4.7 from 45 votes

Tacos al pastor

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Tacos al pastor, which translates to “shepherd’s style tacos,” is a beloved Mexican dish featuring marinated pork cooked on a spit. Served in corn tortillas with sweet caramelized pineapple, creamy Oaxaca cheese, and a sprinkle of cilantro, onion, salsa, and lime juice. All the taco fixings! 

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

What are Tacos Al Pastor

I’m obsessed with tacos al pastor, a staple at every taco stand that stands out from the rest. Every bite reflects deep flavor, which I attribute to the toasting of spices – a crucial step that I never skip, and it makes all the difference. Trust me, it’s a game-changer!

Tacos al Pastor on the grill and ready to serve.

When I think about the acidity in this recipe, I know it’s the key to making this taco truly special. The juice of oranges and pineapple adds a perfect balance of sweetness to the spices and achiote. Each style of taco has its own magic but this one is genuinely unique, and I feel confident saying there’s no other taco like it!

Make Them At Home

Taquerias cook the marinated meat in a fire pit, or “trompo” in Spanish. While it would be incredible to have one at home, they can be pricey and take up a lot of space.

While we may not have the exact same equipment as taquerias, that doesn’t mean we can’t replicate their mouthwatering taste. With just a grill, some simple accessories, and a dash of creativity, you can easily recreate the authentic flavors of Tacos al Pastor.

grill with charcoal
Weber grill with burning charcoal

Homemade Tortillas are Better 

Now, I understand not everyone may have access to corn tortillas, or at least not homemade. If that’s the case, you can make your very own.

I have a recipe you can use; with practice and determination, you’ll be making amazing corn tortillas in no time! They will always taste better than store-bought. On top of that, you’ll elevate your taco game!

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.

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

If you enjoyed the video please SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube channel and don’t forget to click the bell icon so you get a notification every time we post a brand new video. Thank you!

Grill Temperature 

When grilling, temperature control is key! I aim for a sweet spot between 400°F and 350°F, as this heat range yields those cherished charred bits that define Tacos al Pastor. However, it’s crucial to monitor the color during cooking to prevent the exterior from burning before the meat is fully cooked. 

If needed, I trim the charred bits to allow for a second round of browning, relying on intuition to achieve that perfect, crispy, browned exterior. It’s all about finding that balance to ensure the meat is cooked to perfection!

I fired up my trusty Weber Grill, which came with a removable center grate that perfectly accommodated its Cast Iron Griddle Accessory. The perfect fit made for perfect tacos !

To make this recipe, you’ll need a Stainless Steel Skewer for Al Pastor Tacos with a base. Its inexpensive and works like a charm! 

Another trusty equipment I own is my Vitamix Blender. No straining required, makes my life easier.

Tacos al pastor

Recipe by Villa Cocina
4.7 from 45 votes
Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





Tacos al pastor, which translates to “shepherd’s style tacos,” is a beloved Mexican dish featuring marinated pork cooked on a spit.


  • 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder Boston butt

  • Marinade
  • 5 ea guajillo chile, de-seeded, stemmed 

  • 1 ea ancho chile, de-seeded, stemmed 

  • 1/2 ea cinnamon stick, broken

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 5 ea whole cloves

  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin

  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice

  • 6 ea garlic cloves

  • 1 TBSP ground onion

  • 2 oz achiote paste

  • 1 tsp Mexican dry oregano 

  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 cup pineapple juice, no added sugar

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil

  • Salt to taste (1 TBSP  kosher salt)

  • Other items needed
  • 1 ea pineapple

  • 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

  • 1/4 ea white onion

  • 2 ea serrano peppers 

  • 3 ea garlic cloves, unpeeled 

  • Salt to taste 


  • Marinade
  • Toast both sides of the guajillo and ancho chilis on a comal or cast iron skillet over medium heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Rinse, then cover completely with hot water and soak until soft and pliable. 
  • Toast the cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cumin, and allspice until fragrant. Transfer them to a blender cup. Add the hydrated peppers (discarding the soaking liquid), garlic, achiote paste, oregano, ground onion, pineapple juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, and salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set aside until needed.
  • Prep the Pineapple  
  • Prepare the pineapple by cutting off the bottom, about 1.5 inches thick. Remove the leaves and discard. Peel the remaining pineapple, then cut off the top portion, about 2 inches thick, trim for a rounder shape, and set aside. Quarter the remaining pineapple, remove the core, and slice. 
  • Prep the Pork
  • Trim excess fat from the pork, then slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.  
  • Coat each pork slice in the marinade, then place in a non-reactive container. Repeat the process until all meat is thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • Trompo Time
  • Position the al pastor stainless steel skewer over the Weber cast iron griddle, ensuring it’s centered. Insert the unpeeled pineapple bottom through the skewer and pull it down until it reaches the bottom. 
  • Insert the marinated meat, one piece at a time, keeping it centered and layered upward, leaving space at the top. Top with the 2-inch peeled pineapple piece and secure. Trim excess meat for an even surface. Reserve the scraps and cook on a pan. 
  • Grill
  • Fire up the grill and roast the salsa ingredients – tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, and serranos – over the grates until charred and cooked through. Then, remove them from the heat and set aside.
  • Wait for the grill to reach a temperature of 400°F to 350°F and maintain it within this range. Note that a lower temperature will result in less browning. Position the griddle in the center of the grill, following the Weber instructions. Cover and cook for one hour. 
  • Make the Salsa
  • Blend the roasted ingredients with salt to taste. Before blending, remove the peel from the garlic, stem from the onion, and stem from the serranos. Pulse the mixture for a chunky consistency, then pour into a container. Adjust the salt if needed. Set aside. 
  • Check the Meat
  • After one hour, check the meat to ensure it’s not browning too quickly. It should have a glossy brown color. If it’s browning too fast, adjust the temperature to slow it down. 
  • Close the grill and continue cooking. After 30 minutes, trim off any charred bits if necessary to allow a second crispy layer to develop. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. The total cooking time should be around 2 hours.
  • When the meat is almost done, place the pineapple slices on the surrounding grates and grill until they’re tender and caramelized. 
  • Make Tacos
  • Once the meat is cooked, thinly slice the meat and pineapple on top of the trompo. Heat the tortillas over the grill, sprinkle cheese over them, and cook until the cheese starts to melt. Add the hot al pastor meat and pineapple slices. 
  • Remove the tacos from the grill and garnish with diced onion, chopped cilantro, a spoonful of salsa, and a squeeze of lime juice. Continue carving the meat and assembling tacos until all the meat is gone.


Recipe Video

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