Easy Al Pastor Taco Recipe


We recently set up our new bistro set from Joss and Main on our front patio and have been soaking up as much time out there as possible! We didn't need much of an excuse to eat another meal out there, and tacos al pastor AND al fresco could not be resisted. The opportunity to actually cook has become a luxury for us, so we jump at every chance we get. Bonus points if it's flavorful and decadent, but easy to prepare. These "al pastor" tacos win on flavor and ease of preparation. They are not a traditional al pastor in that the meat would typically be roasted and would get its flavor from a long marination.  I wanted to go a different route by slow cooking the pork (both for tenderness and for ease!), but wanted the flavors of citrus, adobo, and traditional spices to come through.

My brother joined us for dinner and we all ate until our stomachs couldn't fit another bite. They were delicious. For our easy variation on tacos al pastor, scroll down to the bottom of this post!


Recipe: Al Pastor Tacos

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 pork shoulder (5-8 pounds bone in)
    • 1 medium white onion cut in large chunks
    • 1 pineapple sliced and cored
    • 2-3 tablespoons of rub (I used a blend of brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, chilli powder, cumin)
    • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 -3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
    • Toppings:
    • fresh cilantro
    • queso fresco
    • chopped tomato
    • chopped pineapple
    • chopped red onion
  1.  Work rub across all surfaces of pork shoulder. You can let the rub sit (in the refrigerator) for up to 4 hours if you wish. The beauty of slow cooking, however, is that the meat will not only become gloriously tender over time, but also that the flavors will continue to develop.  I didn't have a lot of time to prep so mine sat 30 minutes and was still gloriously flavorful! ;)
  2. Sear your meat! I've always seared mine on the stove top in a cast iron skillet, but I know that some people will roast theirs to sear the outside.  To sear on the stovetop, put oil in your skillet and raise to medium high heat- sear shoulder for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  3. Prep the slow cooker: As you sear the pork shoulder, add chopped onion, half of pineapple (reserve other half for topping), orange juice, apple cider vinegar, broth, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, mexican oregano, and cumin to slow cooker.
  4. Transfer Meat: Sit the pork shoulder atop the bed of onion, pineapple and cooking liquid. Start slow cooker on low heat and cover.  Cook a minimum of 6 hours and up to 14 hours.  I cooked our meat for about 8  hours.  The longer your shoulder cooks the more the collagen will break down creating that "fell right off the bone" tenderness.
  5. Pull Meat: use a fork to shred meat off of the bone. you can also pull off some of the fattier pieces at this point if you wish. Transfer pulled meat back to slow cooker to soak up all the flavors in your cooking liquid. I left the pulled meat in the slow cooker on "warm" for about 1 hour
  6. Prep your toppings: chop up tomatoes, pineapple, red onion, lettuce, cilantro, or whatever toppings float your boat!
  7. Warm tortillas:  Don't judge me too badly... I prefer flour tortillas!! I've really tried so hard to like corn tortillas. and sometimes they're pretty decent when they're freshly made and therefore relatively soft. for these tacos we used El Milagro flour "street taco" tortillas. Whatever style you choose, make sure to warm them up. Place your tortillas briefly on a grill or griddle just before serving!

We're planning on introducing more summer recipes over the coming weeks. What are some dishes you are wanting to try this summer? Comment below!