Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al pastor is a dish developed in central Mexico that is based on shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico.


Read more here about The Tastes of Mexico


Being derived from shawarma, it is also similar to the Turkish döner kebab and the Greek gyros.

The traditional way to make tacos al pastor is with thin slices of marinated pork piled or layered on top of each other on to a large trompo.

“Trompo” is Spanish for “spinning top.”

Once all of the marinated meat is placed on the trompo, it then spins around in front of an open fire until it is cooked through.

Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al Pastor

When the outer layer of meat is cooked, the taquero or person preparing the tacos cuts off layers of meat so that inner layers can continue to cook as well.

As he cuts the meat, it falls off the trompo in small pieces directly onto the tortilla that the taquero holds with his or her other hand.

Taqero Cutting Meat From a Trompo - tacos al pastor
Taquero Cutting Meat From a Trompo

The taco is then served with finely chopped onions, cilantro, pieces of pineapple and either a red or green salsa.

Marinade For Tacos al Pastor

For some it can be hard to make tacos al pastor the traditional way, and it can be difficult to find a place that serves tacos al pastor cooked up the traditional way as well.

There is no reason though for not trying to replicate the flavors without the use a trompo.

You can use 2 to 3 pounds of a pork tenderloin or a pork shoulder blade cut into small chunks and placed into the following marinade.

  • 4 Guajillo Chile boiled, de-seeded, and cleaned
  • 1 Ancho Chile boiled, de-seeded, and cleaned
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 3/4 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 Tablespoon each of
  • Oregano – Thyme – Black Pepper
  • Cumin – Paprika – Salt
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • Blend all of the ingredients together until completely combined.
  • Strain the liquid over a bowl to end up with a smooth marinade.
  • Add one layer of meat in a large bowl or baking dish and cover with the marinade, and then repeat in layers until all of the meat and marinade have been used.
  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
  • Remove from the refrigerator and grill the meat until cooked through.
  • Remove from grill and allow to cool a little and cut into thin slices to serve on warmed corn tortillas.

We topped our tacos with a mango and purple onion salsa (made ahead of time).

Peel and pit one medium mango and dice into small pieces and place into a glass bowl.

Next dice into small pieces one small purple onion and place into bowl with the diced mango.

Chop in some cilantro and squeeze the juice of one small lime over mango mixture and mix in.

If you desire add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix in. Set salsa aside until ready to top your tacos.

Warm some corn tortillas, add meat and top with mango salsa and enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s