How to Make Homemade Tacos Al Pastor

Homemade Tacos Al Pastor.
Homemade Tacos Al Pastor. | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: Serves six to eight people three to four tacos

Cook Time Short Cuts!

I have provided a number of easy ways to cut the prep-time down by almost an hour without making a major taste sacrifice. Click here.

Note on Cook Time:

Cooking Tacos Al Pastor in the traditional way is a two-step process:

  1. Preparation of the Achiote Marinade, which takes 45 minutes to an hour, followed by at least 2 1/2 hours of marinade time in the refrigerator (I like to let it sit over night).
  2. Grilling the pork shoulder steaks and preparing the pineapple relish, which also takes 45 minutes to an hour, followed by actually assembling the tacos.

Ingredients for the achiote marinade.
Ingredients for the achiote marinade. | Source
Ingredients for the specialized tacos al pastor pineapple relish.
Ingredients for the specialized tacos al pastor pineapple relish. | Source

Complete Ingredients for Tacos Al Pastor:

  • 12 Guajillo Chili Peppers, deveined
  • 2 Oranges, fresh juice only
  • 6-7 Limes, fresh juice only
  • 2 cups White Onion, diced fine
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano Leaves
  • 1/3 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 oz. Ground Achiote (Anatolle), found in hispanic section or at a hispanic grocer
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro, fresh
  • 1/2 Pineapple, fresh (canned works, too)
  • 32-36 Corn Tortillas
  • 6-12 oz. Salsa Taquera, any red-chili-based salsa will do
Click thumbnail to view full-size
De-vein the 12 guajillo chiles, and soak them in water for 25 minutes.Juice 2 oranges and a lime.Dice 1 cup of white onion.Mince three cloves of garlic.Combine 12 guajillo chiles, 1 cup of onion, 2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, orange & lime juice and blend them.Add 2 oz. ground achiote & 1 tsp. black pepper; blend it again.Slice pork roast into steaks about 1/2 inch thick.Add the marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours.
De-vein the 12 guajillo chiles, and soak them in water for 25 minutes.
De-vein the 12 guajillo chiles, and soak them in water for 25 minutes.
Juice 2 oranges and a lime.
Juice 2 oranges and a lime.
Dice 1 cup of white onion.
Dice 1 cup of white onion.
Mince three cloves of garlic.
Mince three cloves of garlic.
Combine 12 guajillo chiles, 1 cup of onion, 2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, orange & lime juice and blend them.
Combine 12 guajillo chiles, 1 cup of onion, 2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, orange & lime juice and blend them.
Add 2 oz. ground achiote & 1 tsp. black pepper; blend it again.
Add 2 oz. ground achiote & 1 tsp. black pepper; blend it again.
Slice pork roast into steaks about 1/2 inch thick.
Slice pork roast into steaks about 1/2 inch thick.
Add the marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours.
Add the marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours.

Time Saving Suggestions:

  • Use Pineapple Juice Instead of Fresh Orange/Lime Juice (Time Savings--10 minutes): Instead of using fresh orange and lime juice, use the juice that comes in a canned pineapple. This still makes for a great flavoring and takes far less work!
  • Use Pork Chops Instead of Pork Roast (Time Savings--5 to 8 minutes): Pork chops can generally just be rinsed and thrown right in with no need to cut or prepare them.
  • Use a Crock-pot Instead of Grilling (Time Savings--30 to 45 minutes): After letting the meat marinade, it is quite simple to just throw it all in the crock pot in the morning so it's ready when you come home. The flavor is very similar, losing only the unique tang that grilling gives to meat.
  • Use Canned Pineapple Instead of Fresh (Time Savings--5 to 10 minutes): Instead of fresh pineapple, you can used canned which saves a good deal of time, losing, once again, only the flavor added by grilling. This makes the pineapple relish come together very quickly.
  • Use Jarred Garlic Instead of Fresh (Time Savings--5 to 8 minutes): This garlic goes right in with no prep time needed, saving a touch of time that could be helpful in today's hectic world.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chop 1/2 bunch cilantro.Dice 1 cup onion very fine.Slice 1/2 fresh pineapple into 1/2 inch slices.Grill pineapple & marinated pork steaks.Dice pork steaks into small pieces.Dice fresh grilled pineapple.Combine fresh grilled pineapple, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 cup onion, 2 to 6 limes (juiced), and salt to taste.Grill corn tortillas.Prepare Tacos Al Pastor:  Meat, Pineapple Relish, & Salsa TaqueraEnjoy your Tacos al Pastor!
Chop 1/2 bunch cilantro.
Chop 1/2 bunch cilantro.
Dice 1 cup onion very fine.
Dice 1 cup onion very fine.
Slice 1/2 fresh pineapple into 1/2 inch slices.
Slice 1/2 fresh pineapple into 1/2 inch slices.
Grill pineapple & marinated pork steaks.
Grill pineapple & marinated pork steaks.
Dice pork steaks into small pieces.
Dice pork steaks into small pieces.
Dice fresh grilled pineapple.
Dice fresh grilled pineapple.
Combine fresh grilled pineapple, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 cup onion, 2 to 6 limes (juiced), and salt to taste.
Combine fresh grilled pineapple, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 cup onion, 2 to 6 limes (juiced), and salt to taste.
Grill corn tortillas.
Grill corn tortillas.
Prepare Tacos Al Pastor:  Meat, Pineapple Relish, & Salsa Taquera
Prepare Tacos Al Pastor: Meat, Pineapple Relish, & Salsa Taquera
Enjoy your Tacos al Pastor!
Enjoy your Tacos al Pastor!

Instructions with Time Stamps for Easy Video Reference

  1. Introduction (0:17):
  2. In-Video Ingredients List for Achiote Marinade (1:28):
  3. De-vein & Soak 12 Guajillo Chiles (1:48): ...slice the tops off of the chiles and then cut them down the side, pull them apart and remove the seeds. Once de-veined, soak them in water for about 25 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  4. Juice 2 Oranges & 1 Lime (2:47): ...combine the juice and set it aside (pineapple juice from canned pineapple can be substituted to save time).
  5. Dice 1 Cup White Onion (3:34): ...dice the onion fairly fine and set aside.
  6. Mince 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic (3:45): ...cut very small as garlic is a strong flavor (jarred garlic can be substituted to save time.)
  7. Blend Together 12 Softened Guajillo Chiles, Orange & Lime Juice, 1 Cup White Onion, 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, 2 tsp. Salt, 1 Tbsp. Cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp. Oregano Leaves, and 1/3 Cup White Vinegar (4:24): ...use a standard electric kitchen blender.
  8. Blend in 1 tsp. Black Pepper & 2 oz. Dried Achiote (5:40): ...add to the blender and mix.
  9. Slice Pork Shoulder Roast into 1/2 Inch Thick Steaks (6:04): ...slicing roast into steaks allows the marinade to permeate the meat, making for rich flavor (pork butt roast also works well).
  10. Add Marinade to Meat & Refrigerate for 2 1/2 Hours, Minimum (6:52): ...I like to let this sit over night.
  11. In-Video Ingredients for Pineapple Relish (7:16): ...start the grill as you begin to prepare the Tacos Al Pastor relish.
  12. Chop 1/2 Bundle of Cilantro (7:29): ...chop as finely as possible.
  13. Dice 1 Cup White Onion (7:54): ...chop as finely as possible. Leaving the onion attached at the stem allows for much finer chopping (see video).
  14. Slice 1/2 Pineapple into 1/2-inch Discs (10:07): ...slicing the pineapple in this away allows for easy grilling (canned pineapple can be used here, eliminating the need for chopping and grilling).
  15. Grill Pineapple & Marinated Shoulder Steaks (10:40): ...grill the pineapple until it is golden brown in some places--black charring interferes with the flavor. Steaks cook for about 10 minutes (alternatively, the meat can go into the crock pot all day, saving lots of time and sacrificing only the "grilled" nature of the taste).
  16. Dice Cooked Steaks into Small Pieces (11:57): ...the smaller the better as these go directly into the tacos.
  17. Remove Skin from Pineapple and Chop Fine (13:07): ...the finer the better as this will be added to the pineapple relish.
  18. Mix Together 1 Cup Onion, Cilantro and Grilled Pineapple with the Juice of Two to Five Limes (13:48): ...the addition of limes helps to move the taste from sweet to tart. Add salt to taste at the end!
  19. Prepare Tortillas by Grilling on Comal or Frying Pan (14:13): ...traditionally, the tortillas are prepared by frying them, but I prefer grilling as it is much healthier. Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature and use it to keep the tortillas warm while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  20. Assemble your Tacos Al Pastor (16:21): ...place a layer of meat down, top it with the pineapple relish, then finish it off with a line of your chosen salsa taquera.
  21. Enjoy your Tacos Al Pastor! (18:27): ...this is the closing comments of the video.
  22. Closing Credits (18:48): ...thanks for spending time with me!

Que piensas?

5 stars from 3 ratings of Homemade Tacos Al Pastor

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Comments 26 comments

alliemacb profile image

alliemacb 4 years ago from Scotland

This recipe looks wonderful. I love Mexican food but where I live there are no restaurants specialising in this type of cuisine so I have to make it myself. I'd never heard of Tacos Al Pastor but will be testing this out on my family soon. Voted up and awesome.


Nare Anthony profile image

Nare Anthony 4 years ago

This is simply excellent! I am speechless, don't know what to say!


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Allie,

I'd not thought about how this sort of recipe would be useful to those who live in places where Mexican food really doesn't exist outside of one's own table. I've always lived in places where it was very prevalent, so I guess I was sort of taking it for granted. I'm happy you're interested in trying it and, especially if you are a fan of sweet meats and salsas, I think you'll be very pleased.

Thanks for reading so regularly--it means a great deal!

Happy Hubbing,

wayseeker


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Nare,

Thanks so very much. This particular hub was an especially huge amount of work, so that's awesome to hear.

Happy writing,

wayseeker


ElizaDoole profile image

ElizaDoole 4 years ago from London

Well done wayseeker. You are a talented writer keep going :) I enjoyed this hub very much.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

This should be the next hub of the day! This is awesome. The photos are colorful and the instructions are on point, plus the it looks delicious!

One question: Does the soaking of the chillies help reduce the spiciness?


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Eliza,

Thanks for stopping in. Best of luck making deadline...I've got one more to produce, too. One more late night, and then I can take a day off (no more than a day, though).

Take care,

wayseeker


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Cardisa,

Thanks so much for the positive feedback. While is was challenging to create, I did enjoy it along the way.

As for soaking the chilies in water, guajillo peppers are not actually all that spicy to begin with. I don't honestly know if soaking them reduces their heat (though I know that de-veining them and removing the seeds does). In this recipe, there really is no noticeable heat in the meat spicing of the meat--just flavor. The spiciness here comes from the salsa added at the end, and this varies a great deal, so the spiciness is easy to control.

Thanks so much for spending a little time here!

wayseeker


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

This sounds fabulous, wayseeker. And we have all the ingredients here, too. woo hoo! I love your authentic Mexican recipes.


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Vespawoolf,

It's a very fresh and sweet taste that is quite unique. Thanks for stopping in to take a look, and I hope you enjoy it!

wayseeker


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

Absolutely fantastic! What a wonderful recipe and your presentation is top notch. I'm definitely going to share this hub and give your recipe a try. I liked your pineapple relish. I've also had a wonderful variation with mango and avocado. Simply delicious.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I spent a few days in Mexico visiting my son. We were not in the usual tourist locations. We ate in little cantinas near bus stations. The specials were often, Tacos Al Pastor, 10 for 35 pesos. Add a Negra Modelo and lunch was under $5. The food was great! I'll never go to Taco Bell again.


Turtlewoman profile image

Turtlewoman 4 years ago from California

Oh delicious...simply irresistible! It's nice to have a culinary expert right on my iPad. I love all the detailed shortcut and alternative tips. Thanks! Great job, Bert!


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

MissOlive,

Thanks for stopping in to read. The mango avocado variation sounds quite delicious. I may have to give that one a try, too.

wayseeker


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Bankscottage,

Tacos in those cantinas is something uniquely special. Unfortunately, we can't replicate that experience at home, but this is close. Thanks for taking the time to read!

wayseeker


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Turtle,

I don't know about being a culinary expert, but I sure love these tacos. Thanks for the support, and I'm glad you found it useful.

Bert


HawaiiHeart profile image

HawaiiHeart 4 years ago from Hawaii

Mexican food is my absolute favorite. This sure looks delicious!


KrisL profile image

KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

This looks fantastic!

I don't eat pork ... might dark meat turkey work do you think?


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Ohmygooooodness! This looks amazing. Great video!!! Voted beautiful and awesome.


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

HawaiiHeart,

It's a wonderful dish. Thanks for taking the time to read!

wayseeker


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

KrisL,

If you eat beef, I expect that would come closer to the texture. That said, I don't know that it really matters what kind of meat you use. I think dark meat turkey is a marvelous idea! Thanks so much for stopping in.

wayseeker


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

theclevercat,

I'm pleased that you like it! It's a unique and flavorful dish. Sincere thanks for the votes and taking the time to watch.

wayseeker


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Awesome recipe. Fantastic presentation. My family loves tacos, we need to give this one a try.


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 4 years ago from Colorado Author

Teresa,

Tacos are one of my very favorite meals on the planet. This particular recipe is very different from the kind of tacos I ate most of the time growing up. The sweet pineapple adds a very unique twist to the taco experience! I hope you enjoy it, and thanks so much for giving it a try.

wayseeker


sccanseco 3 years ago

This recipe looks amazing! Must try it. Including the video time stamps is very thoughtful and much appreciated. Voted up and awesome!


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 3 years ago from Colorado Author

Sccanseco,

The flavor is unique and wonderfully fresh. I hope that the video proves useful, and thanks for stopping in!

wayseeker

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