Tacos Al Pastor
The BEST Tacos Al Pastor you will ever eat and SO EASY! They are exploding with restaurant-style flavor made with thinly sliced chile pineapple marinated pork, grilled to perfection and served with caramelized pineapple.
Servings 6 -8 people
- 3 -3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder sliced 1/4” inch thick (see note)***
- 1 ripe pineapple peeled and sliced into 1/2” thick rings
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add guajillo chiles and toast until blistered in spots and fragrant, turning occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer peppers to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, cut tops off chiles, cut in half and remove seeds, taking care not to touch your eyes.
Add chiles back to skillet and cover with water. Simmer 3-5 minutes until softened. Remove softened chilies to blender along with all Marinade ingredients and blend until smooth.
Add pork to a shallow dish or freezer size bag. Add marinade and stir to combine so every piece is evenly coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 -24 hours.
Grease grill or grill pan and heat to high heat. Add pineapple and grill until lightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and chop once cool enough to handle, discarding center rind.
Grease grill once again and heat to high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add to grill (you might need to work in batches). Grill over high heat until lightly charred and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before chopping into bite size pieces.
Serve Al Pastor in warm tortillas with chopped pineapple and favorite toppings such as pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, lime etc.
Don't miss the "how to make" recipe video at the top of the post!
- Boneless Pork Shoulder. I purchase my boneless pork shoulder at Costco. It can come in up to 10 lb quantities, which is perfect to slice into thirds and freeze the other two parts for later use such as my Pork Carnitas or Chipotle Sweet Pulled Pork.
- ***Cut pork. I recommend cutting your pork into more manageable sections for slicing later – about 8 smaller pieces, otherwise you are trying to slice thin pieces off of meat that is much longer than your knife.
- Freeze pork. Freezing any type of meat before trying to slice it thinly is a life saver otherwise your meat is moving all over the place and it is difficult to slice evenly. After you chop your pork into smaller sections, add it to a freezer size bag and freeze for 3-4 hours so it is hard enough that it holds its shape when you slice it, but soft enough that it will still slice. I recommend only removing one section of pork at a time from the freezer and slicing it otherwise the rest will start to defrost while they wait their turn.
- Slice pork. I try and slice my pork on the wide side of the section vs the thin side so there is more surface area on the grill (AKA go for fat thin slices vs. long thin slices).
- CANNED Pineapple Juice. Please use only CANNED pineapple juice! Canned pineapple juice will infuse your pork with flavor without leaving it mushy if it’s not marinated too long. Fresh pineapple juice still contains enzymes that could break down your pork and more likely to leave it mushy in a short amount of time.
- Where do I find Guajillo chiles? If you’ve never purchased or cooked with Guajillo chiles, before, don’t be intimidated! For our purposes we are going got use dried Guajillo chiles. Dried Guajillo chiles can be found at any Mexican market as well as many grocery stores (and almost all super Walmarts) in either the Mexican aisle or produce section. Many produce stores such as Sprouts and Whole Foods also carry packages of dried Guajillo chiles. If you can't find them or simply want a one-click option, then you can Amazon-it.
- Handle Guajillo chiles with care. After you remove the seeds from your dried Guajillo chiles, immediately wash your hands. Take care not to touch your eyes while you are working with them! (more on Guajillo chilies below).
- What is Achiote Paste? This spice paste is made from the annato seed that gives the Al Pastor its traditional bright red-orange color as well as oregano, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic and salt. It is slightly sweet, peppery, nutty and smoky. You can find it in any Mexican market or you can Amazon-it.
- Achiote Paste Substitute: (will not provide the authentic red color). And yes, add these seasonings in ADDITION to the ones listed in the recipe if you are not using achiote paste.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- Your marinade will taste spicy. If you taste the marinade it will taste quite spicy and you might be worried your al pastor will be too spicy as well – but don’t worry! The pork does not absorb all of the heat. It emerges. tangy, sweet and smoky but not spicy!'
Can I Make Al Pastor If I Don’t Have A Grill?
Yes! You can cook Al Pastor using an indoor grill pan with great success or a heavy duty skillet. Take care you line the pork in the pan in a single layer so it sears and doesn’t steam. Just note, it will take longer to cook you Al Pastor with this method because you will need to cook in several batches.