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  • Writer's pictureMarnie

Tacos al Pastor

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

In our house, Taco Tuesday is ANY day! Because, tacos. Who doesn't love them? There are so many ways to eat them, but my absolute favorite is al pastor soft tacos. I was in Vegas a few years ago with my bestie, and a ride-share driver recommended a place that made the best tacos. She wasn't lying - I, of course, got the al pastor and it was to die for. Watching the cook carve off the meat that was dripping with flavor was almost as fun as eating it. Since then, I've been craving good al pastor and decided to make my own. It's really authentic and full of flavor!

A little history on al pastor - literally, it means Sheperd style. Years ago, Lebanese immigrants came to Mexico and brought with them the delicious spices and style of cooking meat on a spit. So now we have al pastor - traditionally made on a spit, incorporating Middle Eastern spices along with those indigenous to Mexico. I don't know about you, but I'm happy it happened!

Here's how to make it:


  • 4-5 lb. boneless pork shoulder (also called pork butt)

  • 3 TBS achiote paste

  • 2 TBS chili powder - you can adjust according to how spicy you want it (guajillo or ancho, or any you have at home)

  • 1 TBS garlic powder

  • 1 TBS dried oregano

  • 1 TBS cumin

  • 1 TSP salt

  • 1 TBS ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1 pineapple, skinned and sliced into 1-inch rounds (you can also use canned slices in the juice, and use the juice for the recipe)

  • 1 russet or large sweet potato (to help hold up the skewers for cooking)


  1. Slice the pork shoulder into approximately 1/4" slices and place in a large bowl.

  2. In another bowl, combine the achiote paste, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar, and pineapple and orange juice, and stir until the mixture is smooth (get all the lumps out).

  3. Pour the marinade over the pork and toss using tongs, ensuring the slices are full coated.

  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  5. Preheat your oven to 350° F and place the rack on the bottom, or second to last position.

  6. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

  7. Cut the raw potato in half and place the halves next to each other in the middle of the baking sheet, flat side down.

  8. Put a thick wooden skewer in the middle of each potato half.

  9. Place two pineapple slices on each skewer then add the pork slices, one at a time, pushing them through the skewer.

  10. Once you've layered all of the pork, place 2 more pineapple slices on top of each skewer.

  11. Carefully place the baking sheet in the oven. If the spit is too tall, cut the top of the skewers until it fits. You should have some room left to do this.

  12. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until the pork is slightly charred on the outside. If the pork tower falls over, try to prop it back up if you can. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the pork - it should be at least 160° F when it's ready.

  13. Rest the meat for about 10 minutes, then carve off thin slices of pork and roasted pineapple. You may have to remove the pork from the skewer to chop it up for the tacos.

  14. Now it's time to make your tacos! Warm some corn tortillas on the stovetop (I place each one on a low burner for about 30 seconds, or until it's slightly blackened, then turn over to do the other side).

  15. Place some pork on the tortillas, and I highly recommend adding some of the charred pineapple! Add onions, cilantro, salsa, avocado, whatever you like on your tacos! Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

Did you make it? Share pics in the comments!

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