Cantina style Tacos al Pastor are marinated, grilled on the rotisserie and shaved off into your corn tortilla with bits of charred pineapple.
This at home version of Tacos al Pastor re-creates the traditional style spit grilled pork. Thin cut, marinated pieces of pork are threaded on a skewer, capped off with pineapple and grilled vertically over open fire. The juices from the pineapple drip down into the pork while it cooks and creates the best flavor. Use a sharpened knife to shave off bits into your warmed corn tortilla.
Toppings like charred bits of pineapple, chopped radish, cilantro and Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese complete the taco. I like to serve my homemade salsa verde on the side. It’s super easy to make and has lots of flavor from roasting the tomatillos with peppers and onions.
It’s easy to make a spit fire grill at home using your wood or briquette BBQ and a cast iron pan. I used a heavy duty metal skewer and set it in a cast iron pan. Place the pan either directly in the coals or on a low rack. The flames will come up the sides and char little pieces of the pork – and that’s o.k.
The flavor comes over time as the cooked pineapple releases juices and they slowly drip into the marinated pork pieces. The juices, combined with the flavorful marinade and charred edges create an extraordinary flavor. After grilling, remove the pineapple ends and cut the cooked pineapple into bite size pieces to serve with the pork in the tacos.
Ingredients in Tacos al Pastor
- Pork Shoulder – This recipe needs this fattier cut of meat. Don’t try and substitute a leaner cut of pork, it will end up really dry. Grab the pork shoulder roast, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Pineapple – A whole fresh pineapple as you will use the top and bottom.
- Achiote Powder – Ground annatto seeds I use the El Guapo packets found in the Mexican aisle of the grocery.
- Coriander – Ground coriander, tan colored spice with muted cilantro flavor.
- Cumin – Ground cumin, a warm, earthy flavored spice.
- Garlic Powder – Ground garlic without the salt.
- Mexican Oregano – Found in Mexican aisle of grocery, El Guapo spice packets.
- Chipotle in Adobe – Spicy peppers in adobo sauce, found in a can in the Mexican aisle.
- Pineapple Juice – I like to keep small cans of pineapple juice on hand for sauces.
- Corn tortillas – Small street taco size corn tortillas.
- Toppings – Chopped radish, cilantro and Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese for toppings. Plus lots of lime for serving.
Mix up your taco game with these Out West Food & Lifestyle favorites. Crispy Pork Tacos: Tender pork gets crisped up and served in a charred flour tortilla along side fresh corn and onion sauté with roasted tomatillo salsa. Grilled Pacific Rock Fish Tacos: Skip the typical dredging and go straight for the grill. Topped with fresh mango salsa and served in a warm flour tortilla with chipotle slaw. Shrimp Adobo Tacos : Warm, earthy adobo sauce tossed with shrimp and served in a blistered corn tortilla with cilantro, onion and cotija cheese
Tacos al Pastor
- 1.5 lb pork shoulder roast, thin sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 pineapple top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 cut off (remove spikey top)
- 1 tbsp achiote powder
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp Mexican oregano
- 2 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce
- 6 oz can of pineapple juice
- salt and pepper
- 12 small corn tortillas warmed
- 3-4 radish, diced for garnish
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
- 1/4 cup cotija cheese for garnish
- 1 lime, sliced for garnish
- Combine marinade ingredients in a large dish. Massage into pork rounds, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Using a rotisserie spear, place the bottom 1/3 of pineapple, skin side facing down, on the spear pushing down to the end of spear. layer marinated pork slices onto spear, finish with the top 1/3 of pineapple, skin side facing up.
- Grill with indirect heat, cooking slowly and rotating until charred and cooked through. If you don't have a vertical rotisserie, place in a cast iron pan, upright, and manually rotate every so often while it cooks. I like to remove the grill of my BBQ and place cast iron directly in the bottom with the coals to one side.
- When fully cooked through, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours later, remove from grill. Remove pineapple bottoms/tops and cut cooked pineapple to serve with meat. Standing upright, shave off pieces of meat for tacos.
- Top with radish, cilantro, Cotija cheese, serve with lime wedges. If you want to reheat for later, just place chopped pineapple and shaved meat in a cast iron pan with a little lard over high heat until warm.