Al Pastor is a slow, vertically cooked marinated pork butt or shoulder. Its smokey and sweet unique flavor profile comes from the guajillo peppers, anchiote paste and pinapple used in the marinate.
Al Pastor is typically cooked on a vertical spit and topped with pineapple. As the pork cooks, the juices run down the meat and its natural enzymes help to tenderize it. This vertical cooked method was brought to mexico by the Lebanese who immigrated there in the early 1900’s and I couldn’t be more happier that they did! Al Pastor is one of my favorites and I’m certain it will be yours as well. Below is my take on Al Pastor…
Al Pastor Recipe
- 2 lbs of pork butt or shoulder
- 8 dried guajillo peppers
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp anchiote paste
- 1 pinapple
- 1 cup of pinapple juice
- 1 medium vadellia onion
- Vertical cooking spit (or heavy bamboo skewers)
- In a large bowl, soak your dried guajillo peppers in hot water for 15-20 minutes. When softened, remove the stems and seeds.
- Prepare the pork by slicing it into 1/8″ – 1/4″ slices. Season the slices with a fairly generous amount of salt.
- Add your softened guajillo peppers, garlic, chipotle in adobo sauce, anchiote paste and 1/2 cup of pinapple juice in a cuisinart or blender. Blend until smooth.
- Mix the marinate in with your salted pork slices and let sit refrigerated for a minimum of 1 hr, or, up to two days
- Prepare your Big Green Egg (or grill), by preheating it to 450 degrees..
- Remove the skin and slice your pineapple into 1/2″ slices.
- Slice the onion into 1/4″ slices.
- Place two slices of pineapple in the bottom of your vertical spit (alternatively, two pineapple slices in the center of a foil tray, place two bamboo skewers vertically into the pineapple)
- Start layering your marinated pork horizontally up the vertical spit (or skewers), layering in slices of onion after every few layers. When you reach the top of the spit, place two pineapple slices.
- Place on your grill and cook for approximately 3 hrs or until the internal temp has reached 165 degrees. After the first hour, baste the pork with the juices that gather in the spit tray (or foil tray) every 20-30 min.
- Remove from the grill and slice vertically down the sides into thin strips. Mix the strips with the juices from the tray and add small pineapple chucks from the left over pineapple.
- Serve immediately in tacos, burritos or bowls.