Tacos “Al’s Pastor”

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Recipe courtesy of Al Rebelo, El Tres & Bight


  • 1.5 lbs Pork Shoulder
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 3oz garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp oregano dried
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 6 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn
  • 1.5 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 75 g achiote paste
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shake the pan occasionally so the garlic achieves a nice golden colour all around. Add the oregano, cumin, pepper and cloves and continue shaking the pan for another minute. These spices will burn quickly so be careful; we just want them to become fragrant. Add the ripped ancho peppers and continue to cook for another minute. Carefully add the pineapple juice, vinegar and achiote paste and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile slice the pork shoulder into ¼“ slices against the muscle grain.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled for about 10 minutes, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
    Massage the puree into the pork and let marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours) in a non-reactive container.
  4. The next day, remove the pork from the marinade and set on the counter at least 20 minutes in advance so that it comes to room temperature. Light up the BBQ and bring to about 300F. Grill the pork with the lid on so that the outside chars but the pieces cook through. The pork only needs to cook to an internal temperature of 135C to be safe to eat but may become more tender the longer you cook it. Once both sides are sufficiently charred, remove from the heat, cover with tinfoil and let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes.
  5. Slice the pork into thin strips and serve with fresh corn tortillas, toppings like Char-Broiled Salsa and side dishes like Calabacitas.