Taco El Pastor

If you haven’t had Taco El Pastor yet, you must try it. It consists of pork marinated in a blend of mexican spices , vinegar, and pineapple juice which you eat in a taco with fresh salsa and pineapple.  It is absolutely delicious and sure to be a hit with everyone.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 10-12
5-6 pounds boneless pork shoulder (boston butt)
3 tablespoons achiote paste
2 tablespoons guajillo chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder (1/8 garlic powder = 1 garlic clove)
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
¾ cup white vinegar
1 cup canned pineapple juice
1 pineapple, skinned and sliced into 1-inch rounds
10-12 small corn tortillas
1 white onion, chopped finely
1 cup cilantro, chopped finely
1 cup salsa of your choice
The traditional recipes call for adding achiote paste, but I skip this step as it’s basically used to add color to the pork, but doesn’t add any flavor,  and most of the pre-made achiote paste available contain a bunch of preservatives.  I haven’t found it worth the time to prepare achiote from scratch.

PREPARATION

Slice the pork shoulder into about 1-2 centimeter slices, then transfer to a large dish or bowl.

 

In a bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar, and pineapple juice (and an ounce of achiote paste if you have some).

Next, pour the marinade over the pork, then toss the pork slices to make sure that they are coated on all sides.
Wrap the dish/bowl in cling film, and let the pork marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (marinating overnight will give more flavor to the pork).

You have several options on how to cook the pork:
The optimal way to cook Taco El Pastor is on a skewer standing up, with a couple of slices of pineapple on the top, to allow the juices to run down on the pork while cooking.
However, cooking the pork horizontally on a rotisserie works very well also, giving the meat a wonderful crisp charred appearance.
You can also cook the pork in a skillet, or on the grill.

On the rotisserie or oven, cook at 350F for about an hour and a half, until slightly charred on the outside and deep red.
Alternatively, cook small batches of the pork slices on the grill or skillet until charred and cooked through.

Rest the meat for about 10 minutes, then carve off thin slices of the pork and cut the roasted pineapple into small slices or cubes.
To assemble your taco, place some pork on the tortillas, followed by a few pieces of pineapple, a spoonful of the salsa and fresh guacamole, and top off with a pinch of fresh cilantro.  Best enjoyed with a margarita or a quality beer.
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