Tacos Al Pastor

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Tacos Al Pastor is one of my FAVORITE tacos in the whole world to eat.  I determine the greatness of a taqueria based on the taste of the Al Pastor alone.   If the Al Pastor at a taqueria is no bueno, I probably would not come back, even if the other protein options are delicious. #AlPastorSnob

From my experience eating Al Pastor, I noticed that every Mexican taqueria or restaurant prepares their al pastor a little differently and each place has its own distinctive Al Pastor taste.  I prefer the taste of my Al Pastor to balanced, with some saltiness, spiciness, with a touch of sweetness from the pineapple juice and packed with flavor.  NOT TOO SWEET THO!

I also love Al Pastor cooked and shaved from a trompo (vertical rotisserie) but since I don’t have a trompo at home, I like to cut the pork into thin slices and grill it over high heat like I would grill carne asada.  This method works out amazingly for me and my backyard BBQs for family and friends at any time.

Ingredients:

6 pounds pork butt, thinly sliced
8 dried guajillo chilies, seeds and stems removed
2 ounces achiote paste
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 white onion, sliced
1/2 pineapple, sliced

Accompaniments:
corn tortillas
salsa verde
cilantro/onion
hot sauce
pice de gallo
lime wedges

Steps:

Rehydrate dried guajillo chiles – Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.  Move the pan around and dry roast the chiles for about 3 minutes.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water into a heatproof bowl with dry roasted guajillo chilies for 30 minutes and stir occasionally.

Make Al Pastor Marinade – Add reconstituted guajillo chilies, achiote paste, garlic cloves, white vinegar, pineapple juice, vegetable oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and ground cinnamon into a blender jar.  Blend on high until smooth.

Marinate Pork – Add thinly sliced pork and onions into a large bowl.  Pour marinade over pork and mix well.  Place sliced pineapples on the top of the pork.  Let marinate for at least 4 hours.

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Grill Al Pastor – Set the grill to medium high – high heat. Once the grill is heated, grill al pastor pork, onions, and pineapple directly over the open flames for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until pork, onions, and pineapple are a little charred and completely cooked.

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Serve Al Pastor – Chop pork, pineapple, and onions into bite-sized pieces.  Put on top of warmed corn tortillas and top with your favorite salsa and hot sauce and serve immediately.

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Tips:

  • Pineapple juice contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps tenderize meat.  However, if you marinate the meat for too long in pineapple juice, the proteins in the pork begin to break down and can get mushy.  Highly recommend marinating for about 4-8 hours max.
  • Other cuts of pork are fine, but I like the pork butt the best.
  • If you don’t have a grill, you can cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and cook in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

 

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