Meaning “shepherd-style” in Spanish, al pastor is a spit-roasted pork dish from Northern Mexico. It was inspired by shawarma cooking which was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the 1960′s. You know shawarma, like gyros, where they pack a bunch of marinated lamb meat on a huge sharp rod and roast it all day, slicing off paper-thin slices as needed? Right. It’s wicked delicious.
But in Mexico, lamb became pork, and chiles and pineapple sneaked in to the marinade. I can say with certainty I have never had a BAD al pastor taco; only good and amazing. Clearly, if they are that pleasing, we all need to know how to replicate al pastor tacos at home. Seriously lacking a huge rotisserie and a fire-place big enough to roast 50 pounds of meat at a time, I adapted the recipe for regular people in regular kitchens. Son of a gun, give me some onion and cilantro and I could eat this every day.
- 1.5 – 3 pound pork roast
- 3 guajillo chiles
- 1 ancho chile
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, oregano, black pepper, salt
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon achiote (annatto) powder
- For Serving:
- Corn tortillas
- Fresh cilantro, diced onion
- Pineapple spears or chunks
- Rehydrate the peppers by soaking in very hot water for 20 minutes. Discard stems and seeds. Put the peppers in a blender with everything but the pork. Whizz it until it’s smooth.
- Pour over your pork roast and cook it one of three ways:
- Grill: slice the meat thinly, marinate up to 4 hours and grill it with fresh pineapple spears over a hot fire.
- Crock pot: put the whole roast and marinade in there and cook on low for 8 hours until it’s falling apart. Add some pineapple chunks in the last hour.
- Bake: marinate whole roast up to 24 hours and roast at 350 degrees F, covered, until tender (2-4 hours depending on size). Shred it, add pineapple chunks and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes to crispy it up.
The LEARN TO COOK Book is Here!
By popular demand, Learn to Cook is now available in print! Over 300 pages of knowledge between two soft covers.
Learn To Cook is designed to get you cooking for yourself like a civilized human being! Drawing from a lifetime of cooking and over two years experience making instructional cooking videos, author Hilah Johnson has produced a beginners’ cookbook for today’s young adults. The casual, straightforward style will appeal to anyone with a sense of humor and the focus on fresh, simple recipes will appeal to anyone who loves to eat. The book includes chapters on menu planning, knife skills, grocery shopping and more, plus a comprehensive spice chart and over 150 recipes from breakfast to dinner to snacks in between.