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Tacos Al Pastor

Tacos Al Pastor are traditional tacos made famous in Mexico City. The pork is marinated in chiles, fresh pineapple and spices and served with grilled pineapple on tortillas. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Al Pastor, grill, Mexican, Tacos, traeger
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh ripe pineapple

marinade and meat:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chile powder YES! 1/4 cup!
  • 2-3 garlic cloves halved
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 large or 2 small chipotle chiles about 1/2 cup see notes
  • 2 1/2-to 3- pound pork tenderloin*
  • 15-20 Corn tortillas flour may also be used

toppings:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage optional
  • remaining chopped onion
  • lime wedges

Guacamole Taquero (optional)

  • 6 tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, washed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and coarse chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chile, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1 cup onion (sweet or white) rough chopped

Instructions

  1. To make Guacamole Taquero or Taco Shop Guac, blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Will keep in fridge for one week. 

Early in the morning, or preferably the day before serving:

  1. Cut off outer edge and top of pineapple and discard. 

    Slice pineapple in half, long way. Slice into half again. You should have four, long wedges of pineapple. Remove the core and discard. 

    Place one of the four wedges on cutting board and chop coarsely. 

    Set other three wedges aside for grilling. You may cut these into smaller wedges (see photo) before grilling if desired. 

  2. Place the single chopped wedge of pineapple in blender. Add orange juice and next 7 ingredients; puree marinade until smooth. Place pork in large Ziplock bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn to coat. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. If you are cooking pork on grill, leave whole, if you are using oven, you may cut the pork into pieces ahead of time. 

The following day, or later in the day:

  1. Prepare Traeger Grill and set temperature to 450 degrees. When the grill is heated, insert thermometer into thickest part of tenderloin and grill on each side for about 8-10 minutes per side or until internal temperature is 155-160 degrees. Remove from grill and immediately wrap in foil or Saran wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes on a plate. See recipe notes for broiling directions. 

  2. Meanwhile, grill remaining wedges of pineapple until warm and slightly charred, 6-8 minutes per side. Remove from heat, set aside.

  3. While pineapple is cooking, chop onion. 

    Grill tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side on Traeger or on griddle. 

    When pineapple is finished cooking, chop or leave in wedges and set on platter. 

    Chop or slice meat as well and place on platter or leave on cutting board.

    Arrange pineapple, onions, tortillas, lime wedges, cilantro and chopped cabbage on a platter. Serve with Guacamole Taquero if desired. 

Recipe Notes

-You may purchase a small (7.5 oz)  can of Chipotle Chiles in sauce and use the chiles right out of the can.  I have used the El Mexicano brand found at Smith's (Kroeger). Or, you may use chopped fresh Anaheim chiles and add 2 tablespoons of Chipotle Chile Powder. 

-You may serve this dish with a variety of toppings and or salsas. I love grated cabbage on tacos, even when they aren't fish tacos. Sliced cucumbers and radishes are a perfect addition, and always served at Chunga's.

-All of the prep- marinating the meat, grilling the pineapple, chopping the onions and cilantro and preparing any sauces served with the tacos may be done ahead. On the day of serving, simply cook the meat and chop. Grill the tortillas and serve.

-Pork loin, which is generally used in this recipe is easily overcooked. I prefer and highly recommend Pork Tenderloin in this recipe. 

-A Pork Butt (Boston Butt) will also work. Since almost 1/2 of the butt meat is lost in fat removal, use a 5 lb Boston or Pork Butt. Marinate overnight. Cook on low for about 6 hours, remove fat and serve. Or, cook in 275 oven (sealed tightly with foil) for about 6 hours. Shred and remove fat.

-If you don't have a Traeger, you may use a regular barbecue grill. Set the heat to medium-high and grill until internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees, turning once.

-If using an oven, cut the meat into cubes and marinate as directed for at least 1 hour. Remove meat from marinade and place the meat in a pan and broil for about 8-10 minutes total, mixing gently about half way through cooking. watch carefully to make sure meat does not burn.