These Easy Tacos Al Pastor feature flavoured pork tenderloin, grilled with pineapple and onion and served with a fresh pineapple salsa.
I am a huge fan of Tacos Al Pastor, but the traditional method of spit-grilling for hours or days is beyond my reach. I also have a lack of access to the variety of chilis so often used in al pastor recipes. So I’ve learned to improvise with this easy recipe for making them at home.
If you are not familiar with al pastor tacos, they are pork tacos, that is marinated with spices, pineapple juice and vinegar and then grilled. Add in some grilled pineapple and onion and it’s a whole lot of great flavour. These are served with a fresh salsa, with some fresh pineapple added into the mix as well.
My Easy Tacos Al Pastor start with pork tenderloin and can be cooked on the BBQ, in a grill pan or in the oven! The marinade uses mostly easy to find ingredients, with the exception of the Achiote paste, which I needed to buy from Amazon. It’s not a deal breaker though, so don’t worry if you don’t have it.
Tacos Al Pastor are not typically spicy hot. While the marinade has some chipotle peppers and adobo, by the time it’s grilled off, it’s not spicy at all. If you prefer things a little hotter, feel free to add in some more chilis or heat.
Cook’s Notes for Tacos Al Pastor
The longer you can marinate your pork, the better. I will do it up to 24 hours ideally, but at least 8 hours is fine. So set to marinate in the morning, to cook for dinner.
Note that it does take some time for the marinade to cool before you can add it to the meat, so allow at least 30 minutes for cooling. You can remove to a bowl and pop in the refrigerator to speed up the process, if you like.
I use canned pineapple rings here, simply so I don’t have to buy a whole container of pineapple juice for the 1/3 cup needed in the marinade. Using canned pineapple rings packed in pineapple juice, allows you to use the juice from the can for the marinade, as well as using the rings for the tacos.
I usually try to share recipes that use pretty standard ingredients, but you’ll note that this recipe calls for Achiote Paste, which I suspect may not be in most people’s pantry. It is a great flavour addition for these tacos and is easy to get through Amazon (and Amazon Canada, as well!) and is inexpensive. So if you are a fan of Tacos Al Pastor, it would be worth picking up.
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Easy Tacos Al Pastor
- 1 2 lb pork tenderloin
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Achiote paste *See notes for alternative
- 2 canned chipotle peppers chopped + 1 tsp adobo sauce
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1-2 rings canned pineapple
- 1/4 small red onion
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 1 medium jalapeno seeded and diced
- 1 tomato seeds removed and diced
- 3 rings canned pineapple diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Pinch of salt
- 6 small white corn tortillas heated or grilled
- lime wedges for drizzling
- Prepare the marinade: Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine. Remove to a food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely (can pop in the fridge to speed up the process, but be sure it is cooled before adding to the meat).
- Remove the silverskin and any visible fat from the pork tenderloin. Butterfly the pork, but slicing from end to end, almost, but not all the way through. Open up and press flat. Place into a plastic bag. Pour cooled marinade into bag and rub to coat the meat. Seal bag and refrigerate 8-24 hours.
- Before cooking meat, prepare salsa by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine, cover and set aside.
- *Regardless of how you are cooking, the pineapple and onion will not take as long to cook as the pork, so simply remove when done and continue cooking the pork until cooked through.
- To cook on BBQ: Grill pork, pineapple rings and onion quarter until pork is cooked through and pineapple and onion are nicely grilled.
- To cook in grill pan on stove top: Cook pork, pineapple rings and onion quarter over medium-high heat until cooked through and/or grilled.
- To cook in the oven: Place pork, pineapple rings and onion quarter on a foil-lined baking sheet under the oven broiler, about 6-8 inches from the heat. Cook until cooked through.
- Remove pork, pineapple rings and onion to a cutting board. Allow pork to rest a few minutes, then, using a sharp knife, cut the pork, pineapple and onion into small slices and toss to combine.
- To serve: Heat or grill tortillas. Spoon in some of the pork/pineapple/onion mixture. Top with salsa. Serve with lime wedges, for drizzling.