Recipes // Main Dish Beef and Pork // Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor

In The Kitchen With Executive Chef Ivy Stark Part 1


Yield: Serve 8 to 12
Yield: 3 ½ cups
  • 40 dried guajillo chiles
  • 20 dried ancho chiles
  • 20 dried pasilla negro chiles
  • 2 ½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • ¹⁄³ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and
  • ground
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 8 ounces Mexican beer
  • 6 ounces cola
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa
  • (recipe follows)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into
  • ½-inch-thick slices, for garnish
  • 24 (4-inch) soft white corn tortillas
  1. Stem and seed the guajillo, ancho, and pasilla negro chiles; combine them in a stainless steel bowl with just enough hot water to cover, weigh them down with a plate, soak until soft, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain and set aside. Reserve the soaking liquid.
  2. In a small saucepan, simmer the orange juice over medium low heat until reduced by half. Set aside. In the jar of an electric blender, purée the softened chiles until smooth, adding some of the soaking water, if needed, to get a smooth consistency.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the reduced orange juice, puréed chiles, orange zest, brown sugar, garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper, and oregano. Stir in the beer, cola, vinegar, and lime juice. Add the pork, turning to coat evenly, cover, refrigerate, and marinate overnight.
  4. Prepare the Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa (at right).
  5. When ready to cook, drain the pork well and blot the pieces dry with paper towels. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the pork, in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan, until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning to cook evenly. Remove from heat and serve right away, or keep warm in the pan over low heat until ready to serve.
  6. While the pork is cooking, heat a gas grill or skillet over high heat. Add the pineapple and cook until lightly browned, turn, and cook the second side until lightly colored. Remove and cut into cubes.
  7. To serve: On a large platter, lay the tortillas side by side, overlapping them slightly. Divide the filling among them; top with grilled pineapple and Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa and serve.

Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa

  • 1 ¼ pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons lard or vegetable oil
  • 5 medium cloves garlic
  • 7 small pasilla de Oaxaca chiles
  • ½ pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced Salt

1. In a small saucepan, cover the tomatillos with enough water to come about halfway up the side of the pan, cover, and cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes; strain, reserving the liquid.

2. Meanwhile, on the plancha or in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, melt the lard, add the garlic, and cook until soft and well charred on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chiles and toast for 2 minutes per side; tear them into pieces, discarding the stem, and transfer them to the jar of an electric blender.

3. Either under the broiler, on a gas grill, or in the skillet, grill the pineapple until well caramelized, turning once. Transfer it to the jar of the blender along with enough of the chile rehydrating liquid to make the blades turn smoothly, add a large pinch of salt, and blend until smooth. Add the tomatillos and blend; season to taste with salt.

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