Tacos al Pastor

When in Mexico, one of our favorite street foods is Tacos al Pastor. We can’t equal the flavour at home without an upright spit to grill it, but this is a close second!

A plate of pork, seasoned with Tacos al Pastor flavours and just waiting for fresh corn tortillas!

A plate of pork, seasoned with Tacos al Pastor flavours and just waiting for fresh corn tortillas!

1-4 lbs pork “butt” or blade roast (just make sure it is a cheaper cut, well marbled)
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
2 ancho chiles
2 guajillo chiles
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 Tbsp adobo sauce
5 clove garlic, peeled
A few sprigs of oregano (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 large onion, sliced
Slices of pineapple
4 – 6 carrots, peeled and kept whole

1. Put the ancho and guajillo chiles in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the chiles to steep until they are rehydrated, about 30 minutes. Discard the seeds and stems and toss the chiles in a food processor along with the remaining ingredients, except onion.

2. Slice the roast into 3/4inch thick slices, but not all the way through.

3. I usually put on plastic gloves for this part – the marinade REALLY stains …Slather the marinade between each layer until all the meat is covered. Stack the onion and pineapple slices in between the slices of meat. Tie the roast back together. Cover it and allow it to marinade for at least 3 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 245 °C (475 °F). Put the roast on a row of carrots in the bottom of a roasting pan and add water to the bottom of the pan (this is to keep the drippings from smoking). You can use a meat rack if you want, but those carrots will be incredibly delicious if you use them for a roasting rack! Roast for 30 minutes at this temperature then turn down the heat to 160 °C (300 °F). Roast until the meat is very tender (about 3 hours).

5. After removing the meat from the oven, cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.

6. Pull or shred meat apart

Out of the oven, and ready to rest for 30 minutes or so before shredding.

Out of the oven, and ready to rest for 30 minutes or so before shredding.

Serve with:

fresh corn tortillas
minced white onion
roughly chopped cilantro

Barbacoa (Mexican Beef Tacos)

If you love beef tacos, don’t look any further than this recipe.  We have enjoyed more than our fair share of Mexican street tacos, and these fit right in there.

6-8 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp mexican chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 chipotle chiles, in adobo sauce

1 tbsp mexican oregano

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock

Blend all ingredients together in food processor – be sure to taste it and adjust seasonings.  You really want it tangy and full of taste – if you are cooking this the next day put roast in a ziplock bag with the adobo sauce and marinate overnight.

Taste the sauce before putting it over the beef – if necessary you may have to adjust a bit – keep tasting for balance of flavour!

3 pound bone in chuck roast – MAKE SURE YOU USE A CUT WITH SOME FAT RUNNING THROUGH IT – a leaner cut of beef won’t give the same result!

Put roast in the bottom of a slow cooker, and then pour adobo sauce over.  Add enough water to come half way up the roast.  Put lid on and cook on slow for 6 hours.

Remove liquid from cooker and reduce in saucepan until sauce has thickened and is deliciously rich.  Shred beef with two forks.  When liquid has reduced by about half, return liquid to meat.

Serve with fresh tortillas, cole slaw, pickled red onions, and slices of avocado.  You will think you are on the streets of Mexico City!