4.7 from 17 votes

Tacos al pastor

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In this recipe, you can find all the flavors that have made Tacos al Pastor gain popularity. And while it is obvious that we don’t have the equipment to make them like taquerias do, it is still possible to pull it off. All it takes is a grill, a few accessories, and you’ll be on your way to delicious taco flavors.

A homemade tacos al pastor recipe made on a weber grill.

Tacos al pastor are the true embodiment of a complete taco. For instance, the sweetness of the pineapple, mixed with the pork flavors, brings a balance and uniqueness that makes it stand out. Also, we cannot forget what the white onions, cilantro, and salsa contribute to the meal. You will definitely be tasting one of the most complete taco flavors.

Tacos al Pastor success

Taquerias are known for serving the best tacos. One of the main pieces of equipment they use are fire pits or, as it is know in Spanish, “el trompo”. But as I have already explained, you don’t need a fire pit to make delicious tacos al pastor. Though it would be amazing to have one, they are not cheap and would take up a lot of storage space. Fortunately, we have found a solution that has worked for us. It’s a very gratifying feeling to be able to make your own tacos at home with just a few tools.

Tacos al Pastor on the grill and ready to serve.

Making Your Own Tortillas

Now, I understand not everyone may have access to tortillas, or at least not homemade. If that’s the case, making your own is the solution. I have a recipe you can use that will enable you to enjoy the freshness of homemade corn tortillas. They will ALWAYS taste better than store-bought. On top of that, you will have the complete Tacos al Pastor experience.

Recipe Video

Below is my easy to follow video tutorial on how to make Tacos al Pastor. It will give you an additional in-depth knowledge and the visuals of the step-by-step process to enhance your understanding. You will also find the video down in the recipe card.

FULL Youtube VIDEO tutorial on how to make tacos al pastor on a “trompo” and grill.

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Tacos al pastor

Recipe by Villa Cocina
4.7 from 17 votes
Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 
Total time

2

hours 

30

minutes

We all know tacos are delicious by nature! And tacos al pastor are true contender. We love the unique cooking process using a spit, but since most of us don’t have one. Im going to be using my grill. Everything works together like a puzzle.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder Boston butt

  • Marinade
  • 5 ea guajillo dried peppers

  • 1 ea ancho dried pepper

  • 1/2 ea cinnamon stick

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 5 ea cloves, whole 

  • 1/2 tsp cumin, whole

  • 1/2 tsp allspice, whole

  • 2 oz achiote paste (annatto)

  • 6 ea garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp Mexican dry oregano 

  • 1 TBSP onion, ground

  • 1 cup pineapple juice, no added sugar

  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil

  • Salt to taste (1 TBSP  kosher salt)

  • Other items needed
  • 1 ea pineapple, whole 

  • 20-25 ea corn tortillas 

  • Oaxaca cheese, grated 

  • Onion, diced 

  • Cilantro, chopped 

  • Lime, juice 

  • Charcoal – for grilling

  • Salsa for tacos
  • 1 lb roma tomatoes

  • 10 oz tomatillos

  • 3 ea garlic cloves, unpeeled 

  • 1/4 ea white onion

  • 2 ea serrano peppers 

  • Salt to taste 

Directions

  • Marinade and trompo set up 
  • Dried Peppers: Remove the seeds, veins and stem from the guajillos and ancho. Toast on a comal over medium to medium-low heat until fragrant and hot to the touch. Turn continuously to avoid burning them. Rinse and cover completely with hot water. Set aside and let them hydrate. 
  • Place a pan or cast iron skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Toast the cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cumin and allspice until fragrant. Transfer into a blender cup. Add in the hydrated peppers and discard the soaking liquid. Also add the garlic, achiote paste, oregano, ground onion, pineapple juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, and salt. Blend into a loose smooth paste. Transfer into a bowl and set aside until needed. 
  • Prep pineapple: Cut the bottom of the pineapple, about one and a half inches in thickness. Cut the top leaf portion and discard. Peel what’s left of the pineapple. Now, cut the top portion, about two inches in thickness. Slightly trim to make it more round, set aside. Quarter the remainder pineapple, cut out the core and slice. Transfer the slices into a container and store in the fridge until needed. 
  • Prep the meat: Trim off any excess fat from the pork. Then, thinly slice the entire piece, about 1/4 of an inch in thickness. 
  • Dip each slice of pork into the marinade to coat. Then, transfer into a container and repeat the process until all the meat is thoroughly coated. Cover and marinade in the fridge overnight. 
  • Assemble the “trompo”: I’ll be using my weber cast iron griddle accessory as a base. Center the base of the al pastor stainless steel skewer (designed for a grill,) over the surface of the griddle. Carefully, insert the unpeeled bottom of the pineapple through the skewer, making sure it’s centered. Pull down until it reaches the bottom. Insert each piece of marinated meat through the skewer, keeping it as centered as possible. Layer upward and leave some space at the top. Trim any hanging meat for an even surface all around. Insert the top; two inches thick, pineapple and secure. Reserve the scraps of meat, and cook on a pan or grill. 
  • Grill time 
  • Fire up the grill: Arrange the charcoal around the sides of the grill, and leave the center empty. Like a doughnut shape. Take advantage of the strongest heat and grill the ingredients for the salsa: tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, and serranos. Once charred and cooked through, remove from the heat and set aside. 
  • El trompo: Place the griddle right in the center of the grill following its Weber instructions. And, place the lid on. Keep the temperature of the grill between 400°F to 350°F.
  • Make the salsa: Blend together the grilled ingredients and salt. But first, remove the peel from the garlic, stem from the onion and serranos. Pulse if needed, for a chunky consistency and pour into a container. Mix in salt if needed. Set aside. 
  • After one hour, check the meat. It should have started to develop a glossy brown color. Cover the grill and continue cooking. After 30 minutes, thinly slice off the darker parts of the surface, cover and allow it to fully cook. It’s going to take about an additional 30 minutes. Making that, 2 hours total. 
  • The al pastor meat is cooked. Grill the pineapple slices until cooked and caramelized. Serve with tacos after the “trompo’s” top pineapple is finished. While the pineapple is grilling, thinly slice off the meat and pineapple from the trompo. Only do the amount needed at a time. Heat the tortillas over the grill, and sprinkle the cheese over it. When it starts to melt, add the hot al pastor meat which will continue to melt it. And, the pineapple slices. Remove the tacos from the grill. Add diced onion, chopped cilantro, salsa and a touch of lime juice. Continue carving and making tacos until all the meat is gone. ENJOY!

Recipe Video

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