Tacos al Pastor


Tacos al Pastor (CC photo by tychenyt courtesy of Flickr)

No doubt about it, Tacos al Pastor is another delicious feature of popular Mexican Food. If you find yourself in central Mexico, specifically in the state of Morelos, you’ll encounter tacos al pastor in pretty much every taqueria (taco shop) you come across. Maybe we’re biased, but the best tacos al pastor are found in Cuernavaca, where you’ll be left salivating every time you pass one of the many taquerias in the city. Going out for tacos is at least a weekly occurrence for many natives, particularly on the weekend with family. But how did tacos al pastor become an integral part of Mexican Cuisine? What is about them that people love so much? What makes them so appealing to our senses? Let’s talk about them a bit.


Some people say that Lebanese immigrants brought the concept with them when they arrived in the sixties. The original dish apparently was made from lamb marinated in herbs, various pieces being stacked one on top of the other on a spit and slow roasted rotisserie-style in front of a flame. Then small pieces of the meat were shaved off and put on a pita bread. But traditionally here in Mexico, we’ve repleced the lamb with pork, and instead of an herb marinade we use dried chilis. And, well, there’s nothing quite like them. Before you know it, you’ll have scarfed down 5 or 6 tacos! Plus, the freshly squeezed lime juice and various salsas you have to choose from in the taquerias definitely add the perfect touch. You won’t be able to resist!



  • 1 Kg pork leg or loin meat, cut into strips
  • 1 Cup white vinegar
  • 5 Dried guajillo chii peppers
  • 5 Dried pasilla chili pepper
  • 2 Dried ancho chili pepper
  • 1 Medium tomato, toasted, peeled and seeds removed
  • 2 Medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Head of garlic peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 Cup pineapple juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 40 Small taco style corn tortillas
  • 5-6 Limes, cut into wedges, optional
  • 1 Bunch of cilantro, finely chopped, optional
  • 2-3 Cups pineapple, finely chopped, optional
  • Pico de gallo salsa, optional
  • Salsa de aguacate (spicy guacamole salsa), optional


Since Most of us don’t have a rotisserie or spit, here’s another method to prepare tacos al pastor.

Marinate the pork in the vinegar for about 2 hours. Remove and drain well. Boil the guajillo, pasilla, and ancho chilis in about 3 cups of water until soft. Remove the veins and seeds. In a blender, combine the chilis, tomato, half the onion, garlic, cumin and cloves and blend until smooth. Add the pineapple juice and salt to taste. Heat one table spoon of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sauce, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequesntly. Remove from the heat and cool. Marinate the pork in the sauce for at least half an hour. Heat the other tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Add the remaining chopped onion and cook until tender. Add the pork and cook until done. Slice the pork into smaller pieces if necesary. Warm up the tortillas and serve the meat on the tortillas taco-style.

Remember, it’s usually 2 stacked tortillas per taco as they are quite small. Serve with the lime wedges, cilantro, pineapple, and salsa to taste.

Posted by Lindsay

2 Responses to “Tacos al Pastor”

  1. I love mexican food. Nice blog!

  2. yummy I’ve been looking for al pastor taco recipe, can’t wait to try it!
    I barely found this blog, love it!

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