Tacos Al Pastor

You’ll find al pastor on the menu at all your favorite taco places for a reason! It’s a simple taco, but there’s a lot of flavor in the meat. A little bit of ham and a little bit of pineapple, it’s a great combination. Although we don’t cook our food on a spit like you see throughout Mexico, we still bring the flavor to your home kitchen with options to cook it on a skillet on the stove, or outside on the grill.

Make it a complete restaurant-style meal with sides of Mexican rice and black beans.

Why did you describe us?

  • An easy marinade made in a blender that’s packed with intense flavor.
  • It cooks super quickly in a pan on the stove or on the grill for more flavor.
  • A simple serving of just tortillas, onions, cilantro and lime juice with delicious ham and pineapple.

3 al pastor tacos on a plate surrounded by lemon slices and grilled pineapple.

Thin slices of pork are marinated in pineapple salsa and then grilled to perfection for the perfect street taco you can make at home. Al pastor is believed to have originated in the early 1900s when Lebanese immigrants introduced the concept of barbecue meat to Mexico. Immigrants used a traditional Middle Eastern method of marinating meat in spices and cooking them on a spit, and adapted it to use pork instead of lamb or mutton. So Al Pastor is an interesting fusion of the Middle East and Mexico.

Ingredient notes

An overhead view of the ingredients needed to make our tacos al pastor recipe.
  • pork: Use either pork loin or pork roast/shoulder. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
  • pineapple: Fresh pineapple is the absolute best choice for this recipe. Canned pineapple works well in marinade, but it is not cooked in the same way as marinade.
  • Onion: Use white or yellow.
  • Chipotle in adobo: They are sold in cans along with other canned peppers such as jalapenos and green peppers.
  • Mexican oregano: It’s often available in the Latin section of your grocery store and has a distinct flavor, but can be left out if you don’t have access to it.
  • Tortilla: Corn is the traditional choice, but you can also use flour. We like to use street taco size.
  • Class: Let the meat and pineapple shine on this and keep the toppings limited to red onion and cilantro.

Pork options: loin or shoulder

When it comes to preparing al pastor, the type of meat you use can have a big impact on the flavor and texture of the dish. Traditionally, al pastor is made with pork, and there are several different cuts of pork that can be used to make it. We recommend using pork loin or pork shoulder.

Pork loin: Pork loin is a tender and tender cut of meat that comes from the back of the pig. This is your lean or cartilage-free option. It cooks super quickly, but without the fat and marbling, it can dry out quickly.

Pork shoulder: Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston pork butt, is a tougher, fattier cut of meat that comes from the front of the pig. It has all that fat and marbling running through it which gives it more flavor and keeps the meat juicy.

A collage of four different parts of the process of making tacos al pastor, including pork chops, marinade ingredients before mixing, marinating the pork, and roasting pork.

Grill or frying pan

Grilling the al pastor gives it more of that authentic, traditional flavor, but it’s not required. Not everyone has a grill, and we’ve all run out of propane at some point and had to scramble. When using a skillet, you should use a heavy nonstick or cast iron option for best results.

Adjust the temperature level

This recipe uses chipotle in adobo which you buy in a can. The Chipotles are smoked jalapenos, so there’s definitely some spice in there. Even one goes a long way! You can control the amount of heat in the marinade by adding more or less chipotle pepper. As written, this recipe has a medium heat level, leaning toward mild.

Close-up view of al pastor taco on a plate surrounded by lemon slices and grilled pineapple.

Instead of tacos…

Al pastor is commonly served in tacos, but there are many other creative ways to enjoy it. Here are some ministry suggestions for the pastor:

  • Pastor’s authority: For a lighter option, try serving the al pastor meat over a bed of mixed vegetables. Top the salad with sliced ​​avocado, cherry tomatoes, corn, black beans and a drizzle of your favorite dressing.
  • Burrito Pastor: For a healthier meal, try wrapping al pastor meat in a large flour tortilla with refried beans, cheese, and your choice of toppings.
  • Al Pastor Nachos: For a fun party snack, layer tortilla chips with al pastor meat, cheese, and your favorite nacho toppings. Bake until the cheese melts and bubbles, then serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.
  • Al Pastor Quesadillas: For a quick and easy meal, try making a quesadilla with al pastor ham and cheese. Simply place the meat and cheese on a flour tortilla, top with another tortilla, and cook in a skillet until the cheese melts and the tortilla is crispy.

Storage and reheating instructions

Fridge Store leftover meat in an airtight container for up to 3 days. All toppings should be stored separately.

Reheating Coarsely chopped onions in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is heated through and slightly crispy on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the pasteur slices on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven at 350°F until heated through. Avoid reheating meat in the microwave, as this may make it tough and rubbery.

More Mexican favorites

Leave a Comment