Easy Tacos al Pastor with Pineapple-Radish Pico
Recipe by Michele Vieux
Al pastor (from Spanish, “shepherd style”), also known as tacos al pastor, is a taco made with spit-grilled pork. Based on the lamb shawarma brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico, al pastor features a flavor palate that combines traditional Middle Eastern spices with those indigenous to central Mexico. It is one of my favorite types of taco!
Mmmmm…a handheld delight directly from the spit…but what if you don’t have a spit but want to enjoy these delicious tacos? I say make them anyway…in the oven! After a few attempts with the rotisserie setting of my air fryer, staining many-an-Ove Glove, and generally making a HUGE mess, I decided to forgo the ‘critical’ piece of cooking equipment – the spit – and opt for oven roasting the meat instead. Guess what? It turned out great! Here’s how to pull it off for your next taco night.
Tacos al Pastor Recipe
Serves 4-6 people
1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder*
2 packets of Sazon Goya (con cilantro y achoite)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¾ cup white vinegar
1 cup pineapple juice
1 pineapple, skinned (half cut in spears for roasting, half diced for pico)
6 radishes, diced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3 limes (1 cut into wedges, 2 juiced)
1 avocado, diced
Small corn tortillas
Slice the pork shoulder into about 1-centimeter (¼ in) slices, then transfer to a large dish or bowl. In a medium bowl, combine the Sazon Goya, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, vinegar, and pineapple juice, mashing and stirring until smooth with no lumps. Pour the marinade over the pork slices, then toss to make sure they are coated on all sides. Cover the bowl then refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the pineapple spears and marinated pork on the baking sheet, spreading them out as much as possible so they aren’t touching too much. (The more surface showing, the more opportunity for tasty browning.)
Bake for about 1 hour, until the pork is slightly charred on the outside and deep red.
While the meat is roasting, make the pineapple-radish pico by mixing the diced pineapple, diced radishes, half the chopped cilantro, and lime juice together. It’s best to make this at least an hour before you plan to eat so that the flavors can meld together.
When the meat is lightly charred, remove it from the oven and rest it for about 10 minutes then chop up all of the pork and roasted pineapple into little bits. If you need to warm it up or brown it more, do so in a hot pan.
Have a separate pan going on low heat to warm your tortillas. You will be judged by how you flip your tortillas. Fingers or utensils? Let me know and I’ll tell you your chef rating.
To assemble, place some pork on the tortillas, followed by a few pieces of pineapple, a sprinkling of onion, a pinch of cilantro, and a spoonful of pico, and some diced avocado. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
*Want to make it vegan? Replace the pork shoulder with 2 chayote squash and 2 portabella mushrooms! Grill them instead of using the oven. Yum!