Coke-Braised Pork Tacos

Coca-Cola is the secret to this super-simple braised pork recipe from TV chef Marcela Valladolid “The cola both tenderizes the pork and gives it a dark, caramelized crust,” says Valladolid. “I like to shred this pork and serve right in the casserole that it cooks in. I lay out bowls of toppings so everyone can build their own tacos.” If you can get it, Valladolid also recommends using Mexican cola for richer flavor. Slideshow: More Taco Recipes 

Coke-Braised Pork Tacos
Photo: Coral Von Zumvalt
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
2 to 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 cup Coca-Cola

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 3 tarragon leaves

  • Warm small corn tortillas, salsa verde, chopped onion, small cilantro sprigs, sliced radishes and lime wedges, for serving


  1. Season the pork with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Transfer the pork to a small enameled cast-iron casserole. The pork should fit snuggly - this will prevent the meat from drying out while cooking. Add the Coca-Cola and 1/2 cup of water.

  2. Transfer the casserole to the stovetop and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and add the bay leaves, thyme sprigs and tarragon leaves. Cover and simmer until the pork is very tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, about 1 1/2 hours. Using tongs, transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board, tent with foil and let cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the meat into bite size pieces. Serve the shredded pork in warm corn tortillas with salsa verde, onion, cilantro, radishes and lime wedges.

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