Al pastor (or “shepherd’s style”) is pork that’s been marinated in chile and spit-grilled. The traditional Mexican method has slabs of pork marinated for one to two days in a chile sauce, then stacked on a spit and slowly cooked using a gas flame. A pineapple is placed on top of the spit, the juices of which drip down the pork, tenderizing and flavoring the meat. Since most home cooks don’t have access to a spit, we’ve adapted the technique for the home grill. The results come deliciously close to the real deal. The tacos are just small tortillas filled with the meat and topped with a warm slice of pineapple, fresh cilantro, and onion.
What to buy: Chile negro (also called a pasilla chile or pasilla negro) is the dried version of the chilaca chile. It can be purchased at most Mexican grocers or online. Note that ancho chiles are often mislabeled as pasillas. If you cannot find chile negro, you can use ancho chiles or mulato chiles instead.
Mexican oregano (a relative of lemon verbena) can be found in Latin markets or the Latin section of your supermarket.
Game plan: If you can, make the marinade the day before, coat the pork in it, and refrigerate overnight. If you are pinched for time, you can marinate the meat for less time, but no less than 4 hours.
This recipe was featured as part of our No-Fail Mexican Favorites for Cinco de Mayo.