September 16th is Día de Independencia in Mexico (Mexico’s Independence Day) and to celebrate the group of bloggers from #SundaySupper decided to feature Mexican dishes. As someone who has another blog entirely dedicated to my favorite Mexican food — Tacos — I was excited to try making something I have always wanted to attempt.
Tacos al Pastor is my go to taco when I am out doing taco reviews on GasStationTacos.com. It’s my test to see if the taqueria is sub par, average or amazing. If you have never enjoyed an al pastor taco, you are in for a treat provided you find a place (or recipe) that is at least average and hopefully amazing.
I’ve had amazing a few times. The most memorable is from this gas station in Dallas, Texas:
They make it on a vertical spit something most home cooks don’t own, myself included. Sadly this recipe isn’t a match for some of the amazing pastor tacos in my history, but that doesn’t mean you should stop reading or ignore this recipe. It just means the recipe here is above average and is a solid choice for homemade al pastor. Granted I’ll probably try some other things next time, like increasing or modifying the chiles used as I prefer a bit more spice.
My wife really liked this recipe and thought the tacos were really good. Note this was her first time having al pastor tacos, because she will not eat at the gas stations or taco trucks I like to frequent. Her loss.
So here is my virgin attempt at al pastor.
You will need to find a Mexican market as you’ll need a coupe things you probably won’t find at the typical grocery store. Achiote paste and dried guajillos chiles are two things I had to find after striking out here in LA at Whole Foods.
Tacos al Pastor
16 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil
2 lbs pork butt, trimmed of some of the outer fat and cut into 1″ “steaks”
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro, diced
4 limes, cut into quarters
2 oranges, juice only
1/2 cup anchiote paste
10 dry guajillos chiles
4 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the marinade by soaking the dried gualjillos chiles in hot water for about 10 minutes. Add the softened chiles to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined. Pour the marinade over the pork butt, cut into 1″ thick “steaks” and refrigerate for about 3 hours.
Heat your grill and add the pork. Cook the pork for about 20 minutes turning halfway through and pounding the pork with some grill tongs. You want to soften the pork and thin it while it is cooking. For the last 5 minutes of grilling add some rounds of pineapple.
While waiting for everything to grill, soften the tortillas by heating some oil in a saute pan on the stove. Quickly add the tortillas for just a second on each side and place on papper towel patting them to remove any excess oil.
Remove the pork and pineapple. Chop the pork and cut the pineapple into small pieces mixing all of it together. In a separate bowl mix the red onion, cilantro, squeeze of lime and salt.
Prepare 3 to 4 tacos per plate and place some pork and pineapple mixture onto each tortilla and top with the onion and cilantro mixture.
Serve with some hot sauce and fresh limes.