Main Dish | April 28, 2020

Smoked Tacos Al Pastor Recipe

Salty savory delicious pork tacos al pastor are one of our very favorite tacos! They are just not very early replicated at home- so we decided to make our own version of  a delicious smoked taco al pastor recipe.

WHAT ARE TACOS AL PASTOR?

Al Pastor tacos are traditionally a pork shoulder marinated in a pineapple chili red sauce. The meat is sliced thin, marinated then placed on a large skewer and cooked rotisserie style. The meat is  sliced off the outside while it continues to spin and roast.

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR AT HOME

While this method of either rotisserie or spit-grilled pork creates the most delicious al pastor taco not all of us have a giant rotisserie sitting in our kitchen so we are putting our own little twist on the classic tacos al pastor recipe to make the at home.

INGREDIENTS FOR TRADITIONAL TACOS AL PASTOR RECIPE

YOU WILL NEED

  1. 3-4 LB Bone-in Pork Shoulder or butt
  2. fresh pineapple
  3. chipotle pepper in adobo
  4. pasilla-ancho chilies
  5. guajillo chilis
  6. onion
  7. garlic
  8. lime

WHAT ARE DRIED CHILIS? WHERE DO I FIND THEM?

To find these dried chilis check the Mexican isle of your grocery store. They are pretty inexpensive ($1-$4). You will need to do a couple of steps to prepare them for the marinade, they can not go into the blender dried.

HOW TO PREPARE DRIED CHILI’S

Place your whole chilis in a pan with water. Bring them to a boil and boil them for 10 minutes.

Once they are soft and boiled you will need to remove the stem, seeds and rinse. Slice the chili down the middle and rinse out the seeds.

HOW TO MAKE THE AL PASTOR MARINADE

This is SO EASY! You just blend all the ingredients!!

1ST! Start with your liquids or foods that are high in water

  • Vinegar
  • orange juice
  • pineapple
  • onion and garlic

  • add your chipotle pepper
  • and a few TBS of the adobo sauce. More sauce = more spice. But at 2 TBS our pork was not spicy.
  • sugar
  • good amount of salt!
  • lime juice!

  • boiled chilis
  • mexican oregano
  • cumin
  • and BLEND!

HOW MUCH MARINADE DO YOU MAKE?

If you dont plan on injecting your pork then half the recipe! Or if you prefer to inject the pork but do your own rub again dont make the full recipe. This recipe for the marinade is for injecting and marinating.

HOW LONG DO I MARINATE THE MEAT FOR?

I recommend marinating the meat overnight. you can get away with a few hours, but really the best flavor will come with time. So plan ahead.

IS PORK SHOULDER THE SAME AS PORK BUTT?

BASICALLY, YES. (and no) When you are shopping for a pork shoulder and can find only pork butt- no worries! They really are the same. They both come from the shoulder of the pig, but pork butt is higher on the foreleg, while pork shoulder is farther down. They  tough and fatty cuts, both benefit from long, slow cooking methods such as smoking. Which is what his is the perfect slow smoked al pastor tacos OF YOUR LIFE!

WHY INJECT THE PORK SHOULDER?

Since traditional al pastor is thinly slices and marinated ALL OVER, we are going to try to incorporate that marinade through the entire cut of meat to get the same delicious flavor everywhere.

Start by injecting your meat.  Place in the needle and move it 4 different directions squirting marinade into each direction.

Continue this all over the pork shoulder until you have used about 1/2 the marinade OR you have put all that you can into the meat. Pour the remaining al pastor sauce over and under the pork butt.

WHAT INJECTOR DO I USE?

I bought this one off amazon and love it. I use it often! Especially on my Smoked Turkey Breast and Fried Turkey.

WHAT DO I STORE THAT BIG PIECE OF MEAT IN?

We use a cheap, but airtight storage container from a store like target or walmart. It’s hard to have an actual dish that is big enough for large cuts of meat. I find these work perfect!

HOW TO SMOKE TACOS AL PASTOR RECIPE

Preheat the smoker to 270, and wait until it burns clean. Put your pork fat side up on the smoker. Also place a dish of water to the side. Let smoke for 3 hours at 270.

At hour 3 spritz with apple cider vinegar every hour. You can also place pineapple on the top if desired.

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To remove from the smoker use a clean dry bowl and pick it up. Using a towel, instead of tongs will keep the meat from squeezing and juices excreting.

At about hour 6-7 you should see the fat cap separating and splitting at that point you will want to remove the pork from the smoker and wrap it in foil.

Once  foil wrapped place back on the smoker for another at 270 for one house. Raise the temp to 290 and keep on smoker until the internal temp is about 200-204.  Remove from smoker. Let rest.

HOW DO I KNOW MY PORK IS SMOKED PERFECT?

There are two ways to know that you have the perfect smoked pulled pork.

  1. while its wrapped in the foil if you press on the meat from side to side it will jiggle.
  2. Unwrap the meat and the bone slides right out with no resistance.

SHREDDING PORK AL PASTOR

It literally will take no work. Your pork will fall into juice shreds all by itself. You will see the delicious red sauce inside the pork, and its crispy flavor on the outside. SERIOUSLY PERFECTION. It’s time to eat!

HOW TO MAKE AL PASTOR TACOS

You can your favorite toppings on these tacos of course! But if you want al pastor specific toppings go with some fresh pineapple, creama,  cilantro and onion. Try this pineapple mango salsa and it will knock your socks off!

CAN I MAKE THIS MEAT AHEAD?

YES! I GET IT. this meat basically takes all day to smoke. The beauty of smoking. So you may need to make it the day before a party or get together. When you do, smoke it and put it in foil pans,  or oven proof pans and cover. Before eating heat up the pork in the oven or on your grill or smoker.

HOW DO I STORE LEFTOVERS?

Store any leftovers in an air tight container. It will keep for 2 weeks.

5 from 2 votes
tray of tacos al pastor with limes and creama
Tacos Al Pastor
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
marinating time
4 hrs
Total Time
12 hrs 20 mins
 

Delicious pork tacos made with your favorite Mexican flavors!

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Mexican Tacos, Pork Tacos
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 187 kcal
Author: Desarae
Ingredients
  • 3-4 lbs Pork butt or pork shoulder
MARINADE
  • 2 large papilla chile
  • 5-6 guajillo chiles
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 2 chipotle from can of adobe
  • 2 tbsp of adobe sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 3 cups fresh pineapple
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp mexican oregano
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup orange juice
toppings
  • sliced limes
  • small tortilla shells
  • fresh pineapple or pinapple salsa
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan boil pasilla chile and guajillo chiles until guajillo chile is soft. about 10 minutes.
  2. Take chiles out, remove stems and seeds.
  3. Place in blender with vinegar, orange juice, pineapple,garlic, onion, cumin, lime, chipotle, adobe sauce, vinegar, pineapple, salt, oregano, and sugar. Blend until smooth. Divide in to two.

  4. Using an injector- inject 1/2 of the marinade into the pork.

  5. Start by injecting your meat.  Place in the needle and move it 4 different directions squirting marinade into each direction.

     Continue this all over the pork shoulder until you have used about 1/2 the marinade OR you have put all that you can into the meat. Pour the remaining al pastor sauce over and under the pork butt.

    Allow to marinate 4 hours to overnight.

  6. HOW TO SMOKE AL PASTOR

    Preheat the smoker to 270, and wait until it burns clean.

    Put your pork fat side up on the smoker. Also place a dish of water to the side. Let smoke for 3 hours at 270.

    At hour 3 spritz with apple cider vinegar every hour. You can also place pineapple on the top if desired.

     To remove from the smoker use a clean dry bowl and pick it up. Using a towel, instead of tongs will keep the meat from squeezing and juices excreting.

    At about hour 6-7 you should see the fat cap separating and splitting at that point you will want to remove the pork from the smoker and wrap it in foil.

    Once foil wrapped place back on the smoker for another at 270 for one house. Raise the temp to 290 and keep on smoker until the internal temp is about 200-204.  Remove from smoker. Let rest.

    HOW DO I KNOW MY PORK IS SMOKED PERFECT? while its wrapped in the foil if you press on the meat from side to side it will jiggle. Unwrap the meat and the bone will slide right out with no resistance. 

Recipe Notes

CAN I MAKE THIS MEAT AHEAD? 

YES! I GET IT. this meat basically takes all day to smoke. The beauty of smoking. So you may need to make it the day before a party or get together. When you do, smoke it and put it in foil pans,  or oven proof pans and cover. Before eating heat up the pork in the oven or on your grill or smoker. 

HOW DO I STORE LEFTOVERS? 

Store any leftovers in an air tight container. It will keep for 2 weeks. 

IS PORK SHOULDER THE SAME AS PORK BUTT?

BASICALLY, YES. (and no) When you are shopping for a pork shoulder and can find only pork butt- no worries! They really are the same. They both come from the shoulder of the pig, but pork butt is higher on the foreleg, while pork shoulder is farther down. They  tough and fatty cuts, both benefit from long, slow cooking methods such as smoking. Which is what his is the perfect slow smoked al pastor tacos OF YOUR LIFE!

WHY INJECT THE PORK SHOULDER?

Since traditional al pastor is thinly slices and marinated ALL OVER, we are going to try to incorporate that marinade through the entire cut of meat to get the same delicious flavor everywhere.

WHAT DO I MARINATE SUCH A BIG CUT OF MEAT IN?

We use a cheap, but airtight storage container from a store like target or walmart. It's hard to have an actual dish that is big enough for large cuts of meat. I find these work perfect!

 

 

Nutrition Facts
Tacos Al Pastor
Amount Per Serving (4 oz)
Calories 187 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 3504mg152%
Potassium 538mg15%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 30g33%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 1598IU32%
Vitamin C 138mg167%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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