use it for a ton of different things afterwards. A bit of ginger scallion sauce with some gochujang something or other and it's kind of Korean or add some smoky BBQ sauce and I have a pulled pork sandwich. Since this was a big 10 lb picnic pork roast, I wanted lots of leftover meat that could be repurposed. I am not even going to link to any one of the 100000 versions of this recipe that are out there because everyone makes it, everyone tweaks it and all you need to do is google "momofuku pork roast" and you will see for yourself. This is the version that I have finally settled on that works for me.

I had great success with my roasted red pepper sauce that accompanied my squid ink arancini so I made another roasted pepper sauce for a nice change of pace from tomato and a radish scallion pickle in place of my usual pickled red onion.

Here is the roast directly after it's 6 hour slow roast and right before it goes into the 500F oven for it's final sugar rub caramelization and how it looks after when you are ready to pull it apart.

One word of warning:
When you get to the end of the caramelization stage of the final sugar rub, don't decide that now is a good time to chat with The Neighbour on the porch for a minute or two.
luckily it was pretty much just fat coated with sugar that burnt and the meat was delicious under it's protective carbon coating

Momofuku Pork 
1 10 lb picnic roast, shoulder or pork butt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup coarse salt ( I use kosher)

2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar

Put your pork in a bowl.
Mix the sugar and salt together and then rub it all over your pork. Cover and put it in the fridge for at least 6 hrs or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300F
Remove your pork from the bowl, discarding all juices, and put it in a roasting pan (I use a big cast iron skillet). Make sure you get rid of all the liquid in the bowl but you don't need to rinse off any salt/sugar that is still clinging to the pork.
Roast in the oven for 6 hrs, basting it in it's own fat every hour.
Remove from the oven
Crank the oven up to 500F

Mix the 2 tsp of kosher salt together with the 1/4 cup brown sugar and rub that all over your pork. Return to the oven and cook for about another 7 to 10 minutes or until the fat starts to bubble and the sugar melts and turns dark, forming a nice, caramelized crust. (Careful not to let it totally burn in the bottom of the pan)
Remove from the oven and let sit about 15 minutes and then start pulling the meat off with two forks so you get nice, shredded pork. Discard all of the big chunks of fat and any bone.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

1 lb roasted, seeded, sweet red and yellow peppers
1 roasted, seeded jalapeno pepper
1 small handful of cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, chopped
3 tbls toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tbls sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
pinch kosher salt (to taste)

*to roast the peppers you can grill them, broil them or cook them over the flame of your burner if you have a gas stove. Just cook them until they are blistered and have black spots on them. Put them in a bowl and cover with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap and let them steam for at least 10 minutes. Rub the skin off ( I kind of like leaving the odd black bit on so I don't do this with surgical skill), half them, discard the seeds. Please be careful with the jalapeno because the seeds are hot. If you are sensitive, wear plastic gloves when handling them but otherwise, just be very careful, wash your hands a couple of times with soap afterward and avoid touching your eyes or any other body cavities - NO PICKING YOUR NOSE)

Put the peppers, the jalapeno pepper, cilantro, garlic, shallot, pumpkin seeds and sherry vinegar in a blender and puree. Taste, add a pinch of kosher salt, pulse a couple times, taste again. If you want more salt, add it a wee bit at a time until you are happy.

Set aside.

Scallion Radish Pickle

Juice from 1 big lime (about 2 tbls)
juice from a mandarin orange (about 1 tbls)
1 tbls olive oil
about 4 good sized radishes
3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced or finely julienned
couple tbls finely chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 whole roasted jalapeno, minced
pinch salt, grind of pepper

Mix everything together, squeeze the juice from the lime and the orange over the top and toss. Set aside (if your limes are small and not too juice, use more - you want about 2 tbls of juice).

You can eat it right away and it will be crisp and fresh but I also like it after it has sat for a longer time and everything gets all pink just like when you pickle red onions. It's up to you but it's great both ways.

For Tacos:
shredded pork
roasted pepper sauce
scallion radish pickle
corn or flour tortillas

If you are using corn tortillas, heat them in a dry pan over med to med high heat. Heat them about 1 minute per side and then remove to a clean tea towel where you will keep them wrapped so they can steam a bit and soften. Take out the tortillas as you eat them so the remainder stay soft and warm, wrapped in the tea towel.
If you are using flour tortillas you don't need to heat them.

Put a line of shredded pork down the middle and spoon some pepper sauce and radish scallion pickle over the top, roll it up and eat.

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