Tacos al Pastor

This supersmart hack of the classic Mexican recipe gives you all the flavor without all the fuss. Rather than marinating pork shoulder for days and then spit-roasting, you marinate it overnight, then grill for less than five minutes.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Time(Other): plus overnight marinating
KEY: Grilling/Barbecuing, Barbecue/Cookout, Father's Day, Game Day, Mexican, Staff Favorites, Dinner

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  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 guajillo chiles—stemmed, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • Sea salt
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 medium pineapple, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • Warm corn tortillas, chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the oregano, cumin, pepper and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chiles and cook, stirring, until blistered in spots, about 30 seconds. Add the pineapple juice, vinegar and achiote paste and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chile mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt. Scrape the marinade into a large, sturdy plastic bag. Add the pork and turn to coat. Set the bag in a small baking dish and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the pineapple and onion with oil. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a carving board and tent with foil.
  4. Remove the pork from the marinade. Grill over high heat until lightly charred and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Cut the pineapple, onion and pork into thin strips and transfer to a bowl. Season with salt. Serve with corn tortillas, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Suggested Pairing

Sweet, tangy pineapple is tough to pair with wine, so have these tasty tacos with crisp, lightly malty beer, like an amber ale.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published March 2015

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