How to Make Tacos al Pastor at Home

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Learn how to make tacos al pastor at home, easy and fast.

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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.

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RELATED POST: Hispanic Heritage Month

What are Tacos Al Pastor?

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).

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If you make these Tacos al Pastor at Home be sure to snap a photo and share it with us on social media using the #mamalatinatips hashtag. I’d love to see it and have a chance to share it as well.

How to Make Tacos al Pastor at Home

Prep time 25 minutes – Start to finish: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Makes 60-80 tacos (depending on the size of the tortilla and amount of meat per taco)

Get the printable recipe at the bottom of the post.

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Ingredients

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 pounds of 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
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For garnish

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Equipment

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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).

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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.

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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!

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Add cilantro, onion, pineapple, lime juice and salsa.

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¡Buen provecho!

How to make tacos al pastor at home by mamalatinatips.com

3 Tacos al Pastor. MamaLatinaTips.com
5 from 1 vote

Tacos al Pastor

Learn how to make tacos al pastor at home easy and fast with the help of a pressure cooker or instant pot
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Cooldown time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 80 tacos
Calories: 117kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 lb 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 chiles in adobo
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 6 6 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 80 corn tortillas

For garnish

  • 1 big bunch fresh cilantro washed and chopped
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 1 pineapple chopped
  • 15 limes
  • Salsa of your choice try my avocado salsa, or chunky red salsa or green salsa.
  • * Blender
  • * Pressure cooker or Instant Pot
  • * Meat knife
  • * Measuring spoons
  • * Measuring cups
  • * Kitchen tongs

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Tacos al Pastor
Amount Per Serving
Calories 117 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 155mg7%
Potassium 185mg5%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 348IU7%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: instant pot recipes, Pork al pastor, Recipes in pressure cooker
Author: Silvia

Notes

* 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.

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.

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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

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Rocio Chavez
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Rocio Chavez

Yum, que ricura. You had me at tacos, and had my mouth drooling at tacos al pastor. Love it!

Dania Santana
Guest
Dania Santana

I looove tacos! If there is something I appreciate form living in the United States is the access I have to authentic Latin American food that I would not enjoy otherwise. This is a great way to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, ¡con mucho sabor!

Ginny Schneider
Guest
Ginny Schneider

I love al Pastor tacos. And just got a pressure cooker. My question is, how spicy are these. I like heat but I don’t want it to be over powering where you can’t taste the pork and pineapple. I also had someone recommend marinating it in the sauce over night. I’m not sure because the pressure cooker will helps the flavor get into the meat. Any thoughts?

Maybelline Valenti
Guest
Maybelline Valenti

Que delicia!! OMG!! I need to try this like now!

Enriqueta E Lemoine
Guest
Enriqueta E Lemoine

Que cosa tan maravillosa son los tacos al pastor!

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