Tacos al Pastor (also Tacos de Trompo)

tacos al pastor from the restaurant
It is said, that the Tacos al Pastor were derived from the arab taco, a recipe inspired to Mexicans by middle-eastern migrants to Puebla city. With the usual creativity that Mexicans have shown with many foreign culinary traditions, taquerías orientales were opened, and from this the classic "Tacos al Pastor" recipe was created. The pork used in this recipe is cooked stacked on a stick as is the case for the Middle-East classics such as shawarma or shish-taouk. In the pure Mexican fashion, local ingredients were tried until the perfect combination (to mexican tastes) was found, here is this authentic mexican recipe.

Now the problem in reproducing the original mexican taste while making these tacos at home is that, of course, not everybody has a vertical rotisserie spit lying around in their kitchens... Because of the slow-roasting nature of the cooking process of the pork in this specialty, to approximate the authentic taste we need to marinate it for a period of time, and then grill the marinated meat, preferably over a barbecue.

| Yield: 4 servings | Preparation: | Cooking: | Total time: | | by:

Tacos al Pastor
My homemade interpretation of Tacos al Pastor!

marinating pork for tacos al pastor
Making the meat marinate in the achiote sauce with chunks
of pineapple

How to make Tacos al Pastor at home


* 20 corn tortillas,
* 2 pounds pork loin meat,
* 1 pineapple, chopped to big chunks,
* Optional: Salsa Taquera

For the achiote marinade:
* 8 chilies guajillos,
* 2 ancho chiles,
* vinegar,
* medium sized onion,
* 2 cloves of garlic,
* 1 pack achiote paste or powder
* 1 cup pineapple juice,
* salt to taste,
* fresh parsley, fresh cilantro and finely chopped onions and these ingredients will be sprinkled over the finished tacos,

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Making the achiote marinade: set the clean chilis to cook in just enough water to cover them, pull out the chilis when they are tender, take out their seeds and the veins. Use a food processor to liquefy the chilies with the water we used to cook them, one cup vinegar, the achiote paste, one onion, the garlic cloves,  add the pineapple juice and the salt, and blend to mix; we will now marinate our meat using this marinade.

Step 2: Cut the meat in thin steaks, then place them on skewers alternating the meat with pineapple pieces. Once ready, place the pineapple and meat skewers in an oven-going pan to marinate , covered in the achiote marinade we did in Step 1. Let the meat marinate for two hours or more if you can. Preheat your oven to 200ºF (or 100ºC). Cook the meat in that pan with its marinade in the oven, for about one to one hour and half; the time will vary depending how thick your pieces of meat are; cook in the oven until the meat is well done but still tender. 

Step 3: Once finished cooking the meat, we will start putting our Tacos al Pastor together. First remove the pineapple pieces and the pork meat in a bowl and chop both ingredients together down coarsely, including some marinade. Prepare a very finely chopped onion, finely chopped cilantro and parsley, which you will mix all together in a separate bowl.

Step 4: Make the tacos over very warm tortillas, you can use 2 tortillas per taco for more solidity, put the sliced meat and pineapple mixture down first, then put some onion-cilantro-parsley mixture over; add hot taco sauce "salsa taquera" over if you chose to use it.

Serve to your happy guests!

More ideas for making Tacos al Pastor: To cook the meat in a way that is closer to the original  mexican recipe, the meat can be parboiled in a casserole, then pile the thin meat slices on 2-3 sticks, with pineapple slices in between; a thick pineapple slice and half an onion on the topmost layer.  Use white vinegar to brush the meat and keep it wet while grilling it on a barbecue grill while constantly turning it so the meat on the sticks won't burn.

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