Oven-Baked Pulled Pork Flautas
Many have been asking for game day recipes with enough food to feed a
herd of hungry football fans. Lucky for you I have something up my sleeve.
I refer to this recipe as a weapon of mass deliciousness. It’s easy to make and serve for a house full of your friends and family.
I have always thought of flautas as a specialty dish, one I would only
order at a Mexican restaurant. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself
flautas were complicated and I didn’t want to deal with the deep-frying. It’s not that I’m opposed to deep frying, but I knew it would be difficult and time-consuming to fry dozens of flautas for a large gathering.
However, I recently changed my mind and started working on perfecting baked flautas at home. I wanted the meat seasoned properly with traditional Mexican flavors. But most importantly, the flour tortilla had to have the perfect crunch. Anything less wouldn’t be right. I was looking for a flaky texture, similar to the deep-fried flauta.
I began experimenting with the tortillas. There are lots of recipes that spray tortillas with cooking spray after they are wrapped and then put in the oven. I tried my tortillas three ways before choosing the best method. I also served the tortillas blind to all my tasters. In others words, none of them knew how I had prepared the tortillas and were instructed to pick their favorite, and most similar to a restaurant flauta. The votes were unanimous.
My experiment included flautas sprayed with cooking spray only on the
outside, tortillas brushed with vegetable oil on the inside and outside,
and tortillas brushed with oil only the outside.
Hands down, everyone chose the tortilla brushed with oil on the inside and out. This method created a perfect restaurant style flauta. Sure it has a little more oil than the others, but that’s why it tastes the best!
So imagine this game day timeline:
Night Before: slow cook meat
Three Hours Before Party: shred meat and grate cheese
Two Hours Before Party: roll flautas
First Quarter: preheat oven
Second Quarter: Bake flautas in oven
By cooking the meat the night before and rolling the flautas before
guests arrive, you will have time to socialize and watch the game yourself.
Now, this recipe has a bit of a bonus factor. You see, when you remove the meat from the slow cooker after it’s cooked, you will be left with this unbelievably seasoned broth. It would be a complete shame to waste it.
You can either save it for another time, or with a minimal amount of planning and effort you can easily create the perfect bean side dish for these flautas.
All you have to do is soak a few cups of dried pinto beans in water overnight. Remember to do this before bed when you turn on the slow cooker. When you remove your meat from the broth the next morning, dump the beans into the seasoned broth and cook on high for four hours. Leave the slow cooker on warm until party time.
You end up with these incredibly-flavored beans to serve as a side dish. It’s that easy!! You can thank me later.
Oven Baked Pulled Pork Flautas
Makes 36-40 Flautas
For the meat:
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 4 cups (32 ounces) beef broth
- 1 (5 pound) pork butt, fat trimmed
For the filling:
- 48 (6-inch) soft taco size flour tortillas (you will have extras)
- vegetable oil
- 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) ranch style beans ~ found in the canned bean aisle
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilis ~ mild flavor
- 4-5 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (shred yourself)
- 4 cups dry pinto beans (picked through), soaked overnight
reserved broth from slow cooked pork
- Slow Cooker (6-7 quart)
- 3 (11 x 17) rimmed baking sheets
Guacomole, sour cream, taco sauce (I prefer over salsa since it’s thick) and green onion
Special Equipment Needed:
For the meat, add chili powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder
and ground pepper to bottom of slow cooker. Pour in beef broth and stir to combine. Place pork in broth and set slow cooker on low for 7 hours (bedtime is a great time to turn on the slow cooker. The meat will be ready the next morning and it gives you time to make the bonus recipe side dish.)
Remove meat from slow cooker and shred with two forks. (Meat will fall apart without effort.) Remove any fat found in the meat and discard. Place in a large bowl.
Add canned pinto beans, ranch style beans and green chilis to the pork. Mix gently until combined.
Prepare three 11 x 17 rimmed baking sheets by lining with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Lightly brush both sides of tortilla with vegetable oil. Place approximately 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture at one end of the tortilla (see picture). Mound it slightly and place about 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on top of the meat.
Fold left and right sides of tortilla inward and roll the tortilla tightly. Place seam down on the baking sheet. Repeat until all meat is used. Sixteen flautas will fit on each baking tray.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place two baking trays on top and bottom thirds of oven. (If you have three oven tiers you can cook all three trays at once.) Bake for 20-25 minutes. You are essentially browning the tortillas and warming the meat. Depending on your oven and how it browns, you may need to move your trays around during baking to get the browning you prefer.
Serve flautas on a large serving dish stacked on top of each other. The flautas hold their heat really well when stacked on top of each other, making them perfect for a buffet table.
Serve with guacamole, sour cream, taco sauce and sliced green onion.
For the bonus side dish recipe, when your meat is finished in the slow cooker, you are left with a nicely flavored broth. If you presoak your pinto beans the night before, just pour the beans into the leftover seasoned broth already in the slow cooker. Cook on high for four hours, keep on warm setting until ready to serve. Serve in a large bowl as a side dish to the flautas.