Tacos al pastor

Who doesn’t love a good spicy taco with a touch of sweet in it? The tacos al Pastor are a pork tacos from Middle Mexico, the actual way they cook the pork is on those Middle East Kebab rotating grills. Mexican got inspired by the Lebanese immigrants and made there own version of Shawarma, they’ve changed the veal for pork and add lot’s of different hot peppers to it with a welcome touch of pineapple! Delicious stuff! My version is a braised meat done in the oven, since the roasting method isn’t easy to make at home… but for courageous cooks, there is a way here you can try, which look delicious!

A while ago, our Mexican native Veterinarian recommended me and my husband his favorite Mexican place in town (Barcelona). We ended up in La Taqueria, near the Sagrada Familia, a small, colorful and humble mexican restaurant. We’ve tried 4 differents styles of tacos and we both fell “head over heels” for the “taco al pastor”.  A spicy, juicy, fruity yet meaty bite… Out of that world! Then… I got inspired and bought myself those tortilla press to practice my homemade corn tortillas… After a few times… I’m still working on the perfect dough… Anyways, after a few try I think I finally got it, the meat is spicy and juicy and for the taco shell, the press I own is make the shell quite thick, although still delicious.

I’m an ocean away from Mexico, and not too crazy about ultra spicy food so I’ve just add the Chipotle chiles, not the usual 3 different hot peppers (guajillo and anchos chiles are missing). But it’s all up to you, if you are a ultra spicy lover, add those 2 extras hot peppers to the mix.

So.. let’s start by making our own corn tacos shells! (optional, of course…)


Tacos al Pastor (the gringo way)

Makes 20 small tacos (Long preparation: takes 3 hours for the meat coccion)

The corn tortillas
  • 500g (2 cups) of corn flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 325ml (1-1/2 cup) lukewarm water
The shredded pork meat
  • 500g (1 pound) pork cheek (can also choose the shoulder or brisket)
  • 500g (1 pound) pork ribs
  • 150ml dark beer (or broth)
  • 250ml orange juice (or pineapple juice)
  • 200ml chicken broth
  • 4 chipotle Chiles from the can
  • 3 tbsp of the Adobo sauce from the chipotle chile can
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar (or your choice of vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano (mexican one) I’ve used dried coriander instead
  • a pinch of Habanero powder (dried chile flakes)
  • salt, pepper
The toppings
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tomato
  • few limes
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • slices of pineapple
  • finely sliced onion
  • Hot Habanero Homemade sauce *optional
  • grinded Cheddar *optional

Bring oven to 180°C (350F)

The shredded meat
  1. Blend onion, garlic, Chipotle chiles, adobo, spices, vinegar and orange juice.
  2. In a iron cast, at high heat, add olive oil , brown the pork pieces
  3. Once all sides are light brown, add the beer and deglaze
  4. Add the spicy mixture to the meat and top with broth or water until the meat is well covert
  5. Bring to a boil, then in the oven
  6. Let cook for 3 hours
  7. Take the meat pieces out of the pot, let the leftover on a medium fire to make it reduce (get thicker) should become a light paste
  8. Let cool the meat before shredding it with your fingers, getting rid of all the bones and cartilages
  9. Once the sauce is light paste textured, add the shredded meat back in
  10. Cover and Reserve
The corn tortillas
  1. Add the salt to the corn flour
  2. Incorporate slowly the lukewarm water
  3. Knead it until elastic, not sticky, add more water if it’s too dry
  4. In a tortilla press, (or you can use a simple rolling pin), add a baking sheet or plastic wrap, to prevent the tortillas from sticking to the press
  5. Make small 3-4cm (2inch) balls and press them, the thinnest possible
  6. Add them to a non stick pan, high heat, a minute on each side
The toppings
  1. Makes a guacamole with the avocado, tomatoes, coriander and lime
  2. Cut finely slices of fresh onion and pineapple
  3. Add the rest of the toppings to a big plate

Serve the shredded meat, homemade corn tortillas and toppings separately on the table and let everyone make their own tacos. Enjoy!

Tacos al pastor


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