Tacos al Pastor are one of my most favorite kind of tacos. Juicy, tender pork is marinated in a combination of spices and chilies and then grilled. The pork is then sliced into tortillas and topped with pineapple, onions and cilantro. The flavor combo is absolutely delicious!
I love how the spices kind of char onto the outside of the meat but it still remains tender and juicy. The sweetness of the pineapple pairs so well with the spice crusted meat. And the onion and cilantro and a nice freshness to the whole dish. Perfecto!
And if this yummy al Pastor seems a bit reminiscent of the deliciously spice laden middle eastern Shawarma, that is because it was first introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. Tacos al Pastor ( meaning “shepherds style” in spanish) is considered to be one of the first fusion foods. A combination of Mexican cuisine and Lebanese Shawarma style cooking.
Traditionally al pastor is made with thin slices of marinated meat (pork) that is cooked slowly on a spit. But for ease and simplicity this recipe will be cooked on a grill.
The first step to creating this dish is to make the marinade for the pork. Make sure you do this the day before you plan on serving it. You will want the pork to marinate overnight for maximum flavor and tenderness.
You can also cut up the fresh pineapple, onions and cilantro the day before. Then all you will need to do the day of, is grill the meat and warm the tortillas. Making it a breeze to throw together. I added some fresh tomatoes to mine for a pop of color.
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1/4 thick pieces
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic
- 4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon achiote powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 medium pineapple. peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- corn tortillas
- lime wedges
- chopped cilantro
For the Marinade
- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic cloves and cook over medium high heat until nicely browned on all sides. Stir in the guajillo chiles and saute' until they start to soften up a bit, about 3-4 mintues.
- Add all of the spices to the pan, stirring until they become fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the pineapple, orange and lime juices and the vinegar. Bring t a boil, then lower heat to simmer for a couple of minutes. remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Add more salt if needed. Place the pork in a glass dish or a ziplock bag and pour marinade over it. Make sure the meat is coated on all sides. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
To Make the Tacos
- Light the grill. Brush the pineapple slices and onion slices with a bit of oil and grill untill lightly charred on both side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
- Remove the pork from the marinade and grill until nicely charred on both sides. About 2-3 minutes per side until cook through.
- Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes. Cut the meat into thin strips, and place on a serving platter. Cut pineapple and onion into strips and place on the platter with the meat.
- Serve with warm tortillas, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.