Tacos al Pastor


Make this recipe.  It’s ridiculously delicious.  And I’ll even write it down here so you don’t have to click on the link:

For the marinade:

  • 15 dried guajillo peppers, soaked in 4 cups boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 8 oz can pineapple chunks with juice
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or cider) vinegar

For the tacos:

  • 6 lb pork butt
  • 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks with juice
  • Corn tortillas (and go to a tortilleria to get them, don’t buy that shit from the grocery store, you’ll notice a huge difference once you’ve had a real tortilla)

Drain the peppers and blend all the ingredients until pureed.  Force through a strainer.  Debone the pork and slice into 3/4″ steaks.  Rub the marinade all over and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  (I only needed to use half of my marinade so was able to freeze some).

Heat a pan (not non-stick) and sear the pork until browned.  Let cool and cut into half inch chunks.  Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with a little of the pineapple juice, add the pork and rest of the pineapple and juice and cook until the liquid is reduced to a syrup.  Adjust with salt.

For garnishes, I used cilantro, lime wedges, Mexican crema, diced red onion and salsa verde (recipe below).

I may have had better tacos at places like Durham’s Green Flea Market (I have not been to Los Comales yet, but after making this recipe I’ll be going shortly), but they wouldn’t have beaten these by much.

Here’s the recipe for the salsa verde that I got from the book Tamales by Daniel Hoyer:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • Peppers – use the peppers you want to use to make it as hot as you want.  I used 2 jalapenos
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, toasted and peeled
  • 1/8 cup cilantro leaves

Bring enough water to cover the tomatillos to a boil, add the salt and tomatillos and cook for 10 minutes, drain.

Add everything in a blender and coarsely puree.  Season with salt and if the salsa is too tart add some sugar until it’s to your liking.


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