I was first introduced to pastor tacos when I visited a local taco shop called America’s Taco Shop (America due to the owner/creator’s name, not America as in American). My coworker said the pastor tacos were delicious, and he was RIGHT. These little pork tacos were my new favorite, and my coworkers now have a joke about me being obsessed with America’s taco shop pastor tacos.
When I was in Cancun, I noticed they also served pastor tacos. My obsession continued. I ate far too many of them (all-inclusive resorts will do that too you), and I promised myself that as soon as I returned to the states I would learn how to make these myself.
Pastor tacos in Cancun – yum!
If you are wondering – what is a pastor taco? I shall tell you. I’ve only had them with pork, so I’m guessing they are made traditionally with pork. The seasonings are sweet, tart and spicy, and have pineapple as a garnish. It’s sort of a spicy tropical flavor.
Once I returned from my vacay, I kept my promise (to myself), and google searched for a pastor taco recipe. I decided to go with the first one I saw, here. I couldn’t find all of the ingredients, and I used less pork, and I changed some other things (like I do). How I made it below.
1 pound ground pork
1 ancho chile, dried
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits with some extra juice (canned)
1 tbs adobo sauce
1/2 tbs vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
10 small corn tortillas
pineapple tidbits, cut into smaller pieces if desired
salsa verde (your favorite)
1. Put the the ancho chili and the bay leaf in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the chili to steep until it is rehydrated (It will still look a little wrinkly but will be much softer). Discard the seeds and stem.
2. Add the chili to a food processor along with all the other marinade ingredients. Process until smooth. Add a little of the pineapple juice to help mix/liquify if needed (I added a tablespoon or two).
3. Put the ground pork in a large gallon sized ziploc and add the marinade. Seal tightly, removing as much air as possible. Mash the pork to help mix with the marinade until its full mixed. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
4. A couple of hours later…. heat a pan on medium heat. Add the pork/marinade and cook until fully cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
5. Heat up the corn tortillas in the microwave to help soften. Add onion, some pineapple and salsa verde to your preference. This recipe makes about 10 tacos. Enjoy!
I can’t say these tasted exactly like what I had in Mexico or at America’s Taco Shop, but I will say this – these were freakin’ delicious. They actually weren’t as spicy as I thought they’d be. I wasn’t sure how spicy an ancho chili would be so I left out the chipotle chili the original recipe called for. I think it could be added though, I like a little spice. If you don’t like spice, I think you will find this recipe as-is fine.
Authentic recipes call for fresh pineapple because the pineapple enzymes help soften the pork meat. While I love fresh pineapple, I didn’t feel like buying it right now. It’s a little pricey, and since I had ground pork, I figured it was broken down enough as is :o) I used canned pineapple and it tasted great.
I’m curious to try these with ground turkey or chicken, it’s easier to find it low-fat than ground pork – and I bet with all of the yummy spices, it will taste just as great!