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Learn how to prepare tacos al pastor using a traditional Mexican recipe with slow-roasted pork, tomatillo salsa, adobo sauce and garnished with onion and pineapple. Watch as Iron Chef contestant Julian Medina marinates and cooks a leg of pork to perfection for his incredible taco recipe all the way from the kitchen of his celebrated New York City restaurant, Toloache.

Check out Chef Medina’s recipe below or watch the video!

Tacos Al Pastor Recipe
Serves 4

For the Tomatillo-Chile de Arbol Salsa (Serves 1 quart)

  • 5 medium-large tomatillos, husks removed, then quartered
  • 1 small Spanish onion, quartered
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded, then each half sliced into quarters
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, cut lengthwise into 12 wedges
  • ¼ cup water

For the Adobo Sauce (Serves 1 quart)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon oregano, dried
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 chipotle peppers, dried
  • 10 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and deveined
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 5 cups water
  • Kosher salt

For the Adobo Sauce and Pork:

  • 1 pound Berkshire pork shoulder, cut into ½-inch slices, pounded
  • 2 cups adobo, see above
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • Kosher salt to taste

For the Taco:

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • ¾ cup tomatillo-chile de arbol salsa, see page
  • 4 pineapple slices 
  • ½ cup Spanish onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges


For the Tomatillo-Chile de Arbol Salsa:

  1. Place the tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, garlic and water in a blender or food processor, purée until smooth. Season with salt to taste then set aside at room temperature.

For the Adobo Sauce:

  1. Pre-heat a large skillet over a medium flame. Combine the olive oil, onions and garlic, allow to cook for five minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, oregano, cumin and chipotle, then cook for an additional two minutes. Add the guajillos, water, pineapple juice and salt; cook until the guajillos are tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the flame and set pan aside. 
  2. When the mixture cools purée in a blender until smooth. Strain into a bowl then add the sherry vinegar, salt to taste.

For the Pork Shoulder:

  1. Marinate the pork shoulder in the adobo sauce and the pineapple juice for half hour. Season the pork shoulder with Kosher salt.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Create two stacks of pork in a baking dish. Pour the remaining adobo sauce on top of the pork slices cover with aluminum and roast for approximately one hour, or until meat is tender. Remove from heat, let meat rest for 3 minutes then chop into approximately ¼” cubes. Set aside but keep meat warm.

To assemble and serve:

  1. Heat the griddle to a medium heat, warm the tortillas until soft.
  2. Set a grill to medium heat, place the pineapple slices on the grill. Let cook for 2 minutes then flip over, cook for another 2 minutes then remove and then dice grilled pineapple into ⅛” cubes.
  3. For each taco, place a generous portion of roasted pork cubes, drizzle over about 1 teaspoon of the tomatillo-chile de arbol salsa. Top the taco with the grilled pineapple, onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedge.
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    I want to learn how to make this. #AlPastor