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.
This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises. All opinions are my own.
I recently returned from a trip to the Mexican Caribbean. It was beautiful, of course, and I always love Mexico. On this particular trip I enjoyed driving through the very rural parts of southern Mexico that are home to many small Mayan communities as well. It seemed like everywhere I looked there were pineapple stands. This recipe is inspired by this amazing trip.
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.
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.
If you want to read more about my travels in Mexico with Princess Cruises be sure to read my post detailing the trip and check out my Mexican Street Corn recipe which was also inspired by this trip. To book your own Princess Cruises vacation, be sure to check out their website. The Caribbean is 90% open and ready for travel and let me tell you, it’s INCREDIBLE.
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.
- 1 (2 to 3 pound) boneless pork loin
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 1 pineapple, peeled cored and cubed, divided use
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 chipotle in adobo
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- ½ freshly chopped cilantro
- Remaining pineapple
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- 12 small corn or flour tortillas
- Use a sharp knife to slice pork into thin slices. Place in a large mixing bowl or resealable plastic bag.
- 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. Roughly chop the cooked pork.
- Serve meat up hot on a warmed tortilla topped with freshly chopped cilantro, remaining pineapple chunks, sliced white onion, and a lime wedge.
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