Tacos al Pastor is a classic Mexican taco filling of pork tenderloin marinated in pineapple, cilantro, onion and spices, served in tortillas.
This is an easy, delicious Mexican recipe that takes a while to marinate but almost no time at all to cook. With just a little planning ahead, you can have an easy and flavorful weeknight dinner that everyone will love. Tacos al Pastor are filled with tender pork tenderloin pieces that have been marinated in a tangy, spiced sauce of fresh pineapple, onion, fresh cilantro, chili powder and handful of other pantry spices.
For this Tacos al Pastor recipe, you’ll want to let the pork tenderloin sit in the spice mixture to marinate for at least 4 hours. If you have the extra time, letting it sit overnight to will fully flavor and tenderize the meat for the best tacos ever. Once the pork has become tender and absorbed the flavor, you just put it in a skillet on medium-high heat until cooked through and the outsides are golden brown.
The sauce and pork cooking is sure to fill your kitchen up with mouthwatering smells that will make tummies growl. These tacos are a light main dish and go great with your favorite Mexican side dishes like Mexican Rice and Refried Beans. For the toppings, these street tacos are normally served with chopped white onion and fresh cilantro. Feel free to add all your favorite toppings though like Guacamole, cheese, lime wedges, Fresh Salsa, and sour cream.
What to Serve with Tacos
How to Make
- Marinate: Combine pork and all the marinade ingredients in a Ziplock plastic bag. Squeeze out any air before sealing so the meat is completely covered. Refrigerate bag of pork pieces flat for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours. The longer you marinate the better and flipping the bag half way through makes sure every bit of pork can soak up the delicious sauce.
- Cook: Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add in the pork mixture including the marinade. Cook stirring often, for 10 minutes or until pork is done and the sauce is hot and bubbling.
- Serve: Serve taco filling on warm corn tortillas and top with onion and cilantro. You can also add your other favorite taco fillings or try this pork mixture on salads!
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- Spices and add-ins: Try adding paprika, onion powder, guajillo chilis, or a Cajun blend to add a bolder flavor. If you want really authentic flavors add achiote paste, a traditional blend of oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic and salt.
- Citrus: Drizzle pineapple juice, orange juice, or lime juice over the meat in the last few minutes of cooking. You can also cut fresh lime wedges and serve them on the side. Try some orange juice in the marinade to infuse the pork with a sweeter taste.
- Meat: This recipe calls for pork tenderloin but you can use other cuts of pork or different types of meat. Meats like pork shoulder or beef chuck roast will need longer marinating times to become tender, so you should marinate them for at least 10 hours. Chicken breast or chicken thighs take less time to tenderize so that will reduce the marinating time.
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How to Store
- Serve: Tacos al Pastor can be at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Store: Store leftover Tacos al Pastor in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. For best flavor, reheat on the stove top in a skillet until warmed through.
- Freeze: You can freeze the pork filling for up to 3 months in a freezer safe plastic bag or airtight container. Always cool meat to room temperature completely before storing. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in a skillet on low heat.
Al Pastor Marinade:
- 1 pound pork tenderloin , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 8 ounce can pineapple tidbits in juice , drained
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
- 1 tablespoon Mexican-style chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic , chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 6 corn taco shells , warmed
- 1/2 cup onion , chopped
- cilantro , chopped
- Combine pork and marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag.
- Seal and chill 4 to 24 hours in refrigerator.
- Cook pork mixture in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until pork is done.
- Serve filling on warm tortillas and top with onion and cilantro.