Tacos Al Pastor (aka Mexican Style Pork Tacos)
Get ready for this taco deliciousness! This recipe offers heat, acid, freshness and umami 😋
I saw Tacos Al Pastor on a Tasty video and I felt the need to recreate the dish because it reminded me of a gyro or shawarma cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie always entices me and who doesn’t love that. Tacos Al Pastor is pork marinated with chili peppers, garlic, onion, achiote paste, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, white vinegar and pineapple juice. The pork is then assembled into tower and cooked in the oven with pineapple goodness dripping into the pork. Tasty made it look feasible and this home chef puts her own spin on the recipe with dried chilies, fresh garlic and my own Salsa Verde.
According to wiki, the history of Tacos Al Pastor took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when a wave of Lebanese migrated to Mexico. In the 1960s, Mexican-born descendants of Lebanese immigrants began opening their own restaurants and combining their heritage with Mexican cuisine. I love when immigrants put their own spins on local dishes because the recreated dish is always delicious!
The taco is usually garnished with cilantro, white onion, pineapple and avocado. Today, I’m adding the extra punch with my own Salsa Verde, see my recipe. Oh, do I love Salsa Verde with it’s roasted tomatillos, peppers, garlic and onion. This will be the perfect accompaniment for the tacos.
Tacos Al Pastor
This recipe feeds a large party or a party for two; whom love pork leftovers for midweek meals which we have planned already!
Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 2 1/2 hrs at 375
You’ll need 2 wooden skewer, trimmed to the height of your oven.
Ingredients for the pork tower of goodness
- 4-5 lbs of pork shoulder or butt, slide into 1/4 inch slices
- 3 dried chilis with the seeds removed
- 1 small onion, cut into larger pieces
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 3 TBSP achiote paste
- 2 TBSP chili powder
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 1 TBSP oregano
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 TBSP salt
- 1 TBSP pepper
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup of pineapple juice
- 1 pineapple, skinned and cut into 1 inch slices
Ingredients for garnishing
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves removed
- 1/2 of white onion, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 slice of pineapple, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 avocado, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup of Salsa Verde, see my recipe for delicious and simple Salsa Verde.
Instructions for cooking and serving Tacos Al Pastor
1. Begin by reconstituting your peppers for the marinade. This done by adding water to small to medium sauces pan. Add your peppers to the water and boil for 20-30 minutes. Reconstituting your peppers will soften them and add that punch of heat you need for the pork. You’ll know the peppers are ready when soft look.
2. Meanwhile slice your pork in 1/4 inch slices and add to large marinading bowl.
3. Once the peppers are done, remove from the water and place on a dish or bowl to allow them to cool slightly.
4. Add the onion, garlic, achiote paste, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar, pineapple juice and the reconstituted peppers to a food processor and pulse or chop quickly to incorporate the ingredients and remove any large onion, garlic or pepper chuncks.
5. Add the marninade to the pork and coat each piece of pork. Ensure the pork is happily married with the marinade and cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 2 hrs or up to 3 days. I marinaded mine overnight and that seemed appropriate for developing delicious flavors.
6. Now prepare your pineapple in preparation for building the tower of goodness.
7. Once you’re ready to begin cooking, place your oven at 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this step because all those juices and spices can make a mess out of your baking sheet.
8. Place one slice of pineapple on the baking sheet. Insert one wooden skewer to the left of the pineapple slide and the other wooden skewer to the right. When I first made this dish I only used one wooden skewer and the meat tower collapsed while cooking, so I would suggest using two wooden skewers!
9. Begin building your tower pushing the marinated pork through the skewers. Place a small chunk of pineapple after each three pieces of pork. This adds additionally deliciousness. Push another smaller slice of pineapple on top and wrap foil on the ends of the wooden skewers so they don’t burn.
10. Cook for ~ 2 1/2 hrs. You’ll know your pork is ready when it’s charred and those aromas have taken over your house. You can also use a meat thermometer to determine your doneness and I’d aim for 145. Rest your pork for 10 minutes.
11. Once your pork is done, prepare your garnishes and grill your tortillas on your stove top, if you have a gas range. If you do not have a gas range, wrap the tortilla in a damp paper town and foil and place them in the warm oven for a few minutes.
12. Assemble your tacos. Carve the pork and roasted pineapple onto a grilled tortilla. Top with cilantro, white onion, pineapple, avocado and a spoonful of the fresh Salsa Verde. Serve with a lime wedge and enjoy!