Salsa Verde Braised Pork
Salsa Verde Braised Pork is a recipe I’ve been making for many years and it keeps taking on new forms! Back in the days of running kids around, I would throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker around lunch time and let it cook till we got back home to its amazing aroma. Dinner could be on in about 15 minutes!
And because it was always so good, I never tried making it in the oven. Why fix what isn’t broken, right? However, I’ve always wanted to because I knew that it would get just as tender and also have the seared flavor. Now that I have tried it, I may never go back!
What cut of meat to buy?
The only cut of meat for this is the pork shoulder roast, also known as pork butt … far from the pig’s actual butt which is the “ham”, but whatever. This cut is tough, but well-marbled so that as it braises, its own fat makes it tender and succulent.
Start by browning it in a large Dutch-oven that can go in the oven so that you only have to wash one pot. I love using one of my Le Creuset pots that I’m so fortunate to have, but any large Dutch oven will do the trick.
There’s so much flavor in the salsa verde that not much more is needed. Just some onion, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and oregano.
After browning the meat, remove it to a platter and caramelize the onions. This is where the real flavor of the final dish begins! There’s some meat juices left from browning the pork and they mix with the onion pieces and start getting brown, it’s magical!
Then add the spices and let them bloom a bit before putting the pork back in the pot. I don’t mean to be pretentious using the term “bloom”. It simply means to allow the heat in the pot to bring out the fragrances of the spices.
And finally, pour the salsa verde on top of the pork. Some will run down into the pot and I usually use my wooden spoon to scrape the goodness up and mix it with the salsa.
If you need the convenience of a store-bought salsa, feel free to use it! But if you love homemade everything, it’s so simple to make. My grilled version is spot on for this dish.
Options for cooking Salsa Verde Braised Pork
- At this point in the process, you can put the lid on, and cook it low and slow in the oven. As it cooks, it releases its own juices that mix with the salsa verde and eventually, caramelizes on the bottom of the pot. This is what to do if you plan to eat it on tortillas like street tacos.
- Optionally, you can add some chicken broth to the pot and create more of a stew that can be eaten with rice. This is a great option for the slow cooker or a pressure cooker ( digital or stovetop). You can still take the pork out, and brown it in a cast iron skillet to eat as street tacos, but the flavor won’t be as concentrated. Still delicious, to be sure!
- Be sure to access the Notes Section of the Recipe Card below to learn more.
In full disclosure, the photo below is not Salsa Verde Braised Pork that was cooked in broth first, then put into the skillet to brown. It’s the original pork that I was warming for lunch!
Street tacos are one of my favorite quick lunches and I don’t mind at all stopping by the local taco truck occasionally. But when it tastes so good making it at home, I’m less inclined to do so! Just look at that luscious meat caramelized so beautifully!
- All that’s needed is chopped cilantro and onion, some lime juice, and a grilled jalapeno if that’s your jam. Yum! And if you want to take it up another notch, you can make homemade corn tortillas!
Salsa Verde Braised Pork
- 3½ pounds pork shoulder roast aka pork butt or Boston butt
- salt for seasoning
- 2 cups salsa verde or a 15-ounce bottle
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth optional, depending on the cooking method
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- cilantro chopped
- onion chopped
- limes for serving
- oil for sauteeing – I recommend avocado oil for its high smoke point
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Season the pork roast generously with salt. Heat a large oven-proof Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add some oil and put the pork roast in. Brown on each side then remove to a platter.
- Add more oil if needed, then add the onions and cook until they are caramelized. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and oregano and allow them to bloom for about 30 seconds.
- If you are using a slow cooker or pressure cooker, please see the Notes for continuing.
- Return the pork roast to the pot and pour the salsa verde over the top. Any that drips down will loosen the bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir those into the salsa. Put the lid on and place the pot into the oven for 3-4 hours.
- After 3 hours, check on the pork. Using a knife or a fork, poke the pork, turn the knife or fork, and determine the tenderness. If it doesn't come apart easily, leave it cooking and check every half hour. Add liquid (chicken broth) if it's getting too caramelized before it's tender.
- When it is done, you should be able to pull it apart easily with two forks and the liquid will have evaporated and the caramelization will be out of this world.
- Serve as street tacos topped with chopped cilantro and onions, with extra salsa verde and lime juice squeezed over. And maybe a grilled jalapeno or two.
- See the Notes for finishing and serving if cooked in the slow cooker or pressure cooker
- To cook in a slow cooker:
- I recommend browning the pork and the onions/spices because of the flavor you’ll add. But if you don’t have that kind of time, forge on, Chef!
- Put everything in the slow cooker and turn on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
- Add the chicken broth listed in the ingredients list, put the lid on, and let it go.
- I did this for years when I had kids to run around all afternoon for drama, dance, and sports.
- You can serve it over rice after cooking it this way. Add cilantro, onions, and lime juice.
- If you want to crisp it up for street taco use, just take it out of the juice, put it in a skillet over medium to medium high. The juice will evaporate and the meat will crisp up.
- To cook in a pressure cooker:
- First of all, pressure cookers have been around for a long time! I can imagine that my grandmothers used them and I know that my mom did! The digital ones have revived the method of cooking, but maybe we should’ve been using them all along! All of my Indian friends use them on the daily and the stovetop ones are safer than they’ve ever been. I feel safe using my digital one, but I think the jury is out on exactly how safe they are simply because they’ve been around for such a short time.
- Saute the pork, onions, and spices right in the pot (in both the digital and stove-top varieties). I don’t like sauteeing in the digital version because the bottom isn’t even and some parts get more brown than others. But do what you like, especially if it means you save dish washing!
- Seal the pot. On the digital ones, set it to Manual, High, then 45 minutes. On the stovetop ones, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to bring to pressure, then cook for 45 minutes. Release pressure naturally.
- If you want to serve it as street tacos, put it in a skillet to crisp it up.
Thank you for such a straight forward description of your recipe, without using the worn-out terms of "awesome, super, or insane", any of which is an immediate turnoff for my continued reading.