Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roobios-Smoked Pork Tacos with Plum Grapefruit Salsa

This past month has been pretty crazy. I started a new position at work, which is going great, and have started jogging again after my several-month-long holiday break from any kind of physical labor. The combination of these two things has made me pretty tired once I get home from work, and it's also made me crave my one of my go-to comfort foods, tacos. But I didn't want to have just any kind of tacos to come home to, I wanted to have some that would brighten my day and really give me something to look forward to after my jogs. So, I looked around the McCormick Flavor Forecast and used their recipe for roobios-smoked sea bass and caramelized plums, but gave it a Mexican-spin. I also added some grapefruit to the salsa because Chef Mark Garcia kept mentioning grapefruits in the McCormick Flavor Forecast webinar and how they should be used more frequently, as one would use lemons or limes. The result was awesome. Smoky rich pork meat covered with a refreshingly sweet and spicy salsa.

Also, if you're worried about not having a smoker for this recipe, worry no more! McCormick explained how to create a little makeshift smoker in your own oven, which I have re-explained in this post. All you need is tin foil, a roasting pan, and a wire rack that can fit inside the roasting pan.


Roobios Smoked Pork

4.5 lbs Pork shoulder
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon Sweet Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Roobios Tea
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
3 Tablespoons Roobios Tea

Plum Grapefruit Salsa

1 Jalepeno Pepper
1 Red Chili Pepper, such as a Fresno Pepper
1/3 Cup Water
2 Grapefruits, peeled and cut into roughly 1-inch cubes
2 Plums, pitted and cut into roughly 1-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon Grapefruit Zest
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Taco Fixin's

Shredded Cabbage (optional)
Shredded Mexican Cheese (optional)
Flour or Corn Tortillas, taco-sized

First begin by making the smoked pork. In a large bowl, mix together the garlic cloves, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, salt, and 2 teaspoons of the roobios tea until well blended. Cut the pork shoulder into 2 evenly-sized pieces and then cut several holes into the flesh, about 2-3 inches deep. Place both pieces of pork shoulder in the marinade and rub the marinade into them, making sure to rub it down into the holes. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large roasting pan with tin foil and sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of roobios tea on the bottom. Place a wire rack  in the pan and then place a tin foil boat/bowl on top of it. Place the pork shoulder pieces in the bowl. Now seal the roasting pan with tin foil, pressing tightly around the edges. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the pork is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the pork shoulder is cooking, make the salsa. Remove and discard the seeds from the red chili and the jalapeno peppers. Place them in a blender or food processor with the water and blend until relatively smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a medium sized bowl and add all of the other ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate until the pork is finished.

When the pork is done, allow it to cool for 30 minutes before cutting the meat away from the shoulder bone. Place the meat in a large bowl and "shred" it by pulling it apart with two forks in opposite directions.

Toast the tortillas on a hot salted pan for 30 seconds on each side. Place as much of the pork as you'd like on the taco and any taco fixin's you'd like. Spoon the salsa over the taco and serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers.


  1. mmm....this looks droolworthy and the photos are very beautiful.

  2. I don't know what it is, but pork pairs so well with fruit! These look so delicious!

    1. I agree on the pork and fruit rooibos?! Yes please. Have just discovered your blog - you have such interesting flavor combinations. Can't wait to try this one.

  3. yumm looks really good - even though I don´t know how roobios tastes like :) your photos are really good !

  4. I sure wish I would have seen your post before putting my pork shoulder in the slow cooker this morning! I'd love to try this method - it sounds delicious.

  5. Thanks everyone! It really tastes wonderful, roobios tea has a warm, woody, vanilla taste to it. Goes very well with the pork :)

  6. Looks amazing! I've seen some recipes for tea smoking that look delicious but require a grill (which I technically have but I'm not so skilled with!) Love this recipe for using the oven - definitely something I will try out! :)

    1. Yeah being able to smoke things in the oven is great! It's easier and simpler and also cooks the meat faster since you're able to control the temperature and cook it at a higher heat.

  7. Wow, your photos are gorgeous! And this is such an interesting flavor combination- I'm very curious to try it!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! Definitely give it a try, the salsa alone is worth it :)

  8. This looks fresh and lovely- thanks for the recipe!

  9. These are ridiculously creative and are on my short list of recipes! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Wow, your photos are gorgeous! And this is such an interesting flavor combination- I'm very curious to try it!

  11. Mmm, this sounds like a great combination of flavors. And I love your photography style - very moody and evocative.

    1. Thanks Katie! I've been experimenting with darker images the past few months and have really been having a lot of fun with it :)

  12. Hi Eva, love the site, you do a nice job with the food and an amazing job with the photography, which is actually how I stumbled on the site.

    I didn't see any reviews for this, so I thought I'd leave one. I made these yesterday, followed the directions for the most part. I couldn't find sweet soy, so I substituted maple syrup. I have a smoker, so I used that. Smoked it with hickory and apple. The only change I made in the salsa was to cut out the spice as requested by a pregnant wife. The pork was really good, I was worried about it having too much of a teryaki flavor but the flavor was subtle and just kept the pork juicy. The salsa was fantastic as well. I use Alton Brown's recipe as a go to for pork butt, however this seemed to be a juicier and richer, even if the bark and flavor wasn't quite as pronounced as a typical smoked pork, perfect for the citrus pairing. Added bbq sauce for pulled pork sandwich leftovers and they were very good as well.

    For those choosing to bake instead of smoke, I think you are missing something and I can tell you that nothing makes a better day than 8 hours of smelling smoked pork on a perfect fall day in the midwest watching football.

    1. Hi Trevor!

      Thank you so much for trying out the recipe, I am so happy that you liked it, and I completely agree about the smoking, it just adds a depth of flavor to the meat that you can't get with plain old roasting. I haven't used my smoker in a while, definitely going to put it to use again in the next couple weeks :)