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How to Make Tacos al Pastor

Learn how to make tacos al pastor from Brooklyn Taco Co. chef/owner Jesse Kramer in this Howcast video.


Today I'm going to show you how to make al pastor tacos at home. Al pastor actually translates to style of the shepherd, and in Mexico you traditionally see it on the spits, and it slowly roasts all day with a little pineapple on top, and the juices run down. And it is so exceptional. So first we have the main ingredient, which is pork shoulder. We're going to chop it up into small pieces so that the flavor can go right to the center. I have chiles. I have some citrus.

I have smoke paprika and salt. I have annatto, a little bit of stock, vinegar, onions, garlic, and a little bit of onions and cilantro to top it off when it's ready to cook. So first thing's first. I'm going to put all of our ingredients in this blender and create a nice, beautiful marinade. You may need to add a little water to make sure that everything blends nicely. So I'm just going to do that. I have a few mixes of chiles. Really, just use all the chiles that you like. The flavor of guajillo is very popular in this dish. I'm just going to cut some citrus up. That's a nice acid to it. Juice that. And limes go well with everything. So I'm going to put a lime in here. And it's really quick. What you want to do is let it marinade overnight ideally, but eight hours should be fine. And then we're just going to pick it up in a pan. Crisp the outside. Sprinkle a little salt, a little annatto. You can find this in a powder or liquid form. This is from the annatto seeds, and it just adds a nice color, as well as nutty flavor.

A little bit of stock, and then some vinegar. Now I don't really like to follow recipes per se, but this is a general guide. Feel free to add more salt, more acid, more chiles based on what you really want to do. So we're going to just puree that. There we go. So give it some time. You really want a nice deep red color. So that's what you're looking for. There we go. Beautiful. I love al pastor, because it's just got so much flavor, and you brown the outside, and you get a nice caramelized meat. And it's so good. In Mexico, you find them all on the streets, and it's almost like the shawarma style of meat. I'm going to pour my chopped pork shoulder in here. This is looking great. So I'm going to turn that off. Pour it in. Oh yeah. That's awesome. Gloves or not, you're just going to really want to marinate it. Make sure all the meat's covered. And then it's going to spend overnight, flavor going right to the middle, and you are going to have an incredible taco waiting for you. All right. So we have our al pastor that's been marinating. It looks like it's full of flavor. I am going to have a pan hot on the fire, and we're just going to crisp it up and try to mimic what you find on the street on the trumpo, which is that spit vertically turning like this. All the outsides are crisping up. You have a little pineapple wedge on top dripping down the whole day. We're going to kind of do the at-home version. It's still going to be delicious.

So here we are, putting some al pastor. I'm not going to put too much in the pan, because I want to make sure we get color. Oh my God. I can already smell the garlic cooking. So good. And all those chiles. You're going to love it. You've just got to use small pieces, or it's going to be chewy. Awesome. So we are ready to plate our tacos al pastor. Because we don't have an authentic spit rotating, we're going to kind of modify it. So we have pineapple salsa to top it off. OK.

Here we are, my al pastor pork almost finishing up. Tortilla pan is hot. Two tortillas hold together stronger, more flavor. All right. Here we go. We're going to give that about 15 seconds a side. We want to get a little color on it, and all we have is a pineapple, cilantro, lime, salsa and a lime, and you're ready to go. And you'll realize all the flavor is really in this meat from marinating and from the spiced chile vinegar blend we have in here. You're going to see how much of a rock star it is. Hot. Give this about 15 seconds, and then we are ready to go. Let's get a pot rack. the al pastor nice and hot and crispy and colored. This is ready. All right. Nice and hot. All right. Oh yes. So nice. And you'll see when you have al pastor on the street, each one has different recipes. Some of it's a little more red and uses more annatto seeds. It just depends. Make it how you like it. All right. Awesome.

Chunky pineapple. You are so ready. You can put white onions if you want. I just like this little, simple combination. And it is so amazing. This is how you make tacos al pastor at home.

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