Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

This. This tasty creation is the best reason so far to have an Instant Pot. And it didn’t even start out as an Instant Pot recipe. What?

It should be an Instant Pot recipe… first there is sautéeing, then there is slow cooking (which could be changed to pressure cooking by someone who was in more of a hurry to get the pork cooked than I was). Maybe the New York Times will rework the recipe now that so many people have this new appliance.

I was already convinced to keep the Instant Pot, but making this pork shoulder cemented my decision. Plus, I’ve found instructions for using the Instant Pot for making popcorn, some delicious sounding hoisin ribs and I haven’t even made yogurt yet!

Here goes!

Get some big flavour items gathered.

Fish sauce, sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic and onion.

Here is a great kitchen tip, courtesy my Dad: use a regular knife blade (with small serrations) to scrape the skin off of the ginger. Even better than using the much-lauded spoon ( because you have a knife right there in your hand to chop off any unpleasant bits of ginger. One utensil instead of two is a win.

Freshly peeled ginger.

Onion, garlic and ginger, all prepped.

Diced and minced aromatics.

Sauté the onions, then the garlic until the onions are becoming translucent. Add the ginger.

Sautéed onions and garlic plus the ginger.

While the onions are cooking, make the flavourful sauce by combining the hoisin, fish and sriracha sauces with some water.

Hoisin, fish and sriracha sauce.

Here’s the pork shoulder.

Pork shoulder.

After adding a few spoonfuls of the sauce to the pot, place the pork on top. Then add the rest of the sauce, cover and cook for 5 to 7 hours.

Add the remaining sauce (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Later that day…

The pork is getting close to having cooked for 6 hours. I’ve been peeking and the aromas coming from the pot are a good sign that the meat is ready. Time to make the slaw.

Slice some cabbage.


Using my julienne peeler to make strips of vegetables easily. Here are the carrots.

Julienned carrots.

Julienned cucumber.

Julienned cucumber.

New ingredient alert! Not only have I never used an Asian pear before, I don’t think I’ve been served one before. They’re good… much nicer than pears which I don’t bother with because of the texture. A great addition to the slaw.

Asian pear.

Matchstick-sized pieces of Asian pear.

Matchstick-sized pieces of the pear.

Chop some cilantro.


Get all the slaw ingredients into a bowl.

All the slaw vegetables.

Combine rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, canola oil and sriracha sauce to make the dressing.

Rice vinegar, grated fresh ginger, sesame oil, canola oil and sriracha sauce.

Add the dressing to the slaw vegetables.

Pour over the dressing (another whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Ta-dah! Cooked pork shoulder.

Cooked pork shoulder.

This meat didn’t come apart using a fork, but I have knives so it’s all good.

Mounds of pork meat.

Assembling the tacos: warm the tortillas.

Toasted tortillas.

Add some of the pork.

Add some pork.

Top with some slaw and get that taco into your mouth.

Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos.

Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos.

A lot of chopping, but worth every slice. Oodles of meat left over to make many more tacos (not just on Tuesdays). A new, tasty ingredient discovered and an exciting new tip to use again and again. All the thumbs are up for this recipe.

Here’s the recipe:

Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
Yield 6 to 8 servings

This recipe uses a mixture of hoisin and fish sauces as braising liquid, and is a riff on an old Corinne Trang recipe for wok-fried rib tips. It results in a vaguely Vietnamese tangle of pulled pork that is best accompanied by a bright and crunchy slaw and served on warm flour tortillas that recall the soft pliancy of Chinese bao. Cooking time will vary depending on the slow cooker you’re using, but generally, the meat begins to fall apart nicely in the neighbourhood of 5 to 7 hours. And of course you don’t need a slow cooker. To make the dish in a covered dutch oven, cook in a 325-350 degree oven for 4 or 5 hours, or until the meat shreds easily from the bone.


For the pork:

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1/2 bone-in pork shoulder, skin and fat removed, approximately 5 pounds
12 to 16 flour tortillas, warmed

For the slaw:

1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like peanut or grapeseed
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, or to taste
1 small green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled and sliced into julienne
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and sliced into julienne
1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and sliced into julienne
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped


Prepare the pork: Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. After a minute or so, swirl in the sesame oil and then the onions, stirring to combine. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are soft and becoming translucent. Turn off the heat, stir in the ginger and set aside.

Add the hoisin sauce and the fish sauce to the pan, and stir to combine, loosening the mixture with a little less than half a cup of water. Add sriracha sauce to taste.

Put a few spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker, then nestle the pork on top of it. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pork. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, make the slaw: Put the vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, neutral oil and sriracha sauce in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, cucumbers, carrots and Asian pear and toss to combine.

Shred the pork with a pair of forks. Discard bones. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the juices. Serve with the slaw and warmed tortillas, with the cilantro on the side.


6 thoughts on “Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

  1. Another winner. Cooked 8 lb. shoulder 6 hours at 325 degrees F.
    Too dry; but added more sauce and it was superb. It was very spicy. That siracha is sneaky hot!

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