Backyard Deck Reveal + Recipe for Pulled Pork Tacos with Smoked Slaw

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Transforming our backyard deck into an intimate dining space has been a dream of mine for a while. A few months ago I developed a plan and a mood board for this space, but I honestly couldn’t have dreamed that it would come together this well. The Home Depot was my one stop shop for this deck transformation. I was able to purchase everything I needed from The Home Depot including the grill, plants, DIY supplies, outdoor furniture, accessories, and dinnerware!

I want to walk you through the updates I made to the deck and close out this post with a recipe for Pulled Pork Tacos with a Smoked Cilantro Lime Slaw.

BEFORE

Let’s take a look back to where we started. Our back deck wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t the space I hoped to have. We had 2 grills, a few mismatched tables, an outdoor loveseat and some string lights that were too big and too heavy.

AFTER

This space is now the intimate outdoor dining area of my dreams! When I started this project I wanted to make sure this was a space where we could grill, garden, and gather and I think it’s safe to say I accomplished all three of those goals!

GRILL

The first change we made to this space was upgrading our Traeger Grill. We originally had a Traeger Pro Series 22 that we absolutely loved, but knew we wanted to eventually have a Traeger with increased grilling space and additional features. We gifted our original Traeger to a family member and upgraded to the Traeger Ironwood 885.

The Ironwood 885 has 885 square inches of grilling space and has amazing features like wifi connectivity, grill control via the Traeger app, and a pellet sensor. I love how quickly the grill heats up, how easy it is to manage the grill temperature, and monitor the internal temperature of whatever we’re cooking.

GARDEN

Historically, I haven’t had much success with gardening at this home. In the past I’ve attempted to grow herbs in pots but most of the plants died. I wanted this year to be different. I headed to Home Depot and purchased a host of Bonnie plants to grow in a potted patio garden:

I did as much research as I could before buying pots and planting. The Home Depot Plant Your Garden site is a great resource for determining pot size and plant location. I also checked out resources by Brianne with Gather and Grow and used her Patio Kitchen Garden ebook as an additional guide. My patio garden is thriving and my peppers and tomatoes are beginning to ripen just in time for summer grilling season!

GATHER

Creating an intimate and inviting gathering location on this deck was the most time consuming but also the most exciting part of the transformation. The Hampton Bay Jasper Ridge Farmhouse Table is the perfect outdoor dining table for the space! It has the durability needed for an outdoor setting but it also has the traditional look of something you might see indoors. The Stylewell Hawkspur Wicker Outdoor Dining Chairs are incredibly stylish and are a budget friendly option for our outdoor seating. I grounded the dining space with this gorgeous diamond links indoor/outdoor area rug.

I also added an outdoor heater and a beverage cooler to the space. I’m looking forward to using the outdoor heater once it gets a little cooler and am already dreaming about cool autumn nights out here on the deck. I love having the beverage cooler because it means that guests don’t have to go inside everytime they need to get a new drink.

The biggest challenge we had with our deck is that it didn’t provide any privacy. I wanted a way to add in privacy without sacrificing the sunlight that’s needed for the patio garden. The solution was adding in outdoor curtains. They add a decorative touch when open, but can also be closed to provide full privacy.

Attaching the curtains to the deck was simple! I purchased 4″x4″x8′ lumber and attached it directly to the deck railing and siding of the house. From there I used copper pipe as curtain rods. I placed my curtains on the rods and then attached them directly to the supports using floor flanges. Finally, I stained the wood with outdoor stain and used dock rope as curtain ties.

One thing that has made a big difference in the ambience is that I also updated our outdoor light fixture and string lights. The light fixture we had was original to the house. I attached string lights to the curtain posts and the siding of the house to give the space a moody and romantic feel. I removed the original light fixture and replaced it with a more fitting style.

Can we talk about this tablescape for a second? The Home Depot’s tableware selection is astonishing. I want my dinner guests to feel like they’re sitting at an outdoor restaurant and the tablescape I created sets the perfect vibe! My tablescape includes napkins, flatware, dishes, taco holders, stemware, serving dishes, a pitcher, glasses, and tabletop torches. My potted Bonnie oregano and thyme also double as the centerpiece for the table.

I’ve already had some friends over for dinner and they kept asking where I purchased all of the tableware. They were shocked when I told them that everything on my deck (except for the food) is from The Home Depot.

This garden to grill project has been one of my favorites to date! I love that feeling of seeing a project come to life and exceed expectations.

I made pulled pork tacos with smoked cilantro lime slaw for my dinner party and I’m excited to share that recipe with you! All of the cooking is done directly on the Traeger grill. The pork is cooked low and slow for about 11 hours . After the pork comes off the grill to rest, cabbage, limes, and Bonnie jalapenos from the garden smoke for use in the slaw! This recipe is full of smoky flavors and your dinner guest will be begging you for this recipe by the end of the night.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Smoked Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

Time: 45 minutes active, 12 hours inactive

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4.5 lbs pork butt
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Traeger BBQ Pork Rub (or rub of your choice)
  • 1 cup of beer (an ale with citrus notes works best)
  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 garden grown Bonnie Plants jalapeno, halved
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1 garden grown Bonnie Plants bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup of garden grown Bonnie Plants cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 10 oz queso fresco
  • BBQ sauce
  • Corn or flour tortillas for serving

Recipe Directions

Preheat a Traeger, electric smoker, or smoker to 225 degrees F.
Brush a thin layer of dijon mustard on the pork and then sprinkle the BBQ rub evenly on the meat.
Place the pork directly on the grill rack and cook for 2 hours.
After two hours, pour the beer into a spray bottle and spritz the meat every 45 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F (about 6 hours).
Once the meat reaches 160F remove it from the grill and increase the grill temperature to 250 degrees F.
Pour any remaining beer over the pork and wrap it in butcher paper or foil.
Place the wrapped pork directly back on the grill grates and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees F, about 5 hours.
Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest, wrapped, for 10 minutes and then unwrapped for a minimum of 50 minutes. After resting, shred shred the meat.

Lower the temperature to 180 degrees F.
While the pork is resting, make the slaw.
Place the cabbage, jalapenos, and limes on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the cabbage, jalapenos, and limes from the grill.
Finely chop the jalapeno (remove the ribs and seeds for a milder slaw).
In a large mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, sugar, celery seed, cilantro, and the juice from the lime. Whisk until fully combined.
Stir in the cabbage, jalapenos, and bell pepper and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Warm the tortillas according to the package directions.

To assemble the tacos, layer pork, BBQ sauce, slaw, and cheese on top of the tortilla.

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