Tacos Al Pastor – Terrific Grilled Taco Series

The most quintessential street food is the taco. With variations from traditional Mexican to newer fusion styles and basic to gourmet, I think you can slap just about any hot grilled protein onto a fresh tortilla and I would be happy. The Terrific Grilled Taco Series from Summerset is a collection of tasty taco adaptations from the street to your grill to your mouth.  We begin with a classic – Tacos Al Pastor – possibly the most iconic of classic Mexican varieties featuring thin-sliced pork marinated in citrus, chiles, sugar, and spices and served with grilled pineapple. 

These tacos begin with the marinade and preparing the Guajillo chiles by blistering them in a skillet, removing tops and seeds, then simmering in water until softened.  Then the chiles are pureed in a blender with pineapple juice, orange juice, garlic, vinegar, achiote paste, brown sugar, chipotle pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, and olive oil until smooth and spicy.  Pour the marinade over the pork shoulder that has been sliced into ¼-inch slices and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.  The marinade will seem very spicy, but the pork will not absorb all of the kick and come out perfect. Grill the pineapple slices and pork slices over high heat until beautifully charred and caramelized, and then transfer to cutting board to rest and slice into bite-sized pieces.  Serve on warmed tortillas with grilled pineapple, sliced onion, cilantro, lime wedges, and your favorite toppings one of the best-tasting bites ever.  If you’re like me these tacos are the perfect meal all year round, but we have more flavors coming your way with the Terrific Grilled Taco Series.

Serves 6

Tacos Al Pastor Ingredients

  • 3 -3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder sliced 1/4” inch thick (see note)***
  • 1 ripe pineapple peeled and sliced into 1/2” thick rings


  • 4 dried Guajillo chiles
  • 1/3 cup canned pineapple juice*
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 onion peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For Serving

  • corn tortillas
  • pico de gallo
  • Homemade Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • cilantro

Tacos Al Pastor Directions


  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add guajillo chiles and toast until blistered in spots and fragrant, turning occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer peppers to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, cut tops off chiles, cut in half and remove seeds, taking care not to touch your eyes.
  2. Add chiles back to skillet and cover with water. Simmer 3-5 minutes until softened. Move softened chilies to a blender along with all Marinade ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Add pork to a shallow dish or freezer size bag. Add marinade and stir to combine so every piece is evenly coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 -24 hours.


  1. Grease grill and heat to high heat. Add pineapple and grill until lightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and chop once cool enough to handle, discarding center rind.
  2. Grease grill once again and heat to high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add to grill (you might need to work in batches). Grill over high heat until lightly charred and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before chopping into bite-size pieces.


  1. Serve Al Pastor in warm tortillas with chopped pineapple and favorite toppings such as pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, lime, etc.


  • ***Cut pork. I recommend cutting your pork into more manageable sections for slicing later – about 8 smaller pieces, otherwise you are trying to slice thin pieces off of meat that is much longer than your knife.
  • Freeze pork. Freezing any type of meat before trying to slice it thinly is a lifesaver otherwise your meat is moving all over the place and it is difficult to slice evenly.  After you chop your pork into smaller sections, add it to a freezer size bag and freeze for 3-4 hours so it is hard enough that it holds its shape when you slice it but soft enough that it will still slice.  I recommend only removing one section of pork at a time from the freezer and slicing it otherwise the rest will start to defrost while they wait their turn.
  • Slice pork. I try and slice my pork on the wide side of the section vs the thin side so there is more surface area on the grill (AKA go for fat thin slices vs. long thin slices).

Taken from carlsbadcravings.com