O’Brien Estate Winery Food and Wine Pairing Recipe

Pulled Pork Tacos with Parmesan Quinoa & Grilled Peach Pico


Tobias Cappello, one of our Wine Club members, was having a glass of wine with Barb and discussing their favorite fall food to have with O’Brien wine while watching football.  Tobias was talking about how wonderful his Tex-Mex pulled pork tacos were and Barb asked him to share his recipe with our Wine Club members.

These tacos are a full meal in a wrapper.   


We smoke our pork shoulder “slow and low” in Texas and the flavors in the meat come from a combination of the wood smoke, the dry rub applied to the outside and the meat itself.

Dry Rub Recipe – this is a slightly spicy dry rub:

 6 Tbs salt

 3 Tbs course black pepper

 1 tsp red pepper/cayenne

 4 Tbs garlic powder

 4 Tbs brown sugar

 2 Tbs onion powder

 2 Tbs paprika

 2 Tbs ancho chili powder 

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside

Prepping the Pork Shoulder - 1 pork shoulder, washed and trimmed.  Pork shoulder comes in many sizes.  The larger the piece, the more you have to eat and the longer it takes to cook.  I suggest you smoke at least a 5 lb shoulder (also called Boston Butt).  Once I have the shoulder, I trim the exterior fat down to approx. 1/8 inch.  Although much of the exterior fat is removed, there is still plenty of fat on the interior of the shoulder to make it moist.  Also, exposing more of the exterior meat allows more rub on the surface of the meat, which means more flavor.

Applying the dry rub - Before applying the rub, wash the shoulder in cool water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place on a sheet pan or in a shallow bowl (to catch the excess rub) and apply the rub liberally to the whole exterior.  I apply the rub 2 hours before smoking; too much longer and the salt in the rub will extract too much liquid from the shoulder.

Smoking the Pork Shoulder – Smoke on any available smoker for 1.5 – 2 hours per pound at 200 – 225 degrees.  I cook on a big green egg with lump wood charcoal and apple wood chips soaked in apple juice.  Smoke the shoulder to 150 degrees.  Remove shoulder, wrap in foil and return to the smoker.  The meat will have taken in as much smoke as needed by this time and the wrapping will keep the moisture in and the shoulder tender. Once the shoulder reaches 190 degrees remove from the smoker and wrap in beach towels and then a cooler for at least 2 hours.  The wrapping will allow the shoulder to cook a little more (get to 200 degrees internal) and it will also moisten it.


  • ·         1 1/2 cups washed Quinoa
  • ·         2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • ·         1 large sweet (yellow is what I prefer) onion diced
  • ·         1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • ·         1/2 cup white wine
  • ·         32 oz chicken stock/broth
  • ·         3 tsp season salt
  • ·         1 cup grated parmesan cheese


Melt the butter in a 3 quart saute pan on medium heat, add the onion and cook until soft.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add quinoa to the pan and sauté butter, onion and quinoa on medium heat until the quinoa is slightly toasted.  You should begin the smell the toasted quinoa.  Next, add the white wine and scrape the bottom to de-glaze the pan.  

Once the steam has subsided, add season salt and 1/3 of the stock.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat 2 more times until all stock is added and absorbed.   

Finally, remove the pan from heat and add parmesan cheese and fold into quinoa.  Let set for 5 minutes and serve.


  • ·         1 peach
  • ·         1/2 yellow onion diced
  • ·         1 medium tomato quartered, seeded and diced
  • ·         1 jalapeño diced (with membrane and seed removed)
  • ·         1 minced clove of garlic
  • ·         1 lime


Peel, halve and core out the peach.  Grill at 350 degrees for 3 - 4 minutes, enough to get a few grill marks and soften the face. While grilling the peaches, combine the onion, tomato, jalapeño and garlic in a small bowl.  Squeeze in the juice from the lime.  Add salt and pepper.  Once the peach is done, dice and add to the bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to combine.

“Pulling” the Pork – after the shoulder has rested for a couple of hours, remove from the foil and take a chef’s knife and large cooking fork.  Make a few cuts through the shoulder to loosen it up and then, with both utensils, “pull” it apart.  You will be creating strands and chunks of the shoulder.

Assembling the Taco

To make the taco’s place a serving of pulled pork on a warmed flour tortilla (approximately1/4 cup).  Then add ¼ cup of parmesan quinoa, and a spoonful of the pico.  Eat immediately and enjoy!