Tacos al Pastor Recipe

Posted March 27, 2012 by Stephanie

I’ve eaten a lot of tacos in my life and one of my favourites, hands down, are tacos al pastor. The combination of crispy charred pork and sweet roasted pineapples in a warmed corn tortilla can’t be beat. Unfortunately you can’t really do traditional tacos al pastor at home, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying.

Al pastor are the Mexican take on kebabs–they’re grilled in a similar fashion on a twirling kebab spit. A giant cone of pork is roasted with a vertical boiler. The pork is sliced to order-usually, you’ll get a mix of the charred, crispy bits and the tender insides. After the pork is sliced, they’ll do a bit of fancy knife work and slice off a piece of roasted pineapple, fling it through the air and catch it on your taco.

Most people don’t have a vertical broiler at home, but with a bit of specialty shopping, you too can create a tasty version of tacos al pastor–no pineapple flinging skills needed.

I am pork-y, I am pineapple-topped: I am Tacos al Pastor!

Tacos al Pastor Recipe adapted from rickbayless.com
yield: 20 tacos

  • 3 1/2 ounce package achiote paste
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, plus 4 tablespoons canning sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced pork shoulder
  • oil
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • diced onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • 20 warmed corn tortillas

In a blender, combine the achiote paste, chilies, canning sauce, oil and 3/4 cups water. Blend until smooth. Marinate the pork slices for at least an hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet with a touch of oil over medium high heat. Grill meat slices in batches until slightly charred and cooked, about a minute a side, moving slices as needed. Remove and keep warm. Grill the pineapple in the same pan over medium heat, until lightly browned. Enjoy the pork and pineapples with the warmed tortillas. Top with onions and cilantro to taste.


  1. DJM says:

    Looks tasty! I assume that “thing” sliced pork is a typo for “thin”. But I can’t figure out what a “punch” package of anchiote paste is…

    1. steph says:

      Fixed now! Did you notice that tacos al pastor are my “face” (fave) tacos too and were too nice to say so?! Oh typos…I really should turn off the auto correct. Or maybe I shouldn’t post when I’m slightly tipsy :)

  2. renee says:

    i live in mexico city and have tacos al pastor on every corner and i will still make them at home with this recipe! you rock.

  3. Alyssa says:

    These look divine! Do you have a favourite place for tacos in Vancouver? I’d love to know

    1. steph says:

      Hi Alyssa,
      I like either La Taqueria or Salsa and Agave. You can get mini corn tortillas at El Comal in Burnaby if you want to give street tacos a try at home!

  4. Malcolm says:

    Simply stunning post. We have been trying to experiment with cooking al pastor at home, but haven’t had a ton of success. Any ideas where I can import a trompo?

  5. Eleana says:

    Hi! I’m so glad you are back to writing again, as I loved your momofukufor2 site. Welcome back to the blogging world …

  6. Eleana says:

    Also, I’m adding your blog to my blogroll!

  7. Sue says:

    Fell in love with the street version in Cozumel at Los Seras on 30th Just had them twice this past week and now that I’m home was glad for your recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

  8. Kevin says:

    What’s canning sauce?

    1. steph says:

      The canning sauce is just the sauce in the can from the canned chipotles.

  9. Vanessa says:

    What would you suggest as a replacement if we can’t get pork shoulder?

  10. hi, i already wrote on your carne asada recipe about how great this blog is. i just wanted to add that this recipe is fantastic as well. so good. also, i probably have a taco problem. i’m just now realizing this.

  11. yessi says:

    Pastor tacos are so good my mouth gets watery just thinking about making them and looking at this picture.I live by mexico about maybe 20 mins away and let me tell you pastor tacos are so delicious. I’ve never tried making it myself but i will be using your recipe for my first try hopefully they look as good as yours B)

  12. Melanie Febbraro says:

    My favorite holiday memory would be going to my Granparents house in Mississippi. My Grandma always made the best Lace Cookies!

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