Shepherd-Style Spicy Pork Tacos (Tacos al Pastor)
With pork of a glistening, deep red hue, flecks of golden pineapple, bits of diced onion, a crown of cilantro leaves, and a flavor that’s as rich as it gets, tacos al pastor might be most regal of all tacos. Can they be made at home or are they best left to the expertise of taquerías?
Why This Recipe Works
We chose pork shoulder for our tacos al pastor recipe because with long cooking it turns succulent and tender, and is easy to shred into bits for filling tacos. In lieu of spit-roasting, we decided to cook the pork in the oven at 350 degrees, a temperature high enough to allow some browning and the formation of a surface crust. To season the pork, we weeded through a long list of possible ingredients and found the earthiness and spiciness that we were after by using only two common types of dried chiles, ancho and chipotle. Pineapple is a key ingredient in any tacos al pastor recipe, so we spiked our pork seasonings with some pineapple juice and liked its sweet, bright effect. We worked actual pineapple into the mix by placing a couple of pineapple slices beneath the pork before roasting.
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