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Al Pastor Recipe

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  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 3.5 Hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Al pastor tacos are a beloved street food in Mexico and are enjoyed for their bold and savory flavors. The combination of the tender, marinated meat and the sweetness from the pineapple creates a harmonious balance of flavors, making this al pastor recipe a favorite among taco enthusiasts around the world.


  • 2-3 pounds of pork shoulder or pork butt, thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 3-4 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 2-3 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Small corn tortillas
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Salsa (salsa verde or your favorite hot sauce)


  1. Bring water to a boil and boil the dried chilies until fragrant, about 7 minutes. 
  2. Place the boiled chilies, onion, garlic, pineapple chunks, lime juice, achiote paste, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Add a bit of the water from the boiled chilies to smooth out.
  3. Place the thinly sliced pork in a large bowl or a resealable plastic bag.
  4. Pour the marinade over the pork and make sure all pieces are well coated.
  5. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to let the flavors develop.
  6. Take the pork out and bring to room temperature. 
  7. Cut the pineapple about 2-3 inches from the bottom. Using the bottom half, stab four skewers into the core of that pineapple (cutside up). Make sure they are very intact. 
  8. Take a smaller piece of pork and thread the pork into the skewers. Continue with smaller pieces and work your way in with bigger pieces. You will be creating a trompo with the pork. At the top of the skewer, add a slice or two of pineapple. 
  9. Preheat your oven to 350°F. 
  10. Place the trompo on a roasting rack in a baking sheet.
  11. Add the trompo into the oven and bake for 1.5 hours. Turn every 30 minutes, carefully.  Feel free to broil for 2 minutes at the end for extra crispiness. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. 
  12. Warm the corn tortillas on the grill or in a skillet.
  13. Slice the cooked al pastor pork vertically.
  14. Assemble your tacos with a few slices of al pastor, pineapple, fresh cilantro, chopped onion, a squeeze of lime juice, and salsa.


  • Choose Quality Meat: Start with high-quality pork shoulder or pork butt. Look for well-marbled meat, as it will be more tender and flavorful.
  • Thin Slices: Slice the meat thinly (about 1/4 inch thick) to ensure it cooks evenly and quickly.
  • Marinate Adequately: Allow the meat to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. The longer the marination, the more flavorful your Al Pastor will be.
  • Blend Marinade Thoroughly: Ensure your marinade is well-blended and smooth by using a powerful blender or food processor. This helps distribute the flavors evenly.
  • Cooking Method: While a vertical rotisserie is traditional, you can achieve great results using a grill, oven, or stovetop grill pan. Just make sure the meat is cooked through and has a slight char.
  • Baste with Marinade: During cooking, baste the meat with the marinade or pineapple juice occasionally to keep it moist and infuse more flavor.
  • Rest Before Slicing: Allow the cooked Al Pastor to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This helps retain its juices and keeps it tender.
  • Warm Tortillas: Warm your corn tortillas before serving. You can do this on the grill, in a dry skillet, or wrapped in foil in a low oven.
  • Customize Your Toppings: Don't be afraid to get creative with your toppings. Salsas, pickled onions, and cotija cheese are excellent additions.
  • Prep Time: 2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Mexican