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From Middle East to Mexico
Tacos al Pastor

These tacos are really famous in Mexico. All the taquerias in Mexico have the famous “spinning top" – where the pastor meat is.

It is such a show to see how these tacos are prepared . The taquero cuts the meat from the spinning top, he lets it fall on tortillas and then from the superior part of the spinning top he cuts and throws a pineapple chunk through the air to catch it with the taco. It is lots of fun we strongly recommend it!

It is said that these tacos are the result of the adaptation of the “shawarma", which is an Arab dish that consists of placing lamb or beef portions to roast in a vertical position and at the end is eaten in a pita. In the Middle East it was the shepherds (pastores) who initiated this peculiar way of preparing the meat and that’s how it got its name.

This recipe was brought to Mexico by the Lebanese in the 60’s. They marinated lamb meat in spices, it was cooked and then it was put in pitas . This type of taco is known as Oriental tacos, which are very famous in Puebla.

Well, the Mexicans upon seeing this recipe they did the Mexican version... the lamb meat was replaced for pork meat. Instead of marinating the meat in
spices it was marinated in a type of adobo salsa and it was put on corn tortillas. Giving birth to the tacos al pastor.

About the Recipe

  • Preparing the tacos al pastor is fun because making the salsa is a whole ritual. Then you have to be patient while the meat marinates and at the end the tacos are made.
  • To make the tacos al pastor any pork cut can be used, we recommend loin or leg.
  • The salsa of these tacos is prepared with achiote paste and if you want you can prepare it with us. We guarantee that it will have more flavor and color than any other.
  • The tacos al pastor have pineapple, we recommend using fresh pineapple. Although if you don’t find it pineapple in syrup can also be used.
  • The preparation time is of and the marinade of 8 hours.
  • Recipe for 10 tacos.


  • 17.6 oz of Pork Meat
  • 10 Maize Tortillas (7 oz)
  • 4 Guajillo Peppers (1.4 oz)
  • 3 Pineapple slices without skin nor core (10.5 oz)
  • 2 Ancho Peppers (.7 oz)
  • 2 Limes (2.1 oz)
  • 1 Orange (7 oz)
  • 3/4 of an Onion (3.7 oz)
  • 1 Garlic clove (.1 oz)
  • 4 Coriander sprigs (1.4 oz)
  • 1/4 bar of Achiote Paste (.8 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of Salt

  • Cookware

  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Frying Pan
  • 2 Griddles
  • 1 Blender
  • 1 Food Container with Lid
  • 1 Chopping Board
  • 1 Kitchen Spoon
  • 1 Turner
  • 1 Knife
  • 1 Spoon
  • 1 Ramekin
  • 1 Orange Squeezer (optional)

  • Directions

    Prepare the Salsa

    1. Remove the seeds of 2 ancho peppers and 4 guajillo peppers.
    2. Put in a saucepan:
    • The 2 Ancho Peppers with the ones you worked.
    • The 4 Guajillo Peppers with the ones you worked.
    • The enough Water to cover the chilies.

    1. Bring the saucepan water to a boil over high heat and leave the chilies cooking in the boiling water for about 5 minutes, until they soften.
    2. Transfer from the saucepan to a blender, with a kitchen spoon, the chilies that were cooked.
    3. Also add in the blender:
    • 1 Pineapple slice without skin nor core (3.5 oz).
    • The juice of 1 Orange.
    • 1/4 of an Onion (1.2 oz).
    • 1 Garlic clove.
    • 1/4 bar of Achiote Paste.
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Oregano.
    • 1/4 teaspoon of Cumin.
    • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.
    • Pepper to taste.

    1. Blend very well the ingredients, then reserve.

    Marinate the Pork

    1. Cut 17.6 of of pork meat into strips.
    2. Sprinkle over the pork meat strips that were cut 1 tablespoon of salt.
    3. Put in a food container the pork meat strips that were cut.
    4. Pour the salsa that was blended over the pork strips that were put in the food container and smear the salsa, with a spoon, through all the sides of all the strips.
    5. Cover the food container, put it in the fridge and leave the meat marinating for 8 hours, so the flavor mix.

    After the Marinade...

    1. Take from the fridge the meat that was left marinating and reserve.
    2. Cut 2 limes into wedges, put them in a ramekin and take it to the table.
    3. Finely chop 1/2 onion (2.5 oz) and 4 coriander sprigs; then set aside.
    4. Heat in a frying pan over medium high heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
    5. Incorporate in the frying pan the pork strips that were marinated and cook them for about 7 minutes, until they are well cooked; stir regularly. Then set aside.

    Make the Tacos

    1. Cut into small chunks 2 pineapple slices without skin nor core into.
    2. Put on a griddle over medium heat the pineapple chunks that were cut and roast them for about 2 minutes, until all their sides are lightly roasted; stir regularly. Then set aside.
    3. Heat on another griddle over medium heat 10 corn tortillas for about 30 seconds per each side, until they are well heated.
    4. Put on each tortilla that was heated the following ingredients, in the same order as given:
    • Some of the Pork strips that were cooked.
    • Some of the Coriander that was minced.
    • Some of the Onion that was minced.
    • Some of the Pineapple chunks that were roasted.

    The tacos can be served rolled or folded but in Mexico they are always served with the tortilla extended.

    Mmmm They Look Delicious!

    Tacos al Pastor prepared in a taco shop

    Tip: Prepare the red salsa with morita pepper to accompany the tacos al pastor.

    Suggestion: Enjoy the tacos al pastor with a horchata water. It is a very good combination!

    Did you like the Tacos al Pastor?

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    Additional Info

    These guajillo peppers will give the best color and the best flavor to your tacos.

    The best about these tacos is to enjoy the flavor of the pineapple, which has to be fresh.

    If you need corn tortillas these have a good flavor, good size and they don’t break at the moment of folding – perfect for tacos.

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