The first time I had Tacos Al Pastor was after Mr. W and I were married. We were visiting his parents and we always have to go and find the BEST tacos. It’s a bond that Mr. W and his dad share. We tried this place and I don’t think I’ve had better tacos in all my life. Whereas Mr. W and his dad will always claim Mexico with the best tacos….nothing can ever beat that but we found a pretty close second place! So every since then I have been on the search for authentic tacos al pastor!! Guys….this one you have to use dried chilies….aka its authentic!! But also super easy and so don’t worry!
- Thinly slice your pork. It will take time but will give you the most flavor and you want these tacos to be dripping with flavor! If you cut your main pork into smaller sections (6-8) and then plop it in the freezer for 2-4 hours…don’t forget about it…then when you cut it into smaller pieces it is easier to work with because the meat is firmer and doesn’t slide around everywhere. Just take out one little section at a time so the others don’t get to warm/soft.
- Grill the pork AND pineapple! When the pineapple is hot, the juices just flow out and become caramelized…or maillard browning…haha one of the only scientific words/terms I know.
- CANNED pineapple juice for the MARINADE. Fresh pineapple juice contains enzymes that if left to long on the meat, it will begin to break down the meat, leaving you a mushy mess…yuck!
- 3-3.5 lbs of boneless pork shoulder, sliced 1/4” thick
- ripe pineapple, sliced into 1/2” pieces
- 4 dried Guajillo chiles
- 1/3 cup CANNED pineapple juice
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/2 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBS achiote paste (found in mexican section, normally in clear plastic bags) *look below for homemade substitute
- 1 TBS brown sugar
- 1 chipotle pepper (from can of chipotle chili in adobo sauce)
- 1 TBS cumin
- 1 TBS oregano
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 TBS olive oil
- tortillas, pico de gallo, salsa, lime, cilantro, cream, etc.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add guajillo chiles and toast until blistered in spots and fragrant, turning occasionally, (about 3 minutes total). Transfer peppers to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, cut tops off chiles, shake out any seeds. Make sure to wash your hands very well afterwards.
Add chiles back to skillet and cover with water. Simmer 3-5 minutes until softened. Remove softened chilies to blender along with all Marinade ingredients and blend until smooth.
Add pork to a freezer size bag. Add marinade and stir to combine so every piece is evenly coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 -24 hours.
Grease grill or grill pan and heat to high heat. Add pineapple and grill until lightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and chop into fine pieces once cool enough to handle, discarding center rind.
Grease grill once again and heat to high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add to grill (you might need to work in batches). Grill over high heat until lightly charred and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before chopping into bite size or smaller pieces.
Serve tacos with preferred add-ins and enjoy!
*Achiote Paste Substitute: (will not provide the authentic red color). And yes, add these seasonings in ADDITION to the ones listed in the recipe if you are not using achiote paste.
- 1 ½ tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves