I love Tacos al pastor but have never made them myself. They are a popular street food here in SoCal and Mexico and I finally decided to try my hand at making some. Forgive me as this is a long one.
I started out by thawing a Pork Butt I had in the freezer that I had purchased on sale for $.99 a lb. (7.93 lbs.)
I unwrapped it and found there was still some ice crystals on it. (which is what I was hoping for to make cutting it easier)
I cut it in half and deboned the other half.
I proceeded to cut it all up into approximately 3/8” slices.
I placed this into a large container, covered it and placed it into the fridge. I now gathered up the ingredients for the al pastor marinade.
Here’s the recipe I used. (It’s a combination of several recipes I watched on YouTube) Not shown in the picture are the pineapple juice and the vinegar.
8 lb bone-in pork shoulder (deboned)
4 tablespoons achiote paste (I used 1 – 3.5 oz. brick)
2 guajillo peppers (seeded and re-hydrated)
2 ancho peppers (seeded and re-hydrated)
3 Chipotle peppers + all the adobo sauce from 1 - 7 oz. can
5 garlic cloves
¼ small white or yellow onion
1 oz. Piloncillo (substitute brown sugar if you can find it)
1 tbsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon (preferably Mexican)
1 tsp, cloves
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup OO
¼ cup of the water from re-hydrating the peppers
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice
1 pineapple, skinned and sliced into 1-inch (2 cm) rounds (for the spit/trompo)
(Note: I only had some small guajillo chiles so I used 6 of them)
Everybody went into the pool for a spin.
I poured some marinade into the bottom of a very large bowl and then some pork slices.
I repeated this process until all the pork was in the bowl and pour the rest of the marinade over the top. I then stirred it until everything had a nice coating.
Now how will I cook this? Tacos al pastor is a dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma spit grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants. It is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit known as a trompo. I don’t have such an exotic grill, so I had to improvise. I had found this indoor grill plate at a local thrift store for $2.17
and used it to create a vertical spit.
I now peeled and sliced up the pineapple
And started my vertical trompo stack adding a slice of pineapple and red onion after every 6 or 7 layers of meat.
I place the stack in the center of my weber redhead with coals all around it.
I then setup my craving station.
Here it is after approximately 30 minutes.
After approximately 75 minutes I removed the trompo and craved off the outer charred layer. (The char is an important part of the taste profile)
I then placed the trompo back in the redhead to char the outside again.
I then repeated the process another 3 times.
After I had trimmed off the outside 3 times I set up my taco cart errrr bar
and started to assemble my street taco plate.
Here it is served up with a Modelo Especial.
This was a little on the spicy side but oh so delicious!
Thanks for looking.
I accidentally bought a two pack of bonless pork shoulder from Costco. I have always used bone-in, so this is new to me. As I was preparing the butts trimming sinew, silver skin, hard fat, veins etc, I started also cutting portions of the butts into sections. I now have two 4 lb boneless butts and several large scraps.
This has provided me the opportunity to use the vertical spit I bought from Ceramicgrillstore.com a few months ago. I'm excited to say the least.
I'll post picture of the meal later this afternoon when I build it get it going. Here are pics of what I ended up with after trimming and then the portions I will smoke overnight for pulled pork tomorrow.
I got up early yesterday and threw a pork shoulder on the kamado for the first time. I've cooked a number of spare ribs, beef ribs one time, and a lot of hot & fast cooks -- burgers, fajitas, chicken, etc. I'd have to say this was one of the best (and easiest) long cooks I've done.
Process: Got up at 5am, started the kamado and seasoned the butt with some Mongoes rub (it's a family friend's rub, he doesn't market or sell it -- but he should!). Once the Joe was up to temp, I threw on a few pieces of apple wood and one piece of hickory, let it roll for 30 mins or so then put the butt on, fat cap up (i'll probably put it down next time to get some more bark). Then, just waited for a few hours before taking a peek at the future prize. I spritzed with apple juice/apple cider mix and basted with cola once every hour starting at the 4-5 hour mark. I let it rest for about 2-3 hours wrapped in 3 layers of foil, one towel, and inside a cheap styrofoam cooler. I had the joe running at about 275 but wanted it a bit lower so around 2-3 hours in I tweaked it down to 240-250 and let it ride the rest of the way. Butt was 9lbs and took right at 9 hrs to cook. We had a side of beans and corn (forgot the greens this time -- oops :)) but didn't get any pics of that. My better half said it was the best cook yet, so hopefully I'll get to do it again soon. At any rate, enjoy the pics!
First of all, this month has certainly flown by and I have been extremely busy. I wanted to take a moment to talk about a cook my wife and I did recently for a great cause.
We had volunteered to cook dinner for Davis House in Lebanon, NH through my wife's work. I wish I had taken more photos, but like I said, we've been swamped lately. We decided on doing a pulled pork. The feedback we received was that the everyone loved it (from what we've heard, pasta is a more common meal there). The non profit organization helps out with families of young patients at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. The house is a place to rest your head and have a meal close to your little one(s) while they are being treated. It's close to our hearts as we've had family use this benefit. More info can be found on their website: https://davids-house.org/. We recommend checking it out and donating if possible.
10 pound bone in butt was trimmed, then marinated overnight in apple juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper. It was rubbed with the same dry ingredients in the morning before being placed on grill. Got my grill to 210 dome temp and started shutting down. Smoking wood was 50/50 mix of apple and pecan woods. Let it start to build a nice crust, then at 5.5 hours in with an internal temp of 120 to 130 I began to mop apple juice on the butt every hour.
This helped to keep it moist and seemed to build a more uniform crust. The apple juice we used is more like an unfiltered cider, it settled quickly and must be shaken every time you use it.
We kept the grill right around 240 to 250 for 14.5 hours until probe temp beeped an alarm at the set temp of 203. Stall took forever it seemed like....
We wrapped it in hd tin foil and placed it in the Pelican cooler for 5 hours(sleep time). Pulled out in the morning and shredded before heading off to work. I didn't even get a bite of it! It looked and smelled amazing though(top pic is actually just prior to wrapping, you can see the hint of smoke ring from where it broke pulling off the grill) Here it is mid cook.
Pulling it from grill(when it broke).
Sorry the pics kind of stink. This honestly looked to be one of the juiciest pork butts that I've ever done and it smelled truly wonderful. Can't wait to try this method again for our own. But this was a cook for a few families to hopefully have a bit of normalcy and a good bite to eat. From what we heard they really enjoyed it. We were assured that none was leftover. We provided everything for the dinner including condiments and rolls as well as corn and homemade coleslaw. This felt great to contribute to such an awesome place and I recommend everyone getting involved with a local charity and experience the feeling as well. We will be doing a brisket for them in the fall! We also cooked a corned beef flat, but it didn't get pictured. It came out great, and even my kid loved eating it.
Put this 8 pound bone shoulder on the grill around 10 pm Friday as we had guests coming most of the day on Saturday. Rubbed with Jake's Grillin' Coffee Rub. It went on at a dome temp of 250. Smoked over pecan and apple for 12.5 hours overnight. Wrapped in foil and put in the cooler for 4 hours. Came out moist and wonderful with an awesome bark. Company had enjoyed it as well. Will put up some finished product pics later...