Slow-Roasted Pork Butt Tacos with Carrot-Habanero Salsa

Slow-Roasted Pork Butt Tacos with Carrot-Habanero Salsa

I recently came home from the market with a four-pound pork butt. Which is not the same as a swine’s Gluteus Maximus. The butt is actually the shoulder and it’s one of my favorite parts of the pig. I had big plans for this butt and had hoped to present a humble cut of the pig in an elegant presentation inspired by a Roasted Pork Shoulder I’d seen on Chef Mimi’s blog. However, once I got it home it sat in the refrigerator for a day or two and I began to get the feeling that I’d better do something with this meat soon because a butt is a terrible thing to waste.

So, as a default position, I decided to slow-roast it using a brown sugar rub in the most casual fashion I know. But then what? Tender, shreddable, fall off the bone Slow-Roasted Pork Butt may be delicious (ok, crazy delicious) but elegant it is not. In the end, I threw together an unusual Carrot-Habanero Salsa from Wes Avila and I made tacos. I wonder if tacos had been my secret plan all along. GREG

Pulled Pork ShoulderCarrot-Habanero Salsa Slow-Roasted Pork Butt Tacos with Carrot-Habanero Salsa

Slow-Roasted Pork Butt 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6–8Published

I use a brown sugar rub for this Slow-Roasted Pork Butt that I usually make on the fly. It typically includes brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and lots of black pepper. Plus whatever else I have handy. All kinds of great rub recipes can be found and most any one of them would work great here.

Pulled Pork Shoulder


  • 1 bone-in pork butt (shoulder) (at least 4 pounds)
  • ½ cup brown sugar rub (see notes)


Lay the pork butt on several pieces of plastic wrap that crisscross to create a large surface. Sprinkle a generous amount of the brown sugar rub all over the meat, rubbing it into the surface as well as you can. Let it rest for 15 or 20 minutes then repeat with some additional rub. Bring the plastic wrap up and around the meat on all sides, wrapping it tightly. Set the wrapped meat in a bowl or on a rimmed plate and refrigerate at least 24 hours.

When ready to cook bring the meat to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. 

Unwrap the meat and place it on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Cook the meat in the oven for 5 or more hours (depending on the size of the meat) or until the outside is black and crusty and the interior reaches 190 degrees F. 

Remove from oven and move the meat to a large bowl. Use two forks to shred the meat from the bone. Discard bone.

The meat is ready to serve or can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for future use. Reheat before serving.

Onion-Mint Relish

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Source Wes AvilaPublished
Onion-Mint Relish on Tacos


  • 2 cup thinly sliced white onion rings
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup whole fresh mint leaves (lightly packed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


In a bowl, combine the sliced onion, oregano, mint leaves and salt and stir until mixed. Set aside to soften. Stir again before serving.

Carrot-Habanero Salsa

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 ½ cupsSource Wes AvilaPublished
Carrot-Habanero Salsa


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrot coins
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (seeded and thinly sliced)
  • 1 habanero chile (stemmed )
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice


In a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and then saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Then, add the carrot and cook for 4 minutes, or until soft. Add the bell pepper and saute for 3 minutes. Add the habanero and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt. Slide all the ingredients into a food processor and puree. When smooth mix in the lime juice.