Recipe: Tacos al Pastor

Of all the different flavors of tacos out there, tacos al pastor has got to be my favorite one of all. I usually do not have a sweet tooth, but the tangy sweet pineapple takes the dish over the top for me! It’s not time-consuming in terms of active preparation, but for best results, you will want to set a few hours aside for marinating.

My first try at tacos al pastor!

Note: I roughly followed a traditional recipe using pork just to make sure I did not mess up the prep, but would love to attempt making this with jackfruit for a vegetarian-friendly version of this dish in the future – I’ve got some cans in my cabinets waiting for me to experiment with!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 medium pineapple (I just cut up some canned sliced pineapples)
  • 4 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 tbsp achiote paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice (you can usually find cans of these)
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • a pack of tortillas
  • lime (optional for garnish)
  • cilantro (optional – I don’t like cilantro so I definitely did not have it)

Steps:

  1. Start prepping all of your dried ingredients. I started by cutting the guajillo chiles and removing its stems and seeds, dicing the garlic, cutting the onion in half and then into thin slices so they look like C’s, and cutting your pineapple into cube-like shapes.
  2. Heat a pan with vegetable oil, and then add the garlic and stir it until it looks a little bit golden. After that, add in your dry ingredients (oregano, cumin, and black pepper) and stir it for less than a minute. Lastly, add in the guajillo chiles and keep stirring until you see they are getting blistered.
  3. Add in the pineapple juice, vinegar, and achiote paste and bring the whole mix to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn off the fire and set it aside so it can cool for about 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on your mix! I had to make my marinade twice because I burned it the first time haha.
  4. Put your sauce into a mixing bowl and use a hand blender to puree. Add salt to taste and set aside.
  5. Get a large container (I used a ziploc bag) and put the pork and marinade together, making sure that the entirety of the pork is completely coated. You’ll want to leave it to marinate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is better. If you can remember, massage it and rotate it every now and then!
  6. I didn’t have a grill, so I just heated up a large pan, added oil, and cooked the pineapple and onion until they had some golden brown edges, then moved off of the fire.
  7. Using the same pan, cook the pork until all sides are lightly charred. Depending on what what size meat you get, you’ll want to make sure that it is pretty much cooked before you take it off of the fire to rest.
  8. Slice the pork, onions, and pineapple into thin slices so they are ready for your tacos.
  9. Prep your taco and add the finishing garnishes (lime juice and cilantro) and you’re ready to eat!

What is your favorite kind of taco, and have you tried making it before?

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