I have a secret to confess: my name is Carlos and I’m a Mexican pork recipes addict. Specifically, my drug of choice has been authentic tacos al pastor ever since I first moved to Mexico, and I don’t see any end in sight to my obsession with these flavorful authentic Mexican pork taco recipes: they are simply too good to deny.
If you’ve never made tacos al pastor before, be forewarned: you may fall prey to a similar fate. After all, Mexican pork recipes are to Mexicans as beef recipes are to Americans: they’re an essential cornerstone of the cuisine, and it’s not secret why: they taste amazing, and these tacos al pastor–or “tacos de trompo” if you’re in Northern Mexico–are the flagship of Mexico’s pork recipes.
This recipe for authentic tacos al pastor is one of the most popular taco recipes in Mexico. If you’re in a busy Mexican city and on a street where food is being served, you can bet the farm that tacos al pastor are being served somewhere in there, and it’s probably the place with the sign you can’t see because it’s being blocked by the huge crowd of people standing around it, devouring their Mexican dinners and consuming pork taco after taco. So today, I’m going to deliver this authentic pastor recipe, the pride of Mexican taco cuisine, so that you may join in the millions of people from around the world who visit Mexico and sink their teeth into their first Mexican taco al pastor, and experience one of the best taco recipes in the world, in the eyes of many. Pastor tacos are famous for their specific blend of flavors that combine sweet pineapple with a spicy chili marination of the meat and the tart of lime and cilantro and a few other ingredients. Combining ingredients for tacos like this only ever results in something irresistible!
Normally, the pork for tacos al pastor is grilled just like shawarma: on a rotating spit like you see above, with a giant hunk of meat that you simply slice off pieces of to serve in the tacos. But, as I’m guessing most of you at home don’t have a spare upright rotisserie/trompo lying around the kitchen, I’m going to adapt the recipe a bit so you can make your own homemade version of these marinated Mexican pork tacos without compromising the essence of this recipe. Here we go:
Preparation Time: 3 hours minimum
Cook Time: ~80 minutes
Ingredients for tacos al Pastor (serves 4 people):
16 tortillas de maiz (corn tortillas)
800g (1.5 lbs) pork (the butt for best results, but any part of the pig can work if you have a different cut)
1/2 pineapple (normal size)
1 white onion (large)
20 branches of cilantro
For the axiote marinade:
juice of 2 oranges
300g ground axiote (in powder forum)
10 dry chiles guajillos
1 medium size onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp white pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 stick of cinnamon
And make this Salsa Taquera
1. Start by making your salsa taquera, then follow these instructions to make the axiote marinade:
Make a cut into the side of each chile guajillo, and devein them (rip out the stem and the guts) and soak them in hot water.
Once they’ve hydrated and they’re soft, remove from water and place in blender.
Add the vinegar, the juice of two oranges, chop up the medium sized onion and add that too. Add your garlic cloves, the cinnamon, and blend it a little.
Then add the axiote, the white pepper, then blend. Then add salt to taste.
Once the mix is ready, pour into a big bowl you’ll use to marinate the meat for this Mexican pork recipe.
2. Cut your pork hiney into half steak pieces. Try to make them uniformly thick, but they don’t need to look pretty at all because we’re going to chop them all up before the end to serve in the tacos.
3. Cover each “steak” in the axiote marinade and then refrigerate them all for as long as you can afford to (at least three hours).
4. When it’s time to make dinner, start be preheating the grill.
5. Slice your 1/2 pineapple into “disks” just a bit over 1cm thick (about 1/2″). You can just cut the slices across the entire pineapple, and you don’t have to peel the outside of the pineapple off before you grill it, either.
6. With a hot grill, throw on the now-marinated pork steaks along with your pineapple pieces until both have been cooked. This should take about eight minutes, maybe a touch more. You know you’ve cooked the pineapple enough when it has become soft all throughout. It’s alright if the pineapple slices get charred a bit, but do your best to keep them from burning, otherwise they will not taste good. As for the pork, it will be a bit easier to cook because the marination keeps the meat hydrated even after you’ve cooked it, so don’t worry about overcooking the pork this time like you would normally want to. The marination makes the pork a bit more forgiving to cook.
7. Now peel the pineapple rings off and chop the pineapple into small little cooked pieces.
8. Mince the onions, chop up the cilantro, then mix them together with the pineapple in a bowl. Take a lime and squeeze its juice into the mix and add salt to taste. Sample it to see if you need to add more lime juice.
9. Chop up the pork into little strips and pieces for filling your tacos with.
10. Make the tacos: add the meat to the tortillas first, then your pineapple-cilantro-onion mix, and then top off with your delicious authentic salsa taquera.
And enjoy! If you’ve never tried these Mexican tacos before, I envy you because you are in for such a treat with this authentic Tacos al Pastor recipe. I hope you enjoy trying out these authentic taco recipes from Mexico as much as I enjoy sharing them with you. This is one of the most popular Mexican pork recipes I know of that is actually eaten inside real Mexico, so I hope you savor this authentic Mexican recipe from the street vendors of la Ciudad de Mexico. Buen provecho!