For taco lovers, there’s nothing better than biting into a juicy al pastor taco loaded with tender, spicy pork. You probably have your favorite taco joint, but have you ever tried to make al pastor tacos at home? To help you out, Taco Guild’s Executive Chef Dan Santos has shared the restaurant’s recipe.
In a perfect world, you’ll get the best result if you marinate the pork for 24 hours, but at least shoot for overnight, Santos says. After you marinate the pork, start on the pickled onions so they’ll be ready to serve the next day.
Santos advises that when cooking any dish, “read the recipe, read the ingredients, read the directions and then read them again. You don’t want to get halfway through the recipe and realize you forgot something.” But even though you have the recipe in front of you, don’t hesitate to mix things up a little bit. “If you don’t dig cilantro, then don’t put it in at the end,” he says. “Make it your own.”
Al Pastor Tacos
1 oz. guajillo peppers, stemmed and seeded
½ oz. Chile de Arbol, stemmed
2 cups water
½ cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
2 fluid oz. white vinegar
5 oz. yellow onion, chopped
½ lb. pineapple, skinned, grilled and chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, roasted
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground oregano
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. chipotle puree
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roast both the guajillo and the Chile de Arbol peppers in the oven for 30 seconds. Transfer the pepper to a small pot with the water. Bring the pot to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer the peppers for about 15 minutes or until both peppers are soft. Remove from the heat and drain the excess water. Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and begin blending on low. Slowly increase the speed until on high. Continue blending until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the marinade is smooth in texture. Remove the marinade from the blender and set aside.
1½ lbs. pork butt
½ lb. pineapple, cut in ½ inch pieces
¼ cup jalapeno bacon fat (you can use regular bacon fat)
½ cup al pastor marinade
Remove the fat cap from pork and cut into ¼ inch x 2 inch long strips. Remove as much fat as possible. Place sliced pork, pineapple, bacon fat and marinade in a bowl. Mix well to coat and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
Pickled Red Onion
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
2 oz. pickling spice
2 lbs. red onion, julienne
Place water, sugar, vinegar and pickling spice in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 5 minutes. Julienne the red onions and place in a 6-quart bowl. After simmering for 5 minutes strain the pickling liquid over the red onions. Ensure that the onions are submerged in the liquid and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
2 oz. al pastor pork
½ tsp. vegetable oil
¼ oz. pickled red onions, well drained
Pinch cilantro, minced
1 each 4 ½ inch corn tortilla
Heat the oil in a small sauté pan. Add the pork and cook for 3 minutes, turn and cook for another minute. Place corn tortilla on a piece of parchment paper and fill with the pork and top with pickled red onion. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
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