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Who doesn’t like Mexican food? Seriously, is there anyone out there who doesn’t? Anyway, I know my family does. These beef and rice bowls are one of our busy weekday favorites. And the kids are always happy to have a guacamole snack. And if we can have delicious tacos with tacos at home, that’s a definite win.
Tacos al Pastor are a great mix of spicy, salty, sweet and flavorful. I marinate pork in a sweet and spicy marinade, cook it and chop it up for use in tacos. My kids give him two thumbs up and say you should try.
What are Tacos Al Pastor?
Translated are tacos al pastor shepherd’s tacos. Perhaps Irish shepherds eat shepherd cakes and Mexican shepherds eat shepherd tacos?
Seriously, however, traditional tacos al pastor are nothing like the shepherd’s cake. The meat is more like a Mexican version of Lebanese kebab or Greek gyros. Toss the meat in a tortilla with some other toppings and you have tacos al pastor.
To prepare, marinate the pork in a pineapple adobo pepper marinade for at least an hour. Then choose a cooking method. The pork for traditional tacos al pastor is roasted on a spit.
Replacement for spit roast
I don’t have a skewer to fry meat on. Most home cooks don’t. But there are other ways to get a similarly delicious taste at home. These are the three methods I used:
- Smoker / Pellet Grill: My favorite method. It takes a lot longer than any other method, but it’s the closest thing to spit roasting and tastes amazing.
- Instant Pot: The Instant Pot is a great tool for quickly cooking and cooking large pieces of meat. If you choose to use this method, grill the shredded pork for a few minutes to achieve the crispy roasted texture you get from the spit roast.
- Stovetop: This method is the fastest as you cut the marinated pork into slices and fry in the pan.
Assembling your tacos
One of my family’s favorite things about tacos is that everyone can top their own as they please. I put out different topping options depending on what I have on hand and what is in season. Our fish tacos and fish taco salad are different every time we have them.
Usually tacos al pastor are served with additional fresh or grilled pineapple, diced red onion, coriander and avocado. We really like this taco coleslaw too.
We don’t usually eat a lot of grains so sometimes when we have tacos we serve them in lettuce leaves. I keep thinking about it i make my own tortillas although.
Al Pastor Mexican style tacos
Tacos al Pastor are a mix of sweet, tangy, spicy and savory. Top with pineapple, onions and coriander for a tasty meal.
- 5-6 lbs Boned pork shoulder (or Boston bum)
- 1 pineapple (cored and chopped, divided)
- 1 middle onion (peeled and chopped)
- 2 Cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- ½ Cup Pineapple juice
- ¼ Cup Coconut aminos
- 1 TABLESPOON vinegar
- ½ Cup orange juice
- ½ Cup Maple syrup
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 2 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 TABLESPOON cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 TABLESPOON Taco seasoning
- Red onion (diced)
- coriander (chopped)
- avocado (cut)
Preparation of the marinade:
In a blender, puree 1 cup of the chopped pineapple and all of the remaining ingredients.
Pour the marinade over the pork and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to 8 hours, turning every few hours.
Instant Pot: (easiest method)
Put the pork and marinade in the Instant Pot.
Cover and place to seal.
Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes and naturally release the pressure.
Chop the pork with two forks and place on a large baking sheet.
Finely chop another cup of pineapple and add to the pork.
Place the baking sheet under the grill of the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the pineapple begins to caramelize.
Take out and serve.
Pellet grill: (tastiest method)
Preheat a pellet grill or smoker to 250 ° F.
Place the pork directly on the wire rack.
Cook to an internal temperature of 160 ° F for 5 hours.
Take out and place on a large piece of foil.
Brush with extra maple syrup and add 1 cup of fresh pineapple, finely chopped.
Tightly wrap the pork in the foil and place it back on the grill.
Cook another 3-4 hours at 275 ° F until the internal temperature reaches 200 ° F.
Take out and let rest for half an hour.
If desired, grill fresh pineapple slices directly on the grill until caramelized and serve on top of the pork.
Hotplate: (fastest method)
Cut the pork into thin (½ inch or less) slices.
Heat a large pan or grill pan over high heat.
Work in batches and sear each piece for 3-4 minutes per side, until charred and cooked through.
Take out and set aside.
Fry another cup of pineapple in the same pan until caramelized and placed on top of the pork.
Let both rest for 5 minutes and then roughly chop.
Serve in tacos.
Top with extra fresh pineapple, red onions, coriander, avocado and other toppings of your choice.
You can use chicken thighs for the pork if you’d like, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 37G | Protein: 65G | Fat: 10G | Saturated fatty acids: 3G | Polyunsaturated fat: 1G | Monounsaturated fatty acids: 4thG | Trans fat: 1G | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 717mg | Potassium: 1345mg | Fiber: 3G | Sugar: 27G | Vitamin A: 482IE | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4thmg
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