Welcome to the first and only episode of These Shredded Pork Tacos are the Best Camping and Cookout Food Ever. Need to see the trailer? Here you go:
Tender, citrus-marinaded-and-chili-rubbed shredded pork is tucked into warm corn tortillas and topped with fresh orange slices, pico de gallo, and crumbled queso fresco. These tacos are a party in your mouth, easy to scale up for a crowd, and can be prepared in the instant pot, slow cooker, oven, smoker, or in a dutch oven over the campfire.
5 Reasons why these tacos are perfect for camping and cookouts:
- The shredded pork (pulled pork) can be prepared in several different ways: cook it in the oven, in an instant pot, in a slow cooker, in a smoker, or in a dutch oven nestled into the coals of a campfire.
- The meat can be easily prepared in advance. Cook the pork ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Make as much or as little as you need. This recipe will make enough for about 24 tacos, which will serve 8 hungry people. But it's super easy to make as much as you need to feed a crowd.
- These are the perfect tacos to serve "family style": Set everything out and let everyone build their own tacos. Easy-peasy.
- No need to try and keep anything warm. When you're camping or having a cookout, it's a pain in the you-know-what to try and keep things warm while everyone is gathering around and filling their plates. This is not a problem with these tacos, because they are best served at room temperature.
And the best reason of all? They are so freaking delicious there's exactly zero chance of anyone at your table walking away feeling like they didn't just eat the best tacos of their life. Seriously. So good.
Ingredients Needed to Prepare this Recipe
- Vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
- A large white or yellow onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- A jalapeño chili
- Kosher salt. You can use table salt, but kosher salt does a better job of slowly soaking into the roast as it cooks, flavoring the meat all the way through the roast.
- Red chili sauce, prepared or homemade enchilada sauce, or prepared or homemade adobo sauce
- Orange juice. Citrus juice tenderizes and adds flavor to the meat.
- Lime juice
- Pork shoulder or butt roast.
- For the dry rub: Brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder
- For serving: warm corn tortillas, orange slices, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh Pico de Gallo.
Substitutions and Additions
- Instead of red chili sauce, enchilada sauce, or adobo sauce in the marinade for the pork roast, use 2 tablespoons of Better than Bouillon Adobo mixed with water.
- Instead of topping your tacos with queso fresco, use crumbled feta cheese or shredded Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese.
- Instead of serving these tacos with pico de gallo, use your favorite brand of prepared salsa.
- Serve your tacos with soft flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas. Have you ever tried making homemade flour tortillas??? They are surprisingly easy to make and about 1000 times better than the packaged variety. This is my favorite homemade flour tortilla recipe.
- Top tacos with pineapple instead of orange slices. Even better if you grill the pineapple first.
- Use chicken instead of pork. This basic recipe can be used to make shredded chicken tacos instead of shredded pork tacos. Use any combination of bone-in chicken pieces or a couple of whole chickens. The only adjustment you'll need to make is in the cooking time. Chicken will cook much faster than a pork roast. Scroll down for specific cooking times and more information about using chicken instead of pork for these tacos.
Step-by-Step Photos and Instructions
Add some oil, chopped onion, garlic, jalapeño, salt, red chili sauce, orange, and lime juice to a large bowl. Add the pork roast to the liquid, cover the bowl, and put it in the refrigerator to marinade for 12 - 24 hours.
Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Remove the meat from the marinade and coat it with the dry rub, massaging the spices into the meat.
Follow the recipe instructions to cook the pork roast in an instant pot, slow cooker, oven, smoker, or over a campfire.
Set the cooked pork roast on a large serving tray and use two forks to shred it. It should be so tender that it falls off the bone very easily.
Drizzle a bit of the cooking liquid and some fresh lime juice over the meat. It's now ready to serve or store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
How to Serve These Tacos
I like to serve these tacos family-style so everyone can build their own tacos. Pile the shredded pork onto a large platter and set it out with warm corn tortillas, crumbled queso fresco, a bowl of fresh pico de gallo, and plenty of orange slices.
- For soft and pliable corn tortillas, brush both sides of each tortilla with vegetable oil and heat in a very hot skillet or on a Blackstone griddle for about 5 seconds on each side. Place warm tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in aluminum foil. Alternatively, pour some vegetable oil into a skillet and set it over high heat. When the oil is very hot but not so hot that it's smoking, use metal tongs to dip each tortilla in the hot oil, heating it in the oil for 5 seconds on each side. Stack the tortillas with paper towels in-between each one to soak up the excess oil.
- Plan on 1 orange per person. Use a sharp knife to cut the peel and pith from the outside of the orange then separate the sections into individual slices, and set the slices in a serving bowl.
- Pico de gallo is easy to make and can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or cooler.
- Queso Fresco is a mild, fresh, soft, and slightly tangy white cheese that can be found in most supermarkets. It's the perfect cheese for these tacos. One 10-ounce package will be enough for this recipe. Crumble it into a bowl and set it out along with the other taco fixings. Good substitutes for queso fresco include feta or Monterey jack cheese.
Advanced Preparation and Storage Tips
Cooked shredded pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To ensure the safety of cooked pork, it's important to store it at a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Allow frozen shredded pork to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
To reheat cooked shredded pork:
- Spread it out on a baking sheet and place it in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
- Heat it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.
- Add it to a saucepan and heat it over low heat, stirring frequently, until hot.
- Add it to a skillet and heat on a stovetop, Blackstone griddle, or over a campfire, stirring frequently, until hot.
Homemade pico de gallo keeps well in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Orange slices will also keep well in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Hot tip for easy cooking and conserving water while dry camping!
We met some friends at a campground in Wisconsin who shared a BRILLIANT tip for easy cooking when they are dry camping and trying to conserve water. They prepare food in advance, like the shredded pork for these tacos, place it in heat-proof containers and freeze it.
To reheat it while camping, they place the container in a pot of boiling water and let the heat from the water thaw and warm everything up. The food is served in its container and the boiling water is used to wash dishes after they eat.
Can I Use Chicken Instead of Pork to Make These Tacos?
Yes! You can use bone-in chicken pieces or a couple of whole chickens instead of the pork roast in this recipe. The only change you'll need to make to the recipe is to shorten the cooking time.
*Whichever cooking method you use, it's important to cook chicken until it reaches the minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to check the temperature of chicken is with a digital instant read thermometer.
Follow the recipe instructions to marinate the chicken for 12-24 hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade and coat it with the dry rub.
- Instant pot: Add the chicken to the instant pot and pour in the marinade. Cook bone-in chicken pieces on high pressure for 20 minutes with a natural release. For a whole chicken, set it breast side up in the instant pot and cook it at high pressure for 26 minutes with a natural release.
- Slow cooker: Add the chicken to the bowl of the slow cooker and pour in the marinade. Cook bone-in pieces on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Cook a whole chicken on high for 3-4 hours. (Cooking a whole chicken on low tends to dry out the meat.)
- Smoker: Heat the smoker to 250 fahrenheit. Smoke bone-in chicken pieces for 1-½ to 2 hours. Smoke a whole chicken for 2 - 3 ½ hours, depending on the size of the chicken. While the chicken is smoking, boil the marinade for at least 20 minutes. Shred the cooked chicken and toss it with spoonfuls of the marinade.
- In the oven: Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of a dutch oven, and add bone-in chicken pieces or a whole chicken to the pot. Pour in the marinade, cover the pot, and roast chicken pieces for 35-45 minutes or a whole chicken for 1 hour - 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- In a dutch oven over a campfire: Set a trivet inside a cast iron dutch oven and place the chicken on the trivet. Pour the marinade into the pot and place the lid on the pot. Build a strong campfire and separate the fire into two parts - a small fire on one side producing new coals and a good bed of embers on the other side for cooking on. Nestle the dutch oven into the embers and using a shovel or tongs cover the lid of the Dutch oven with hot coals. Plan on cooking the chicken for 20 minutes per pound. Check the internal temperature and cook for longer if necessary to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
More Delicious Camping Recipes
This easy dutch oven pot pie topped with cheddar thyme biscuits can be made with chicken or turkey and cooked in the oven or over a campfire. This pot pie is especially great for those times when you're cooking for a crowd. Start off with cheesy stuffed mushroom dip and serve everything with Dirty Shirley cocktails and mocktails and a big bowl of Israeli Salad.
If you're using your smoker to make these tacos, add some smoked chicken quarters and smoked meatloaf to your meal plan for the week. Both recipes are ridiculously easy and the kind of delicious crowd-pleasing meals everyone in your group will love.
Chicken Adobo with Coconut Milk is one of my FAVORITE camping recipes. Cook the chicken at home before you leave for your camping trip, or cook it on any hot surface: a stovetop, camping stove, Blackstone griddle, or campfire. The same is true for Mexican Adobo Chicken. The adobo sauce can be made in advance and the chicken can be cooked on an RV stovetop, a camping stove, Blackstone Griddle, or even over an open flame.
And, let's not forget breakfast! There's nothing better than buttermilk pancakes in the morning. This simple recipe has been my go-to for decades and works just as well in a skillet as it does on a Blackstone Griddle.
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño chili, seeds removed and chopped
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 10 ounces red chili sauce, enchilada sauce, or adobo sauce (*See note)
- 2 cups orange juice
- ¾ cup lime juice
- 6-pound pork shoulder or butt roast, bone-in
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 lime
- For serving: warm corn tortillas, orange slices, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh Pico de Gallo. (*See notes)
- Add the oil, chopped onion, garlic, jalapeño, salt, red chili sauce, orange, and lime juice to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the pork roast (fat side up), cover, and place in the refrigerator to marinade for 12 - 24 hours.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and set it on a plate or cutting board. Add the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder to a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub the spices over the meat to coat it completely, massaging the dry rub into the meat.
- TO SMOKE THE MEAT: Heat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the meat from the marinade. Reserve the marinade in the refrigerator. Place the pork roast onto the smoker grates, close the lid, and smoke for about 6 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the shoulder registers 165 degrees. Remove the meat from the smoker and set it inside an aluminum roasting pan. Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Return the pork to the smoker and continue cooking for another 3-4 hours, until the meat is extremely tender and the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- TO COOK IN AN INSTANT POT: Set the pork roast in the bowl of an instant pot. If you have any leftover dry rub, sprinkle that into the pot. Pour the marinade around the roast. Cook on high pressure for 110 minutes with a natural release.
- TO COOK IN A SLOW COOKER: Place pork roast in the slow cooker. If you have any leftover dry rub, sprinkle that into the pot. Pour the marinade around the roast. Cook the roast on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
- TO COOK IN AN OVEN: Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the pork roast in a large roasting pan or dutch oven. Pour the marinade around the meat and cover the pot with a lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Roast for 4-5 hours until the meat is very tender and falls apart easily.
- TO COOK IN A CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN OVER THE CAMPFIRE: Set a trivet inside a cast iron dutch oven and place the pork roast on the trivet. Pour the marinade into the pot and place the lid on the pot. Build a strong campfire and separate the fire into two parts - a small fire on one side producing new coals and a good bed of embers on the other side for cooking on. Nestle the dutch oven into the embers and using a shovel or tongs cover the lid of the Dutch oven with hot coals. The roast will take 3-5 hours to cook depending on how hot the embers are and how consistently you add hot embers around the pot to maintain the heat. The pork is done when it’s so tender it pulls easily away from the bone.
- Remove the meat from the pan and shred it. Drizzle a bit of the cooking liquid over the meat. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the shredded meat.
- Serve family style with warm corn tortillas, orange slices, crumbled queso fresco, and Pico de Gallo. (*See notes below)
- Use any kind of red chili sauce in the marinade, prepared or homemade enchilada sauce, or prepared or homemade adobo sauce.
- Slow cooker tip: Every slow cooker is different, so check tenderness about an hour before the minimum cook time.
- For soft and pliable corn tortillas, brush both sides of each tortilla with vegetable oil and heat in a very hot skillet or on a Blackstone griddle for about 5 seconds on each side. Place warm tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in aluminum foil.
- Plan on 1 orange per person. Use a sharp knife to cut the peel and pith from the outside of the orange then separate the sections into individual slices.
- This is my favorite recipe for pico de gallo. It can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or cooler.
- Queso Fresco is a mild, fresh, soft, and slightly tangy white cheese that can be found in most supermarkets. One 10-ounce package will be enough for this recipe. Crumble it into a bowl and set it out along with the other taco fixings.
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One Large Tortilla Warmer Pouch - 12 inch large size - This Thermal Insulated Fabric holder Keeps Tortillas, Naan Bread, and Pizza Rolls Warm for up to One Hour
Serving Size:3 tacos
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1041Total Fat: 61gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 236mgSodium: 1201mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 9gSugar: 19gProtein: 65g