• Tacos al pastor. (Pati's Mexican Table)Source: Pati's Mexican Table

At a taco stand, tacos al pastor are made from seasoned meat stacked high on a vertical rotisserie. You probably don't have a vertical rotisserie! But don't worry, I'm going to show you an easy way to make this right in your own kitchen. 






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (48 votes)


  • 1.4kg pork shoulder or butt, sirloin cutlets or butterfly chops, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 cups achiote adobo marinade (recipe below)
  • half a pineapple, peeled, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • kosher or coarse sea salt to taste
  • 12 to 14 corn tortillas - get Pati's recipe here  (use flour tortillas if turning these tacos into gringas)
  • Shredded queso asadero, Mexican Oaxaca or Chihuahua, or mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or any melty cheese of your choice (optional, if they are to be turned into gringas - see Note)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cioriander, to garnish
  • 1 cup roughly chopped white onion, to garnish
  • limes cut into quarters, to garnish
  • salsa of your choice

Achiote adobo marinade

  • guajillo chillies (also known as mirasol chillies)
  • garlic cloves
  • ½ cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 2 tbsp achiote paste
  • 1 cup bitter orange juice (or substitute with ⅓cup orange juice, ⅓ cup lime juice and ⅓ cup white distilled vinegar)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground true or ceylon cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

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.


Allow at least 3 hours, and up to 48 hours, marinating time. 

To prepare the marinade,  stem and seed the guajillo chillies. Toast them on a pre-heated comal or skillet, set over medium heat, for about 1 to 2 minutes per side until they are toasted, but not burnt. Place the chillies in a saucepan, add enough water to cover them, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the chiles are plumped up and rehydrated.

In a blender, place the chiles along with ½ cup of their cooking liquid and the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. Use as a marinade.

Marinate the meat in the adobo marinade for at least 3 hours, or up to 48 hours, in the refrigerator. Reserve ¾ cup of marinade to brush on the pineapple before grilling/cooking and to finish off meat.

When ready to make tacos, remove the meat from the refrigerator. Brush some of the reserved marinade on the pineapple slices. Reserve the remaining marinade.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of oil. Place as many pineapple slices as will fit on the skillet and sear for about 3 minutes per side, until juicy and lightly charred on both sides. Remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, cut the pineapple into thin slices about 2.5-5cm long and ¼-inch wide, removing the core. Place in a bowl and cover.

Drizzle another tablespoon of oil onto the skillet. Lightly sprinkle the meat with salt to taste. Sear as many slices of meat as will fit in the pan, without over crowding, for about 2 minutes per side until browned on both sides. Cook in batches if necessary. Place the meat on a chopping board. Cut it crosswise into thin slices about 6 mm thick and 2.5 cm wide.

Once done with all the meat, reduce the heat to medium, place the meat back in the skillet and pour the rest of the unused marinade on top. Stir and cook for another minute. Cover and set on the table.

On a pre-heated cast iron skillet or comal set over medium heat, heat the corn tortillas 1 to 2 minutes per side until thoroughly cooked, lightly browned and crisp on the outside. Place them in a tortilla warmer and bring to the table along with the meat, pineapple, chopped cilantro, chopped onion, lime wedges, and salsa of your choice. Let everyone assemble their own tacos.


• If you want to offer some gringas, heat flour tortillas on the comal and, once hot, add the melty cheese, fold, and let it melt as if it were a quesadilla. Once melted, re-open the tortilla, add a generous tablespoon or two of the sliced meat, fold again and serve.