I can’t even.
I seriously have no words.
These were THAT good.
Ya’ll know I was born in the wrong culture, right? This girl Eats, Sleeps, and breaths all things Mexican/Spanish. For Real.
Yep. That’d definitely be it.
I came to fall in love with Tacos Al Pastor on hubs and my recent trip to Chicago. Whenever we are in a big city, we always seek out some good authentic Mexican food! Big cities are notorious for having some of every kind of cuisine your heart could possibly desire. Hubs and I always go Mexican… it takes us back to when we met years ago en route to Mexico. Anyhow, we stumbled across this little joint called Flaco’s Tacos. They had some awesome tacos – simple, fresh, and flavorful. We were in love. We even had them deliver to our hotel room after a long day of trekking miles across the city. Yes, my friends, that’s how hubs and I spent our evenings on our first baby-free vacation… in our bathrobes, on our bed, watching tv, & shoveling tacos into our face as fast as we could. Perfection.
When I got home from our trip, all I could think about was making tacos al pastor at home. I did a little research and came to find out that there was one key ingredient in most recipes… Achiote paste (made from ground up annatto seeds and a bunch of other stuff). Well folks, I searched high and low (at 2 Publix’s) for said paste and came up empty handed.
SERIOUSLY??? I LIVE IN SOUTH FLORIDA PEOPLE… if I can’t find it in the regular grocery store, ain’t nobody else gonna be able to find it! Sure I could go to a spanish market and pick some up, but I’m aware that not everyone has those available. Thus, I set out to make some al pastor without the achiote paste. I did instead find Annatto seeds (alleluia!) which apparently are easier to find.
Oh my word, let’s talk about these tacos.
SIDE NOTE: most recipes for Tacos al Pastor use the pork butt. In my experience, pork butt needs to be cooked low and slow (a slow cooker version of this would totally work with that! hmmm…), so for this grill method I opted for a much leaner, tender cut. Lighter on the hips and no chewy gristle. win. win.
You start with some juicy yet lean Pork Tenderloin marinated in Pineapple Juice (and other citrus), chipotle peppers in Adobo, plus all my favorite Spanish spices… It’s a SURE FIRE WINNER ALREADY!
Grill it off with some fresh pineapple and then chop in all up and toss it together…
VOILA! It turns into this magical spicy sweet mixture that is insanely delicious.
Like, shovel it in your mouth off the spoon delicious.
As if that wasn’t drool worthy enough, you stick that magical concoction in a warm corn tortilla and top it with some crumbled queso fresco, diced red onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
I have died and gone to Heaven, ya’ll.
GO MAKE THESE NOW.
Side Note: I’m working on developing a crockpot version of this dish! Stay tuned! & I also think this recipe would be just as delish using chicken (just a thought!).
Tacos Al Pastor (AKA Pork & Pineapple Tacos)
Yield: Servings Vary (roughly 8-10 people)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (not including marinade time)
Marinade would be equally delicious on some chicken! Use up any leftovers from this recipe as a filling for quesadillas or even on topping on Pizza! Pork reheats extremely well in a skillet (add a little pineapple juice to the pan and simmer over medium heat until warmed through).
For the Pork Marinade:
2 Pork Tenderloins (roughly 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat and silver skin
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup canola oil
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
4-5 chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce
1 tablespoon Adobo Sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon annatto seeds
1 teaspoon mexican oregano (subsitute reg oregano if needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 whole clove
For the Tacos:
1 pineapple, peeled & cored
1/2 onion (red or yellow), finely diced
Small Corn Tortillas
Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Queso fresco, Crumbled
2 Limes, sliced into wedges (for squeezing over tacos)
Sour Cream (optional)
Slice the pork tenderloin into rounds 1/3"-1/2" in thickness and place into a large resealable bag. Add remaining Pork Marinade ingredients to a blender and puree until spices are completely ground up. Pour marinade over sliced pork and seal up bag. Swish around to make sure meat is coated and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours (could do this the night before or morning of if desired).
When ready to grill, slice pineapple into 1/2" thick rounds (Note: I buy the pineapple peeled and cored already, but you can absolutely buy the pineapple whole. Just peel it, slice it into rounds, grill it, and then when you are chopping it up, cut the core out).
Heat Grill to Medium High Heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and add pork and pineapple. Grill for a 3-4 minutes per side. The pineapple just needs some nice grill marks, and the pork is done when the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 145ºF (I personally like mine to reach about 155-160ºF, but 145ºF is safe according to the USDA). Allow pork to rest for 5 minutes; meanwhile I like to chop the pineapple up. After the pineapple is chopped, you can start chopping your pork into bite sized (1/3"-1/2") cubes. Toss pineapple and pork together.
In a medium skillet, warm the tortillas over high heat (only takes 30-45 seconds per side if the pan is nice and hot). To assemble the tacos, add some of the pineapple pork mixture to the tortilla and top with queso fresco, onion, cilantro and sour cream (optional). Squeeze a little lime over top and DIG IN.