This recipe appears in:Grilling: Better Tacos al Pastor
A second attempt at replicating the taste and texture of al pastor at home came with some nice improvements, along with a few set backs, using an interesting technique that could hold future promise.
About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.
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- 3 guajillo chilis
- 2 ancho chilis
- 1 small pineapple, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon achiote paste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle chilis in adobo
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
- Corn tortillas
- Lime wedges
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: high
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place guajillo and ancho chilis on a baking sheet and heat in oven until puffed up and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Seed chilis, tear into pieces, and process in a spice grinder into a fine powder.
Chop 2 pineapple wedges in 1-inch cubes, about 1 cup pineapple cubes. Transfer pineapple to the jar of blender. Add in chili powder, vinegar, garlic, achiote paste, chipotles, salt, cumin, and oregano. Puree into a smooth paste to make the marinade.
Place pork slices in a large resealable bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag, releasing excess air. Toss to coat. Chill at least 4 hours up to overnight.
Mix onion and cilantro together in a small bowl, set aside.
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Remove pork slices from bag, shaking off any excess marinade, and layer them in loaf pan. Set foil wrapped brick, or other weight, on top of pork and place in freezer for 20 to 30 minutes while preparing grill.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Remove pork from freezer and turn out onto tray or cutting board. Tie loaf with butcher twine at 1-inch intervals. Place pork and remaining pineapple slices on hot side of grill and cook until both pork and pineapple are browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Move pork to cool side of grill and place pineapple slices on top of loaf. Cover and cook until pork registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer inserted into center of loaf. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice pork and pineapple into 1/2-inch cubes.
Warm corn tortillas on hot side of grill until pliable, about 30 seconds per side. Pile pork and pineapple mixture into tortillas, top with onion-cilantro combo, and serve with lime wedges.