Tacos Al Pastor are a childhood favorite of my husband's. They are pork tacos served in taquarias across Mexico but are thought to have originated from Labanese imigrant's shawarma. The pork is slow roasted on a spit, much like lamb served in greek gyros, with a pineapple atop so that the juices run down and coat the pork as it cooks.
This cooking method has prevented me from ever trying to replicate the taco. Obviously, I don't have the equipment for it. But the May issue of Bon Appetite and then the June issue of Gourmet both featured recipes trying to replicate the flavors of Al pastor using a backyard grill. Hooray!
I chose to try the recipe from Bon Appetite, and it was fantastic. I chose to pair it with a mixed green and fresh pea salad with a lime vinagrette, Rick Bayless's Guajillo salsa, fresh corn tortillas from La Hacienda here in Nashville, and a chilled Rhone Rose.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that these were slammin. My husband claims they are the best he's had outside of Mexico. He'll frequently order Al Pastor at various Meixcan joints, and we're always disappointed, but not these!
large white onion, halved
1 pineapple, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup guajillo chile powder ( I used 2 T arbol chile powder, because I had it on hand)
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large or 2 small chipotle chiles and 1 to 2 teaspoons adobo from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 2 1/2-to 3-pound boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coarsely chop 1 onion half.Coarsely chop 2 pineapple rounds, discarding core; cover and chill remaining pineapple.
Place chopped onion and chopped pineapple in blender. Add orange juice and next 7 ingredients; puree marinade until smooth. Marinate pork in fridge at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).Grill remaining pineapple until warmand slightly charred, 4 to 6 minutes perside.
Meanwhile, finely chop remainingonion half and place in medium bowl.Add cilantro; toss to combine. Grilltortillas until warm and slightly charred,about 10 seconds per side.
Serve pork-pineapple mixture withonion-cilantro relish, Smoky Two-ChileSalsa, and lime wedges.
Test-kitchen tip: To make your ownguajillo chile powder, finely grind about6 large dried seeded guajillo chiles in aspice mill to yield about 1/4 cup powder.
Transfer pineapple and pork to worksurface; chop pineapple into 1/2-inchcubes, discarding cores. Chop pork.Transfer to platter; toss to combine.
Meanwhile, finely chop remaining onion half and place in medium bowl. Add cilantro; toss to combine. Grill tortillas until warm and slightly charred,about 10 seconds per side.
Serve pork-pineapple mixture with onion-cilantro relish, Salsa, and lime wedges.