Taqueria Style Al Pastor

 

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I love going to taquerias and birthday parties where the taquero cooks al pastor directly on a flat top iron grill and serves up a hot plate full of beautiful al pastor tacos fresh, delicious, and made to order.   Sometimes when the al pastor cravings creep up on me, and I want to cook at home, I go to the Carniceria at the local Mexican supermarket and buy pre-marinated and pre-chopped al pastor meat at the meat counter to cook it at home.

I recognize that sometimes a grill or flat top iron grill is not accessible. So, I want to show you all another method of cooking amazing al pastor at home…on the stovetop!  Once the marinated al pastor is ready to cook, cooking al pastor in a hot skillet/pan on the stovetop is super easy.  I especially love how the pork fat renders into the hot pan while cooking and helps produce scrumptious crispy bits of meat to go along with all the other fabulous sweet and savory flavors of al pastor.

Ingredients:

2 pounds pork butt, cut in small bite-size pieces
3 dried guajillo chilies, seeds, and stems removed
1 dried pasilla-ancho chili, seeds and stems removed
1 ounce achiote paste
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 white onion, peeled and sliced
1/4 pineapple, sliced

Taco Options:
corn tortillas
salsa verde
guacamole
cilantro/onion
hot sauce
pice de gallo
lime wedges

Steps:

Rehydrate dried chilies – Remove the stems and seeds from dried chilies. Boil the chilies in a medium saucepan with 1-2 cups of water for 15-20 minutes until the chilies are re-hydrated.

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

Marinate Pork – Add small bite-size pork and onions into a large bowl. Pour marinade over pork and mix well. Let pork marinate for at least 4 hours.

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Cook Al Pastor – Cooking in batches, Heat a large non-stick skillet/wok on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and stirfry al pastor for about 5 minutes.  Add pineapple and continue to stirfry until the liquid evaporates and al pastor and pineapple crisp up.

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Serve Al Pastor – Add al pastor (about 1.5 ounces) over warmed corn tortillas and top with your favorite garnishes, salsa, and hot sauce.

Tips:

  • If you prefer to grill the al pastor instead, you can check out my original al pastor recipe for how to cook al pastor on the grill.  Different methods, same deliciousness.
  • I love using pork butt/shoulder for this recipe, but other cuts of pork work as well.
  • If fresh pineapple is unavailable, canned Dole pineapples are perfect substitutes.
  • Diced chicken thighs should be an excellent protein substitute.
  • While cooking, if the pieces of pork are bigger than bite-sized, use scissors to cut it up into smaller pieces.
  • Cooking in batches of about 1 pound helps speed the cooking process and allows meat to cook evenly.

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