Al Pastor

>> Saturday, February 06, 2016

There's a local Mexican restaurant named El Morelense that makes amazing Al Pastor tacos. It's so amazing that I figured I needed to figure out a way to try to make them at home. I made this recipe a couple weeks ago for my family and some of my kids' friends. It went over really well (zero leftovers) and was requested for Super Bowl Sunday.

This recipe and process comes from Serious Eats. It's not an exact clone of El Morelense, but it's close. The recipe isn't difficult, but it requires some prep in you can't just decide to have it for dinner and whip things up in an hour. Just a tip, some of these ingredients will be easier to find at a Latino grocery store. Here's the recipe as I made it.

2 Disposable foil loaf pans
Corn Tortillas
4.0 # Thin cut pork sirloin roast (~ 1/4" thick)
1.0 # Bacon
4 Dried Ancho Chilies, seeds and stems removed
4 Dried Pasilla Chilies, seeds and stems removed
1 c Chicken Stock
4 t Vegetable oil
2 t Dried Mexican Oregano
2 t Ground Cumin
2 T Ground Achiote
2 Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce, + 4 t Adobo Sauce
1/2 c White Vinegar
5 t Kosher Salt
4 t Sugar
9 - Cloves Garlic, Minced

  1. Place chilies in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid burning.
  2. Add chicken stock then kill heat and transfer chilies and chicken stock to a small bowl. Cover and set aside. 
  3. Add oil to pan and heat over medium/medium high heat.
  4. Add oregano, cumin, and achiote, stirring for 30 seconds.
  5. Add chipotle, adobo sauce, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Stir until mixed then remove from heat.
  6. Transfer contents of pan plus chilies, and chicken stock to a blender. Add garlic and blend until marinade is smooth.
  7. Combine pork and marinade in a bag or bowl. Coat pork thoroughly.
  8. Layer the loaf pans with alternating layers of bacon and pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  9. Pre-heat oven to 250F and bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet for 4 hours.
  10. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least a few hours.
To serve:
  1. Remove meat from loaf pans, reserving fat and some of the drippings.
  2. Slice loaves as thin as possible and transfer to bowl.
  3. Add 2T rendered fat to cast iron skillet, and heat over medium high heat. 
  4. Add sliced pork. Stir occasionally and cook until it browns and crisps a bit.
  5. Add drippings to create a glaze. 
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Serve in corn tortillas with chopped onions, cilantro, and your favorite hot sauce.