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30 minute Easy Tacos al Pastor on a black plate over a wooden table
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30-minute Easy Tacos al Pastor

This 30-minute Easy Tacos al Pastor version gives you all the flavor without all the fuss! They are sweet, savory, smoky, slightly spicy, and incredibly flavorful.
Course dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 14 servings
Calories 279kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lb (900 g) ground pork (I use 85% Lean/15% Fat) (see notes for pork shoulder)
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish (optional)

Al Pastor Sauce:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) pineapple juice
  • 1 oz (30 g) achiote paste
  • 2 teaspoons guajillo chile powder (ground guajillo chile pepper)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

For the Tacos:

  • 12 - 14 corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into small dices (see notes)
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges each for serving

Instructions

Make al Pastor Sauce:

  • In a blender or food processor, place all the sauce ingredients and blend until well combined and smooth. Set aside.

Make al Pastor Pork:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and keep sautéing for 1 more minute.
  • Add ground pork, use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to break up the ground beef into equal-size pieces as it cooks, and cook until no longer pink.
  • Stir in Al Pastor Sauce; mix until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired
  • Serve meat up hot on a warmed tortilla topped with, diced grilled pineapple, sliced red onion, freshly chopped cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Notes

 
Pork: For my 30-min version, you will need ground pork. I use 85% lean/15% fat ground pork. You can also make this recipe with pork shoulder in the slow cooker or on an outdoor grill - in that case; it won't be 30-min, though. Instructions are included above in the post body.
Achiote Paste: Achiote paste is made with annatto seeds, cumin, pepper, coriander, oregano, cloves, and garlic. It can be used as a sauce, marinade, or rub in many delicious traditional Mexican dishes including Cochinita Pibil and tacos al pastor. Unfortunately, this condiment is not easily found in most grocery stores, so I recommend looking for it in Latin groceries store or online (preferred choice).
Guajillo Chile Powder: Guajillo peppers have a sweet flavor and mild-medium heat. They are the second-most commonly used dried chili in Mexican cuisine after poblanos. 1 Guajillo Chile is equal to 1 teaspoon of Guajillo Chile powder. Unfortunately, this condiment is not easily found in most grocery stores, so I recommend looking for it in Latin groceries store or online (preferred choice).
Pineapple: if time allows, I highly recommend grilling the pineapple (for serving) until lightly charred before serving.
Vegetarian Version: Substitute ground pork for 2 lb sliced mushrooms.
Store: Let the meat cool, then place leftover ground pork into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Let the meat cool, then place leftover ground pork into an airtight container or a freezer Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure it is well sealed to avoid freezer burn. Thaw it in the refrigerator. To warm it up, drizzle a couple of tablespoons of chicken broth over the meat, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat, and cover and heat to your liking.
 
If you're making this recipe, please read the whole post content to get lots of tips, tricks, variations, frequently asked questions, and step-by-step photos.
 
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Please note that nutritional information is a rough estimate, and it can vary depending on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sugar: 5g