Monthly Archives: October 2013

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!

tacos al pastor

tacos al pastor

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.

getting ready to sit in the fridge

getting ready to sit in the fridge

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.

mostly grilled

mostly grilled

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.

Blair’s 3 A.M. Reserve

If anyone wants to make Zach happy, gift him a bottle from Blair’s.  Blair’s makes snacks as well as hot sauces, but the sauces make the brand famous all over the globe.  The 3 A.M. is the second in a series of the “A.M.” Reserves extracts, which are named for when Blair worked in the bar business.  Any patron who wanted to stay past closing at 2 am had to eat four hot wings with Blair’s dastardly sauce, but none ever succeeded.  The 3 A.M. Reserve has a range of 900,000-1,200,000 scoville units, comparable to ghost peppers.  Blair’s mix of red savina habanero chili, cayenne chili, and special extract is recommended to use extremely sparingly – a teaspoon is more than enough to enhance a gallon of your own sauce, as per Blair.  He signs and numbers each bottle and can even personalize if you like, so hardcore chiliheads would go gaga over a gift like this.  As a collector’s item, some editions have been known to resell for BIG money, so it’s a hard choice: crack the seal and enjoy the extract, or save it and bank it?  What would you do, reader?

Blair’s Salsa de la Muerte

salsa de la muerte

salsa de la muerte

(The label is in Spanish, so we thought we’d follow suit today!  See below for translation)

Blair’s es una compañía que produce una variedad de salsas, todas picantes pero a niveles diferentes.  Hemos escrito de cuatro, pero ésta de que escribimos hoy se llama “Salsa de la muerte” y ella misma tiene dos caras.  Ambas tienen puestas etiquietas en español, y afortunadamente August conoce la lengua.  Pero aparentemente, las botellas que se exportan a países de América Latina llevan más chile habanero que la versión que se vende en los Estados Unidos, para los gustos del mundo hispano.  Ambas “salsas de la muerte” contienen chipotle como ingrediente prinicpal por su sabor, mas zumo de lima y cilantro, pero las dos se contrastan por el sudor que causan por comérselas.  Los usos sugeridos incluyen mariscos hasta huevos rancheros (y podemos pensar en más), entonces es bastante versátil para servir con cualquier plato.

Blair’s is a company that produces a great variety of salsas, all spicy but at different levels.  We have written about four, but this one of which we write today is called “Salsa of death” and it itself has two faces.  Both have affixed labels in Spanish, and fortunately August knows the language.  But apparently, the bottles that are exported to Latin American countries have more habanero than the version that is sold in the United States, for the Hispanic peoples’ tastes.  Both “salsas of death” contain chipotle as a main ingredient for its flavor, plus lime juice and cilantro, but the two of them contrast by the sweat they cause when eaten.  Suggested uses include shellfish and huevos rancheros (and we can think of more), so it’s fairly versatile to serve with any dish.