TACOS AL PASTOR — Thinly sliced pork is marinated in a mixture of Mexican seasonings, peppers and pineapple juice, then grilled and served in warm tortillas with cilantro and fresh pineapple.
One of my boys recently spent some time in Mexico as a missionary. He loved every dish he tried, but his favorite thing, hands down, was the Tacos al Pastor.
So I decided I needed to try and recreate this popular Mexican meal at home.
Traditionally, the meat for Tacos al Pastor is cooked on a rotating spit, then thin slices of pork are shaved off as needed for the tacos. So it’s a little tricky to make these tacos exactly as they should be.
Unless, of course, you have a rotating spit in your kitchen. But since I don’t, I cut my pork into very thin slices, then pounded it with a skillet to make it even thinner.
So these tacos aren’t 100% authentic, but they are loaded with flavor and absolutely delicious!
Fun fact, Tacos al Pastor was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, and the technique of cooking the meat on a spit is similar to the way shawarma is made.
Whatever it’s origin, these are some of the most flavorful tacos I’ve ever had. I think I need to visit Mexico soon just so I can try the real thing! My son certainly never stopped raving about them.
There are a few specialty ingredients, like achiote paste, that you will need to look for in the international section of your grocery store, or maybe order online.
But since I couldn’t cook my pork on a spit, I wanted everything else to be as authentic as possible. So it’s totally worth a little extra effort to get the right ingredients.
I can’t wait to make these Tacos al Pastor for my son when he arrives home this summer. The rest of the family loved them, and I think he will too!
Be sure to save this Tacos al Pastor recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Tacos al Pastor
- Produce: guajillo chiles, fresh pineapple, onions, garlic, cilantro, limes
- Pineapple juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Achiote paste
- Spices: thyme, oregano, salt
- Brown sugar
For the pork
- 3-4 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.75 ounces achiote paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2-3 lb. pork shoulder
For the tacos
- Warm corn or flour tortillas
- Diced fresh pineapple
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- In a medium saucepan, add the guajillo chiles and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chiles have softened, 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer the chiles to a blender, and add the pineapple juice, lime juice, oil, vinegar, onion, garlic, achiote paste, thyme, oregano, salt and brown sugar. Puree until smooth.
- Cut the pork into thin slices (1/2 inch thick), then use a mallet or heavy skillet to pound the pork until it's very thin, about 1/4 inch.
- Place the pork in a large zip-top bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat grill for medium heat. Grill the pork about 5-6 minutes per side, until crispy and cooked through. Remove pork from grill and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice into thin strips and serve in tortillas with desired toppings.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1090Total Fat: 75gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 41gCholesterol: 306mgSodium: 794mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 81g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Chicano Eats