Tacos al Pastor – Round One
Why round one? Because there is going to be a round two. For the past nine years, ninety six percent of my menu selection at my local taquerías has been tacos al pastor. These tacos have been pretty much consistent among the few restaurants I frequent, and every time I am so satisfied that I am now in serious pursuit in how to make them. Please keep in mind that if you have never had the taco al pastor that you will really enjoy this recipe, and if you have had them before, you will like this one as well.
I have been experimenting over the last couple of years, making carnitas and spicing them up a bit, however my last visit to the taquería really sold me. Call me a food nerd, but I took a few extra minutes investigating the taco, picking out what I could in flavors, colors, and overall tastes. I am certain a couple of the locals were looking at me as I did make eye contact with them, however if they would only give me the recipe, I would not have to do this type of thing!
Lets get started.
- Pork Shoulder (3lb), cut in small cubes (keep the fat on as it will render later on)
- 2 Oranges, quartered
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 3 Pasilla peppers, seeded, then boiled, then chopped
- 1 tbs vinegar
- 1/2 head of garlic
- 1/2 tbs of ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbs of oil
- More onion
- Corn tortillas (2 per taco), store bought or homemade
- Cold beer
Begin by marinating your pork with the quartered onions and oranges. Let this mixture sit in a large ziplock bag overnight. When you are ready to begin cooking, slow cook the pork, oranges, and onions on low for roughly 8 hours. This process will render out some of the fat and begin to come together. Don’t get too excited yet, the fun is about to come.
In a food processor, add the garlic, pasilla peppers, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Process until it forms somewhat of a paste. This paste is going to be used to cook the pork, once again, to form a crispness to the pork.
In a large pot, add the cooking oil and bring to a medium to high heat for a few minutes. add the pork, then the paste. Mix really well, and cook on medium heat for roughly 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and let cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to come together even further.
When you are ready, heat your tortillas, then place in your tortilla warmer if you have one, otherwise, get your tacos together. Take two of the tortillas, fold, scoop as much meat as you want within your taco, add diced onion, fresh cilantro, and any other topping you desire. I use tomato wedges, limes, and slices of avocado.
Trust me on this one, regardless if it is a round one, it is truly awesome. Enjoy.