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Tacos Al Pastor are thinly sliced pieces of marinated pork that make for the best taco. Serve them up with some sliced onion, pineapple, and cilantro and you have yourself a fantastic dinner your family will devour. 

Bird's eye view of Tacos Al Pastor on a black countertop.

Tacos al pastor is a wonderful Mexican dish that uses the beautiful pineapples that are grown all over Mexico. While traditional preparations require cooking over a spit, this recipe has been adapted for the home cook to enjoy using a stovetop. You can also make this on an outdoor grill if you have access to one.

Thin slices of pork are marinated in a sweet and tangy pineapple based sauce. You can control the amount of heat in your taco meat by adding more or less chipotle chile peppers. Chipotles are smoked jalapenos so there is definitely some spice there. As written, this recipe is a medium heat level, leaning towards mild.

What does al pastor mean in English?

Pastor means shepherd so a direct translation to English would be Shepherd Tacos.

What cut of meat is al pastor?

Al pastor originated with Lebanese immigrants in central Mexico who would cook schwarma style by grilling meat on a spit. Local Mexicans adapted this cooking method with their own traditional flavors. If roasting on a spit, you might use a pork shoulder, though other pork roast cuts can easily be used. For a leaner option, use pork loin.

What is the difference between carnitas and al pastor?

Carnitas and al pastor both use pork, but the cooking preparations and flavors are quite different. Carnitas are usually braised in liquid or fat. Al pastor is marinated, then grilled and utilizes pineapple to provide a tangy flavor.

What kind of tortillas should I use? What toppings are best?

You can use either corn or flour tortillas in this recipe, it’s a matter of personal preference. Keep the toppings on these tacos simple. There is a lot of flavor in the meat so you don’t want to drown it out. Some thinly sliced white onion, a little freshly chopped cilantro, and some fresh pineapple are really all you need. I like to serve mine up with some lime wedges to add a little extra acidity.

Tacos Al Pastor in a taco holder.

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Watch the video below where I walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and I try to help you out by providing you with my very own cooking show. You can find all of the videos right here on my website with their corresponding recipes or you can check out the entire collection on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page.

Bird's eye view of Tacos Al Pastor on a black countertop.
Tacos Al Pastor are thinly sliced pieces of marinated pork that make for the best taco. Serve them up with some sliced onion, pineapple, and cilantro and you have yourself a fantastic dinner your family will devour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 (2-3 pound) boneless pork butt or loin
  • 1 white onion roughly chopped
  • 1 large pineapple peeled and cored, divided use
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 chipotle in adobo pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

For Serving:

  • 2 large limes cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 12 small corn or flour tortillas
Instructions
  • Use a sharp knife to slice pork into thin slices. Place in a large mixing bowl or resealable plastic bag.
  • Cut the pineapple into 2-inch wide spears. Dice approximately 1 cup of pineapple and set the rest of the spears aside.
  • Add the roughly chopped onion into a blender along with 1 cup of the cubed pineapple. Add in orange juice, white vinegar, chipotle, chile powder, garlic, salt, and oregano. Puree until smooth.
  • Pour marinade over pork. Refrigerate and let marinate at least 4 hours.
  • Heat a skillet or grill to high heat. Working in small batches, sear each slice of pork until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. At the same time, grill pineapple until lightly charred. Roughly chop the cooked pork and dice cooked pineapple.
  • Serve meat up hot on a warmed tortilla topped with freshly chopped cilantro, diced grilled pineapple, sliced red onion, and a lime wedge.
Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Vitamin C: 59.5mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Tacos, Tacos al pastor

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Rosana D

5 stars
This was super delicious. I have made other version of tacos al pastor and they have been good but this one has been the best. I didnt have a few ingredients, like for example, I didnt have ancho chile powder, so I used chili powder & red pepper flakes & I added 2 chipotle peppers with the adobo sauce & added a little pineapple juice . It was delish! Tasted better than many Mexican restaurants. Great recipe!!

Suzanne

5 stars
Thanks for this! This is my husband’s favorite kind of taco, but he hasn’t been able to order them since he developed alpha-gal syndrome a little over a year ago. I subbed boneless chicken thighs for the pork, and WOW. Incredibly delicious. This recipe even motivated me to try out my indoor grill for the first time. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

Sarah Britton

5 stars
Just made these and they were incredible! I’m obsessed! I found some freshly made tortillas in the supermarket that were part flour/part corn and they were perfect. I also used a very ripe pineapple. Because I’m on WW, I trimmed my slices of pork shoulder well of all the fat I could and that made it a very compliant meal! So good. Thanks.

Rebecca

Oooooooh, I read this and immediately thought of WW, too. It looked like an awesome low point meal. Great minds and all that.

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