While vacationing on Kauai a few years back, we stopped at a food truck called Al Pastor. The truck is named for the vertical rotisserie method they use to cook the pork.
The first go round, we went for the “fish taco,” which is hawked on sandwich boards all over the islands. It was grilled, a little mushy, and ultimately underwhelming. Not ones to give up, the next time we were passing by, we stopped in and ordered the truck’s eponymous dish: Tacos Al Pastor.
The three tacos were devoured in minutes, and left us wanting more. Soon we were wondering: Could we make those at home on the grill?
Looking into vertical rotisserie grills online, we were less than impressed. Industrial-sized kitchen options abounded, but the in-home selection was a little thin — even QVC could do better. So for our first go round, we went with the bamboo skewer. But all that meat is too much for one skewer. Doing some more browsing, we found the Brazilian Gaucho Skewer ($39.95). Made from stainless steel, it’s a durable accessory — easy to clean, and no fuss set up.
These were our results:
Here’s the recipe we followed, enjoy from our friends at Tasty!
Here is what you’ll need!
Homemade Al Pastor
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder
3 tablespoons achiote paste
2 tablespoons guajillo chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
¾ cup white vinegar
1 cup pineapple juice
1 pineapple, skinned and sliced into 1-inch rounds
1 thick wooden skewer, trimmed to the height of your oven
10-12 small corn tortillas
1 white onion, chopped finely
1 cup cilantro, chopped finely
1 cup salsa of your choice
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
Slice the pork shoulder into about 1-cm slices, then transfer to a large dish or bowl.
In a bowl, combine the achiote powder, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar, and pineapple juice, mashing and stirring until smooth with no lumps.
Pour the marinade over the pork, then toss the pork slices to make sure that they are all coated on all sides. Wrap the dish/bowl in cling film then marinate the pork for at least 2 hours, up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, place down a slice or two of the pineapple. Take a wooden skewer and push it directly in the middle of the pineapple.
Remove the pork from the fridge and push the slices through the skewer, layering one after the other until there is a 1-inch gap at the top. Push another pineapple slice on top.
Bake for about an hour and a half, until slightly charred on the outside and deep red.
Rest the meat for about 10 minutes, then carve off thin slices of the pork.
Slice off thin pieces of the roasted pineapples as well.
To assemble and serve, place some pork on the tortillas, followed by a few pieces of pineapple, a sprinkle of onions, a pinch of cilantro, then a small spoonful of the salsa.