• Pork tacos with pineapple (tacos al pastor) (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

Arguably one of Mexico’s signature dishes, tacos al pastor (the shepherd’s taco) is a must-try eating experience. Thinly sliced pieces of pork are marinated in chilli, achiote, pineapple and spices, then layered tall and fire-roasted on a rotisserie. This dish pays homage to the Lebanese immigrants who introduced the lamb shawarma to Mexico in the 1930s.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (18 votes)


  • 2 guajillo chillies (see Note), stem and seeds removed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotle chillies in adobo (see Note)
  • 20 g achiote paste (see Note)
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 600 g boneless pork loin, flattened into thin steaks 2mm thick
  • 200 g fresh pineapple
  • ½ cup finely diced white onion
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • 300 g corn tortillas (see Note)

Pico de gallo

  • 3 roma tomatoes, finely diced
  • ¼ small white onion, finely diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ green jalapeño chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ tsp salt

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 24 hours

You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead. 

Soak the guajillo chillies in hot water for 10 minutes until soft, drain. Transfer the chillies to a blender with the garlic, chipotle chillies, achiote paste, orange juice, vinegar, salt and oregano. Blend until smooth. Lay three pieces of pork on a baking paper-lined tray and rub liberally with the marinade. Continue to layer the pork, rubbing with marinade between each layer so that you finish with three piles of marinated meat. Pour any remaining marinade over the top and refrigerate for 24 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 150°C. Remove the pork from the fridge. Slice 3 x ½ cm thick rounds of pineapple and place one slice on top of each piece of pork. Transfer the tray to the oven and cook for 20 minutes until almost cooked through. Increase heat to 250°C and cook for a further 4–6 minutes to caramelise the outer layer of pork. Remove from the oven, cover and rest for 5 minutes.

While the pork rests, combine the ingredients for the pico de gallo and set aside. Finely chop the remaining pineapple and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the pork and arrange on a serving plate. Pour the pan juices over the top and garnish liberally with the pineapple, onion and coriander. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and pico de gallo.



• Guajillo chillies, chipotle chillies, achiote paste and corn tortillas are all available from Latin food stores and some international delicatessens. 


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Kristine Duran-Thiessen. Coloured glassware from Market Import; tiles from Di Lorenzo.