You don't need a spit to make this authentic-tasting tacos al pastor recipe. Grilling the pork over low heat gives the marinade time to caramelize and mingle with the rendering fat. It’s the stuff crispy bits are made of.
- 10 guajillo chiles, seeds removed
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), sliced ¾" thick
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons prepared or fresh achiote paste
- 3 ounces kosher salt (7 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Morton), plus more
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into ½" rings, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
- 2 red habanero chiles, seeds removed, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Lime wedges (for serving)
Bring guajillo chiles, chiles de árbol, and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to let chiles soften.
Place pork in a large bowl. Purée chiles and soaking liquid, garlic, vinegar, sugar, achiote paste, 3 oz. salt, half of the pineapple, and half of the onion in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour over pork, stirring to coat thoroughly. Cover and chill 3–12 hours.
If using a gas grill or grill pan, prepare for medium-high heat; if using a charcoal grill, prepare for two zones of heat, medium-high and low. Grill remaining pineapple over medium-high heat, turning once, until charred, 6–8 minutes. Finely chop pineapple and combine with habanero chiles, mint, lime juice, and remaining onion in a small bowl. Season with salt, cover, and chill until ready to use.
If using gas grill or grill pan, reduce heat to low; if using charcoal grill, use low-zone heat. Remove pork from marinade and grill until marinade on pork has dried and begins to caramelize and char, about 12 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let pork rest 10 minutes.
Grill tortillas until soft and beginning to char, about 30 seconds per side. Slice pork against the grain into ¼" strips. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of pork and some pineapple salsa. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Do Ahead: Pineapple salsa can be made 4 hours ahead; keep chilled.
Slow Cooker Tacos al Pastor
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 9 H
- Makes 15 tacos
Ingredients US Metric
- For the tacos
- Cooking spray, for the baking sheet
- 3 1/2 lb pork shoulder roast, bone-in or boneless, trimmed of excess fat
- 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small (5 oz) onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
- 1 tablespoon lime zest (from 1 lime)
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 orange)
- 1/4 cup canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 12 to 15 (6 inch) corn tortillas
- For the pineapple-avocado salsa
- 1/2 small (5 oz) red onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon agave
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the chipotle mayo
- 1/3 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup store-bought or homemade plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Slick a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Season the pork with 3 teaspoons of the salt and the black pepper, making sure to cover the whole pork shoulder.
Place the onion and pineapple on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the onion and pineapple with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle them with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
Roast the onion and pineapple until tender, flipping them halfway through the cooking time, 15 to 16 minutes. Add the brown sugar and toss the roasted onion and pineapple to coat them. Roast the onion and pineapple until they start to caramelize, 3 to 4 minutes.
Drop the onion and pineapple into a blender or large food processor. Add the lime juice, lime zest, orange juice, orange zest, remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, broth, vinegar, garlic, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, onion powder, allspice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Blitz the ingredients until a smooth, thick sauce forms.
Place the pork in the slow cooker and cover with the pineapple sauce. Cook on low heat until the pork is fork tender, 7 to 8 hours.
Move the pork to a large bowl, and remove the bone if you are cooking a bone-in pork shoulder. Remove any fatty pieces, then use forks or tongs to shred the pork.
Stir in 1/2 cup or more of the leftover sauce from the slow cooker, if desired.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pineapple and avocado. Stir in the oil, lime juice, agave, cilantro, and salt, and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, adobo sauce, and lime juice and stir well.
Over a gas burner or in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, slightly char the corn tortillas. Top each tortilla with the pork, pineapple-avocado salsa, and chipotle mayo.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This recipe for slow cooker tacos al pastor requires some patience and planning but the rewards are great and therefore worth it. The marinade is the most time-consuming part to make and then it's smooth sailing. The slow cooker was a clever way to achieve the spit grilled effect and your house will smell pretty amazing even a day later! You get the scents of everything from the adobo and the pineapple and all the rich flavors of the marinade come through in the shredded pork.
The pineapple and avocado salsa is also amazing and I would eat this alone or with fish or shrimp. I also liked the idea of doing half yogurt half mayo for the sauce (I used Duke's mayonnaise.) I had a fair amount of fat on my pork shoulder, so I only got enough for about 10 tacos.
These slow cooker tacos al pastor were amazingly delicious! There was lots of prep involved but well worth it in the end. I'm not a big fan of pork tacos, they always seem to be heavy and rich so I eat two tacos and then I'm done. Not tonight! The pineapple and the orange really came through in the pork itself so it wasn't heavy and rich, it was fresh and delicious. The chipotle mayo and the salsa were the perfect companions (nice change from slaw). This dish would be a perfect summer dish to take to a pot-luck or when you have friends over sitting in the backyard having a cold beer.
The slightly sweet, tender pork shoulder had a wonderful depth of flavor, thanks to the roasted and caramelized onions and pineapple. Paired with the smoky spices it gave just a perfect flavor combination for these popular tacos. The two toppings finished the slow cooker tacos al pastor to perfection.
At the end of winter it's nice to use the slow cooker for something that has a bright taste and this paid off. This recipe for slow cooker tacos al pastor had a few more layers of flavor than my local Mexican spot it requires several steps (e.g. roasting the pineapple with onion, then adding brown sugar and roasting longer) that I am not sure paid off in spades but it was nevertheless quite tasty and bright.
It's really critical to have a good pineapple and for this test I was fortunate. I do think the salsa could have benefited from some heat (maybe some cayenne? a chopped jalapeño or red chile?). The chipotle mayo was good and am looking forward to using leftovers on a turkey sandwich!
I really enjoyed this easy, flavourful recipe. It was a family pleaser that was hands-off but created a rich and unctuous meat that paired well with the bright and fresh salsa.
Makes at least 15 tacos (we froze some of the meat after making 12 tacos and there is enough for another 4 to 6).
The onion/pineapple hadn’t caramelized at the 3-minute mark. I turned the broiler on to get a quicker caramelization without drying out the vegetable/fruit. They were nicely brown after another 3 minutes.
The pork that was under the sauce was very easily shreddable at this point. I turned the pieces over and cooked for another 1/2 hour and they were shreddable then. I added 1 1/2 cups of the sauce. There were at least 3 cups leftover.
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Tacos al Pastor
According to Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman, short of investing in a vertical broiler, this hack is the closest you&rsquoll get to al pastor tacos at home. We tend to think of pork shoulder as something that needs to be braised, but a well-butchered shoulder steak given a swift ride on a ripping hot grill can be a thing of beauty&mdashthe wide surface area means more of that good Maillard char you want from al pastor. Take your time when slicing the finished meat: thin, bias-cut slivers are the ideal texture here.
- Vegetable oil for the grill
- 1 cup adobo
- Four 1&frasl2-inch-thick boneless pork shoulder steaks (2 pounds total)
- Kosher salt as needed
- 12 corn or flour tortillas
- 1&frasl4 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 24 even slices
- 1&frasl2 medium white onion, minced
- 60 cilantro leaves (from about 15 sprigs), roughly chopped
- 2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges for serving for serving
Make the filling: preheat a grill to the hottest possible setting and brush it with vegetable oil. Slather about 1 cup of the adobo all over the pork steaks and season liberally with salt. Place the pork steaks on the hot grill and cook for 3 minutes. Rotate the steaks 45 degrees and cook them for another 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook the steaks for 3 minutes. The finished steaks should have visible charred grill marks. Remove the steaks from the grill, transfer them to a plate, and set aside to rest in a warm place.
While the pork is resting, make one batch of tortillas and hold them warm.
Cut the pork steaks against the grain and on the bias&mdashyou want the slices to be as thin as possible, almost shaved, to achieve the right tenderness and texture for al pastor.
Assemble the tacos: lay out the warm tortillas on serving plates. Evenly distribute the grilled pork and the pineapple slices among the tortillas. Top with some of the salsa roja and raw salsa verde, along with the minced onion and chopped cilantro. Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side.
Recipe reprinted from Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman. Copyright ©2015 by Empellon Holdings LLC. Photos by Evan Sung. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Tacos al Pastor
One of my boys recently spent some time in Mexico as a missionary. He loved every dish he tried, but his favorite thing, hands down, was the Tacos al Pastor.
So I decided I needed to try and recreate this popular Mexican meal at home.
Traditionally, the meat for Tacos al Pastor is cooked on a rotating spit, then thin slices of pork are shaved off as needed for the tacos. So it’s a little tricky to make these tacos exactly as they should be.
Unless, of course, you have a rotating spit in your kitchen. But since I don’t, I cut my pork into very thin slices, then pounded it with a skillet to make it even thinner.
So these tacos aren’t 100% authentic, but they are loaded with flavor and absolutely delicious!
Fun fact, Tacos al Pastor was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, and the technique of cooking the meat on a spit is similar to the way shawarma is made.
Whatever it’s origin, these are some of the most flavorful tacos I’ve ever had. I think I need to visit Mexico soon just so I can try the real thing! My son certainly never stopped raving about them.
There are a few specialty ingredients, like achiote paste, that you will need to look for in the international section of your grocery store, or maybe order online.
But since I couldn’t cook my pork on a spit, I wanted everything else to be as authentic as possible. So it’s totally worth a little extra effort to get the right ingredients.
I can’t wait to make these Tacos al Pastor for my son when he arrives home this summer. The rest of the family loved them, and I think he will too!
It’s time to get cooking!
To get started, you will bring the guajillo chiles, chiles de árbol, and two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, remove from heat and let it sit for 30 minutes to let the chiles soften.
While this is happening, you’ll have plenty else to do! Place the pork in a large bowl. Purée chiles and soaking liquid, garlic, vinegar, sugar, achiote paste, 3 oz. salt, half of the pineapple, and half of the onion in a blender until smooth, which will probably take about two minutes. Pour this delicious mixture over the pork, stirring to coat thoroughly. Cover and chill for anywhere from three to a full twelve hours.
If using a gas grill, prepare for medium-high heat. If you are using a charcoal grill, prepare for two zones of heat, medium-high and low. Grill the remaining pineapple over medium-high heat, turning once, until charred, which should take about six or eight minutes. Finely chop the pineapple and combine with habanero chiles, mint, lime juice, and remaining onion in a small bowl. Season with salt, cover it and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Now, reduce the grill heat to low. If you are using a charcoal grill, use the low-zone heat. Remove the pork from its marinade and grill until marinade on pork has dried and begins to caramelize and char. This will take about 12 minutes per side. Transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes.
While the pork is resting, grill the tortillas until soft and beginning to char, which will only take about 30 seconds per side. Slice the pork against the grain into ¼” strips. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of pork and some pineapple salsa. You’re all done! The first bite will tell you it has all been worth it!
- 4 dried guajillo chiles (about 1 ounce)
- 1 dried ancho chile
- 2 dried chipotle chiles
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup Coca-Cola
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon annatto seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 whole clove
- 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 12 corn tortillas, warmed
- Grilled pineapple, chopped red onion and cilantro, for serving
Stem and seed all of the dried chiles and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with water and microwave at high power until softened, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then drain and transfer to a blender. Add the orange juice, lime juice, soda and vinegar. In a spice grinder, grind the annatto with the oregano, cumin, clove, sugar and garlic powder until fine. Add the spice mixture to the blender and blend until smooth.
Transfer the marinade to a saucepan. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 5 minutes let cool. Transfer the marinade to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the pork and onion and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight.
Light a grill. Remove the pork and onion from the marinade and scrape most of it off. Brush the pork and onion with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning, until the meat is cooked through, 15 minutes. Transfer the pork and onion to a work surface, cover loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes.
Cut the pork into strips. Serve the pork and onion with the warmed tortillas, grilled pineapple, red onion and cilantro.
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Got any questions? Ask away! I&rsquom happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you&rsquoll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don&rsquot forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I&rsquoll be sure to share! Thanks! &mdash Mike H.
Marinade For Tacos al Pastor
For some it can be hard to make tacos al pastor the traditional way, and it can be difficult to find a place that serves tacos al pastor cooked up the traditional way as well.
There is no reason though for not trying to replicate the flavors without the use a trompo.
You can use 2 to 3 pounds of a pork tenderloin or a pork shoulder blade cut into small chunks and placed into the following marinade.
- 4 Guajillo Chile boiled, de-seeded, and cleaned
- 1 Ancho Chile boiled, de-seeded, and cleaned
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 3/4 cup of pineapple juice
- 1 Tablespoon each of
- Oregano – Thyme – Black Pepper
- Cumin – Paprika – Salt
- 3 Cloves of garlic
- Blend all of the ingredients together until completely combined.
- Strain the liquid over a bowl to end up with a smooth marinade.
- Add one layer of meat in a large bowl or baking dish and cover with the marinade, and then repeat in layers until all of the meat and marinade have been used.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
- Remove from the refrigerator and grill the meat until cooked through.
- Remove from grill and allow to cool a little and cut into thin slices to serve on warmed corn tortillas.
We topped our tacos with a mango and purple onion salsa (made ahead of time).
Peel and pit one medium mango and dice into small pieces and place into a glass bowl.
Next dice into small pieces one small purple onion and place into bowl with the diced mango.
Chop in some cilantro and squeeze the juice of one small lime over mango mixture and mix in.
If you desire add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix in. Set salsa aside until ready to top your tacos.
Incredible Tacos Al Pastor Recipe
These easy beef tacos al pastor are made in the slow cooker. Shredded beef topped with pineapple chunks, cheese, and avocados. Delicious, easy to make and the perfect dish to celebrate your Mexican themed Party.
The big question is: Are you hombre enough to eat these smoky and spicy tacos? Chipotle peppers with adobo sauce and pineapple give these dish a wonderful and distinctive flavor.
Tacos Al Pastor are generally made with pork on a big spinning machine, similar to Shawarma. When you order your taco, the meat is sliced thinly and placed in a corn tortilla.
The taco is topped with extra pineapple, cotija cheese and other toppings of your choice. I decided to make mine in the slow cooker because it’s the easiest way to get the desired texture.
As you can see, these Tacos Al Pastor are very different than any other tacos you’ve tried before. The meat is very spicy and not for the faint of heart. YUM! You can of course make them to suit your taste and needs. Just add less chipotle peppers and more pineapple.
The next time you’re hosting a party, make a Taco Bar! Place the beef in cute salsa bowl, the tortillas will stay warm in your tortilla warmer, slice some avocados and juice a few lemons. All the items you see below are from Imusa. They offer some cool products that will make your party remarkable. You can also use the tortilla warmer for warming up bread and arepas too!
All the items you see below are from Imusa. They offer some cool products that will make your party remarkable. You can also use the tortilla warmer for warming up bread and arepas too!
I tried Tacos al Pastor a few years ago in a friend’s house who is from Mexico. He made it in a slight different way using some sort of banana leaves. I got hooked by the deep smoky flavor and combination of ingredients. With every bite you will get smoky, spicy, sour, sweet, fresh and creamy. Sounds good right?
I got hooked by the deep smoky flavor and combination of ingredients. With every bite you will get smoky, spicy, sour, sweet, fresh and creamy. Sounds good right?
I hope you can make this delicious Tacos al Pastor at home. If you do, please tag me on Instagram @livingsweetmoments and/or use the hashtag #LivingSweet – I promise to Repost it.
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