Al Pastor - Mexican Style Pork

By Mark Lawrence

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Al Pastor is a traditional Mexican dish. Al Pastor literally means "shepard style." You can cook any meat this way, but in the US it's almost always pork. In Mexico it would be pork, kid, or lamb. It's normally served with salsa, guacamole, and steamed tortillas.

2-3 lbs pork butt roast
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cupsvinegar
3 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
4 - 10 jalapeno peppers
1 can pineapple chunks
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin

  1. Remove jalapeno seeds. Chop the garlic and jalapenos finely. In a sauce pan, add garlic, jalapeno, oil, pineapple juice, vinegar, oregano, cumin.

  2. Boil the marinade, reducing it to a thick paste.

  3. Trim as much visible fat off the pork as possible. Slice the pork into thin strips, dip in marinade paste, place in a bowl. Marinate several hours, preferably over night in refrigerator.

  4. Roast covered in oven at 350 for 2 hours. Add a bit of water as necessary to keep it moist. Shred the pork into small pieces.

Serve in tacos, burritos, or tostadas. For tacos, lightly fry some corn tortillas in canola oil. Put two tortillas together, add Al Pastor, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, and a couple wedges of lime. Optionally serve with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa made of chopped tomatoes, tomatillas, jalapenos, cilantro, and onion. No cheese or lettuce on these tacos.

Guacamole is made with fresh ripe avocados (no longer firm when you squeeze them). Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, twist to open. Pull out the pit. Using the largest spoon you have, scoop the the shell off. Mash in a bowl with a fork, add a clove or two of garlic diced very small, optionally a couple tablespoons of sour cream, and optionally a tablespoon or two of the salsa above. If you cannot buy ripe avocados, get them firm and leave them on a window sill for a couple days. Like bananas, avocados should not be stored in a refrigerator.

To mince the garlic: place the garlic cloves on a cutting board, and place the flat of a large chef's knife on a clove, then hit the other side with your fist. Peal the clove (it will be easy now). Place the pealed cloves near each other on the cutting board, hold the tip of the chef's knife on the board with one hand about 3" away from the cloves, and rock the blade up and down repeatedly. The edge of the knife is always touching the cutting board, you can't possibly get cut.