Al Pastor Tacos
The best part about being born and raised in Austin, Texas, was the abundance of genuine Mexican food as well as Tex-Mex. I am often thankful I paid attention while I lived there now that it is impossible to find great Mexican food in the northeast. I can make it at home whenever I want!
Al pastor taco meat is typically cooked on a spit but I don’t happen to have one of these and I am going to assume you probably don’t either. Well, no need to fear! After many tries, I believe I have figured out the best way to mimic the taste and texture of the rotisseried pork that makes these tacos so incredibly delicious. The meat stays tender, moist and still has the wonderful, slightly crisp skin. These are a nice, light dinner with cool toppings, hints of citrus, sweet pineapple and light corn tortillas. You can stuff yourself with these and still be able to move (to the dessert table). Also perfect for feeding a large number of people because the toppings are just served cold from a bowl. Notice how few ingredients there are as well! This=cheap. And if you typically steer clear of “tenderloin” because you assume it is expensive, you will realize that does not include pork. Onward to Mexico!
*Note: I like to marinate my meat the day before cooking it but you can also prepare it in the morning and let it marinate through the day.
You will need:
- about 1 1/2-2 cups pineapple chunks and 3 Tbsp juice.
- 2 lbs pork tenderloin
- 1 large spanish onion
- 1 bunch cilantro
- limes (plenty for some juice and garnish)
- 2 Tbsp Cumin (for future reference, this is my favorite spice in the whole world besides salt and vanilla)
- 1 Tbsp Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp medium ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil plus 6 more Tbsp
- corn tortillas
Do not cut your tenderloin. In a large ziplock or container with lid, combine all spices, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp pineapple juice and whole tenderloin. Marinate in fridge overnight and through the day.
Dice onion and cilantro and combine the two in one bowl. Squeeze juice from half a lime over them and refrigerate. Chop pineapple into smaller chunks about (1/3″ in size) and put aside. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil on high heat in large skillet. Sear/fry pork for 3 minutes on all sides. Remove and place on cutting board. Chop into small chunks. (Insides should still be raw)
Heat 2 more Tbsp oil on high and fry pork pieces, tossing/turning regularly until cooked. This time will depend on the size of your cuts but typically anywhere from 7-12 minutes. Toss in pineapple chunks, squeeze juice from one whole lime and saute for 3 more minutes.
Serve on grilled corn tortillas, top with spoonful of raw onion mixture and limes slices.
*note: I have read many recipes that suggest marinating the meat with the pineapple pieces. I DO NOT recommend this as the meat ends up feeling mealy which is yuck.
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