Tacos al Pastor

Main Course

Recipe courtesy of Tacos by Mark Miller

Makes 24 tacos

  • 40 dried guajillo chiles
  • 20 dried ancho chiles
  • 20 dried pasilla negro chiles
  • 2½ cups fresh orange juice
  • Grated zest of I orange
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown
  • sugar
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 1½ tablespoons cumin seed, roasted and ground (page 164)
  • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons distilled vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 6 ounces cola
  • 8 ounces Mexican beer
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 24 (5½-inch)soft white corn tortillas, for serving
  • Garnish: caramelized diced pineapple, Pineapple-Habanero Chile Salsa

Pineapple/Habanero Salsa:

  • 1 pineapple, about 3 ½ pounds, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ inch rings
  • 1 orange or red habanero chile, dry-roasted, seeded, and minced
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and dices
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor

Click image to enlarge



Stem and seed the dried chiles; transfer to a large bowl; pour enough boiling water over the chiles to just cover them. Top with a plate or lid weighted down with a soup can or something similar to keep chiles submerged. Soak for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside, reserving the (strained) soaking liquid.

In a small saucepan, simmer the orange juice over medium-low heat until reduced by half; set aside. In the jar of a blender, purée the rehydrated chiles until smooth, adding some of the soaking water, if needed, to achieve a smooch consistency.

In a large bowl, add the reduced orange juice, puréed chiles, orange zest, brown sugar, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, vinegar, lime juice, cola, and beer and stir to mix well. Add the pork, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready co cook, remove the pork from the marinade and drain well. In a large, heavy skillet, hear the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the pork pieces until the meat is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve right away or keep warm in the pan until ready to serve.

To serve, lay the tortillas side by side, open face and overlapping on a platter. Divide the filling equally between the tortillas and top with pineapple and salsa. Grab, fold, and eat right away. Or build your own taco: lay a tortilla, open face, in one hand. Spoon on some filling, top with pineapple and salsa, fold, and eat right away.


Cook the pineapple slices over low heat in batches, turning once, until caramelized on both sides. Cut into ¼ inch dice. Mix the pineapple, chile, bell pepper, cilantro, and lime juice; serve at once.


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