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Cinco de mayo. Tacos al Pastor Recipe. Mexico City, Mexico. A Tacos al Pastor recipe for the home cook. Copyright 2014 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.
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5 from 3 votes

Tacos al Pastor Recipe

Traditionally the pork for these tortillas is slow-cooked on a vertical spit, but this version is created with the home cook in mind.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 21 mins
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4
Calories: 546kcal
Author: Terence Carter


  • 1 kilo of pork loin
  • 2 Guajillo chiles
  • 1 Ancho chile
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon dry, pan-roasted
  • 1 teaspoon oregano prefer ‘branches’ of oregano – preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed whole black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 2 finely chopped white onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of achiote paste as well as giving the meat that dark red colour, it adds a lovely flavour
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • To Serve:
  • Cilantro coriander sprigs
  • Finely diced white onion
  • Some salsa – red or green it’s all good
  • Some tiny pineapple chunks we’ve had some with, some without – personal choice


  • Slice the pork loin thinly, diagonally across the loin. We’re talking 3–5mm slices.
  • The dried chilis need to be rehydrated in water: pour hot water over the chilis, but take them off the heat immediately. Snip the chilis with a pair of scissors to allow water into the chili and to allow the whole chilis to be covered in water.
  • Remove the membranes and seeds from the chilis and slice the chilis.
  • After step 3, gentlemen in particular, wash your hands thoroughly. Don’t make me explain.
  • Throw all the ingredients into a blender, but not the pork, obviously.
  • When the above ingredients have formed a nice smooth-ish marinade, place the pork slices in a large plastic freezer bag and pour the paste over. Combine thoroughly.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8hrs, but 24hrs is more desirable.
  • Pre-heat the oven to a moderate temperature, say 350˚F or about 185˚C. Take the pieces of pork out of the freezer bag and form into a ‘roll’ shape on a piece of aluminum foil; add plenty of the marinade before folding over and making the ‘round’ shape.
  • Place the pork in the oven and prepare for some beautiful aromas. It should take around an hour to cook. The temperature (which should be measured with a meat thermometer) should be around 160˚F or 72˚C.
  • For those paranoid about ‘pink’ meat, don’t despair, you can finish the pork in a grill pan to your heart’s content – which is what we’re about to do.
  • Put a grill pan on the stovetop at a medium-high heat. Add some cooking oil (no, not olive oil), and add some pieces of the pork, and cook to your liking. To achieve the kind of texture that you get from the vertical spit, you need some pieces to have a little crunch.
  • Place some corn tortillas in a pan to heat through.
  • Place a small amount of pork on each tortilla, add a sprinkle each of cilantro, onions and pineapple (if desired), and get everyone to add their own preferred salsa.
  • Have a michelada or a good stiff shot of tequila and a cold beer on the side. You could also serve with a margarita, but remember this is street food we’re celebrating!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.4g | Protein: 56.7g | Fat: 21.5g | Saturated Fat: 8.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13.3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 1349mg | Fiber: 4.7g | Sugar: 18.6g