Did you know one of Mexico’s most adored tacos – pineapple-marinated pork cooked on an upright rotisserie – is a descendant of Middle Eastern shawarma? Having tacos al pastor with a "garden" of onion, cilantro (coriander), pineapple and salsa is a Mexico City original.






Skill level

Average: 4.6 (4 votes)


  • 1 kg (2¼ lb) pork steak, sliced very thin
  • 2 cups (500 ml) annatto or ancho chilli marinade (see below)
  • corn oil, if frying
  • sea salt
  • 6–12 x 7–11 cm (2¾ –4⅓ in) corn tortillas
  • roasted pineapple chunks (see below), chopped onion, lime wedges, fried green onions, guacamole, and chipotle or Mexican salsa, to garnish
  • warm tortillas, to serve


Ancho chilli marinade

  • 6 large dried ancho chillies
  • 2 dried guajillo chilli
  • 2 dried pasilla chilli
  • 2 cup (500 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 2 medium tomato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 pinch ground anise
  • 2 whole clove
  • 1 tsp fresh marjoram
  • 2 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp corn or vegetable oil
  • sea salt and apple cider vinegar


Roasted pineapple chunks

  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • sugar
  • sea salt
  • corn oil, if frying

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 3 hours

Place the meat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Meanwhile to make the ancho chilli marinade, roast or fry the chilies without letting them turn bitter. Remove the seeds.

Transfer the chilies to a pot and add the orange juice, tomato, onion, garlic, cumin, bay leaves, anise, clove, marjoram, and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Let the liquid cool slightly, then transfer to the blender and grind to a smooth mixture.

Strain the mixture of any residual solids and then add it to a clean skillet with a little oil. Heat the sauce with salt, a few drops of vinegar, and water as need cooking for 5 minutes over a medium heat until it thickens.

To make the roasted pineapple, dust both sides of the fruit slices with a little sugar and salt. 

Roast the slices on a hot grill or griddle, or else fry in a skillet with a little oil, on each side for about half a minute, or until golden.

Cut the slices into small chunks and set aside.

Roast the meat on the grill or a griddle, for a little more than 1 minute, or until golden brown. (If not working with a grill, sauté the meat in a skillet with a little oil. The steaks should be cooked individually for the best results.)

On a cutting board, slice the meat into strips, season, and keep warm.

Serve on the warm tortillas, with roasted pineapple and a selection of garnishes.


Recipe from Tacopediaby Deborah Holtz and Juan Carlos Mena, with photography by Isaís Quijano (Phaidon Press, pbk, $39.95).


View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.