Tacos Al Pastor
Al pastor is one of our favorite styles of meat when dining at a Mexican restaurant. The actual making of the special pork marinade and the tacos themselves is not all that difficult. What’s difficult is waiting for hours for delicious food while the meat marinates for up to a day in the fridge!
Makes 12 tacos
2 lbs. of 1/4″-thick sliced pork sholder
12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cup of chopped fresh pineapple
1 roughly chopped white onion
3 dried ancho chili peppers
3 dried guajillo chili peppers
3 chipotle chili peppers (from a can of adobo sauce)
2 tbs. of adobo sauce
2 tbs. of apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbs.
2 tsp. of kosher salt
1 tbs. of butter
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 tsp. of Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
Boil about 5-6 cups of water in a small saucepan to rehydrate the dried peppers. Once the water is boiling, remove it from heat, then add the ancho and guajillo peppers and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain from the water, remove the stems, split in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Put all ingredients except the meat, tortillas, onion, 1 tbs. of olive oil, butter, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth.
Coat the meat with the sauce on all sides. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours in a glass or ceramic dish covered with plastic wrap – do not let marinate on metal, because the pineapple would soak up a metallic taste. The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavor. However, if you happen to use canned pineapple even when the recipe calls for fresh, you will need to marinate the meat for at least 24 hours.
After marinating, you can either grill the meat on a propane grill over high heat for roughly 3 minutes on each side, or pan fry in a nonstick skillet, also over high heat and for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the heat from the heat source – at this point they are nearly 2/3 cooked – and transfer to a cutting board.
Trim away any excess fat and take the meat off the bones. Cut the meat into 1/4″ pieces. Heat the remaining 1 tbs. of olive oil and butter to a frying pan over medium-low heat, and cook the chopped onion for about 10 minutes until roughly caramelized. At this time, turn the heat up to high and add the chopped meat. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the meat gets nicely brown and caramelized.
Warm the tortillas on an ungreased nonstick frying pan or griddle. Load up the tortillas and add some optional garnishes: lime wedges, chopped cilantro, sour cream or crema mexicana, salsa verde, cotija cheese, Oaxacan cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo.