Serious Eats: Recipes

Grilling: Tacos al Pastor

Tacos and gyrating meat hold a special place in my heart, making tacos al pastor a super food in my book. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, a vertical broiler has yet to make its way onto my wedding registry. Not to be discouraged, I set out to recreate tacos al pastor the best way I know how: by grilling them.

The deep smokey spiciness provided by guajillo and chipotle chiles mixed with the sweetness of the pineapple came through extraordinarily on the grill. These flavors combined to make a truly delectable taco, leaving me content on the taste part of meal—but the absence of gyration left a bit to be desired on the texture side. What I love about gyrating meat is how the outer layer becomes nice and crisp due to being exposed to the heat; when that layer is sliced off for a sandwich or taco, you get a unique combination of the crunchy outside and tender inside. I was unable to achieve that crunchiness on the grill without totally overcooking the pork, and in the end, a well cooked meat was more important. Even though the grilled tacos al pastor were excellent, they will never be a replacement for the real deal.

About the author: Joshua Bousel blogs about grilling on his blog, The Meatwave, and appears weekly here on Serious Eats during grilling season.

Tacos al Pastor

Adapted from Steven Raichlen

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