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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tacos al Pastor (Mexican Shepherd-Style Tacos)

Another recipe that's been sitting in my queue for nearly a year. Except, it had been so long and I don't write down measurements that I completely forgot what proportions and ingredients I used. So of course, I had to make it again and write it down this time.

Tacos al Pastor 1

According to Wikipedia, tacos al pastor (Mexican shepherd-style tacos) was created in Puebla, Mexico, likely influenced by Lebanese immigrants who roasted meat for shawarmas on spit-grills. A slice of pineapple was placed on top of the meats so the juices could drip down while it roasted. The meat is then sliced off like doner kebabs.

While some recipes for the marinade included several varieties of chili peppers, soaked, and then strained, I preferred using canned chipotle for ease. The marinade also included orange juice for sweetness. You can make achiote oil for color but I found using red wine vinegar and the chipotle sauce was just fine. I obviously don't have a spit-grill so I roasted the meat in the oven with slices of pineapple on top. Then either slice or shred the meat and serve with tortillas, Salsa Fresca, and cilantro.

 A close-up. The second time around, I used flour tortillas and added some shredded cheese.

Tacos al Pastor 2

Tacos al Pastor (Mexican Shepherd-Style Tacos) 

You'll need:
1/2 lb pork butt or shoulder, cut into 2-inch wide strips for faster cooking
4-oz or half a can of chipotle peppers including sauce, mash peppers
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of small lime, or 1 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced (Save other half for topping tacos.)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
Pineapple for placing over pork while roasting

For topping tacos:
1/2 onion, diced
cilantro, chopped
Salsa Fresca

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash pork and slice into 2-inch strips for faster cooking. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix 4-oz or half a can of chipotle peppers including sauce, mash the peppers, juice of 1 orange, juice of small lime, or 1 tblsp red wine vinegar if you don't have it on hand, 1 tsp salt, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 diced onion (Save the other half of the onion for topping tacos.), 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cumin, and pineapple for placing over pork while roasting.

For the pineapple, I simply save the trimmings from cutting out the eyes so nothing is wasted. Taste the marinade and adjust seasonings if necessary. Slather the marinade all over the pork. Top with pineapple trimmings.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool and shred or slice the meat. Serve with tortillas and diced onions, salsa fresca, cilantro, or shredded cheese.

Tacos al Pastor 3


My other Mexican recipes:  
Carne Asada (Mexican Grilled Meat)
Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)
Mango Salsa
Nachos, Texas-Style
Salsa Fresca
Squash Blossom Quesadilla
Sweet Corn Tomalito

1 year ago today, the first appearance of geraniums in flowerpots.


  1. I finally had Tacos el pastor a couple of weeks ago and I relate with this post...rock n roll!

  2. Peter,
    They're great, aren't they?


  3. YUM!!! I WANT!!! al pastor is not as good as LENGUA though. please make some again soon (sometime when i am home)

  4. Tania,
    I'll make carne asada. It's better. Make me another cheesecake please! I only got a tiny slice.


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