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If someone were to put the task of defining a billionth of a second to me, I would probably define it in this way, “The definition of a billionth of a second is the difference between the time the airplane’s tires hit the tarmac in Mexico and the moment my husband says, ‘It’s time for tacos al pastor!'”
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My family in Mexico doesn’t even bother asking anymore when they pick us up at the airport. They just drive straight to our favorite pastor place (The above photo is from that place!). I suppose it’s all my fault my husband’s that way. I introduced the Mexican specialty to him 16 years ago. The truth is we all love tacos al pastor, my family in Mexico and my family in the States, but who would have thought my husband would hold so fiercely to this particular food passion. So I thought, since it’s Hispanic Heritage Month, I ought to share my take on this traditional Mexican favorite. Just in case, like him, it’s now or will become a favorite of yours, too.
Tacos al pastor are a blend of pork, spices, chiles, vinegar, pineapple, onion, cilantro, lime and hot salsa on a smaller than normal corn tortilla. The meat cooks on a vertical spit called a trompo, or literally a spinning top. There’s usually a pineapple on top and, in a spectacular display of swordsmanship, the chef, using a wickedly sharp knife, slices a piece of pineapple in one quick motion that causes it to fly three feet through the air from the top of the spit to the target taco below. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, at this point, that we also love grilled whole onions with our tacos, sprinkled with a little salt and lime. These are small, but tasty. The photo makes them look bigger than they actually are.
Home Made Tacos al Pastor
Prep time 25 minutes
From start to finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Makes 60-80 tacos (depending on the size of the tortilla and amount of meat per taco)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6-7 pounds pork shoulder
- 4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 7 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 guajillo chiles, seeded, with stem removed
- 2 ancho chiles, seeded, with stem removed
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 1-20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
- 6 cloves
- 2 tablespoons dry oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon marjoram
- 1/2 cup wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 60-80 Tortillas
- 1 big bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- Chopped pineapple
- 15 limes
- Salsa of your choice, try my avocado salsa, or chunky red salsa or green salsa.
You will also need
- Pressure cooker
Cut pork into 3-4 inch squares. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on the meat. Heat oil in the pressure cooker and sear meat on all sides (including the bone).
While meat is searing, add garlic, guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, chipotle peppers, onion, pineapple (with juice), cloves, oregano, thyme, marjoram, white vinegar, lime juice, white wine vinegar and the other 3 teaspoons of salt to a blender and puree until smooth.
Pour salsa on seared meat, cover pressure cooker, and cook at high heat until the vapor valve starts rocking, lower temperature to a point when the valve rocks evenly and softly, and cook for 25 minutes (cook times may vary depending on your pressure cooker).
* If you don’t have a pressure cooker, but you own a slow cooker, don’t sear the meat, just add sauce to it, cover and cook following your slow cooker instructions.
Turn off heat and make sure the pressure cooker cools down completely before opening it.
Shred meat and serve on corn tortillas warmed on a comal!
Add cilantro, onion, pineapple, lime juice and salsa.
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Would you like more recipes, activities, and ideas to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? I’ve joined with a fabulous group of bloggers to share interesting content for this special month.
Visit Inspired by Familia to get the updated schedule and follow along. Here are the wonderful Hispanic bloggers participating Mama Latina Tips, Mommy Maestra, Embracing Diversity, Your Sassy Self, Hispanic Mama, Guapologia, Mama Educa, A Vivir LA, Inspired by Familia, One Post At a Time, La Cooquette, Spicy Latina Mom, Nerdvana Kingdom