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Grilled Tacos al Pastor
Lebanese immigrants introduced spit-roasted meats known as shawarma to Mexico in the 19th century, and eventually tacos al pastor came to be. The dish consists of chili-seasoned spit-roasted pork shaved into thin slices and served in corn tortillas along with chopped pineapple, onion and cilantro. For our simplified version, we use pork tenderloin that has been pounded, briefly marinated and grilled. Chopped grilled pineapple tossed with fresh cilantro completes the tacos, along with a sprinkle of chopped white onion and, if desired, shredded red cabbage. To help simplify prep, purchase an already peeled and cored pineapple. The four chipotle chilies in this recipe yield medium-hot spiciness; if you like, reduce the heat by using only two or three. Leftover pork does not keep well because the raw pineapple will break down the meat. If you don't plan to serve all of the pork, set some aside before adding the sauce at the end.
medium pineapple, peeled
cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for the pineapple and grill grate
01Cut seven ½-inch-thick rounds from the pineapple. Quarter 2 of the rounds, trimming and discarding the core, and place in a food processor or blender. Add the oil, brown sugar, garlic, chipotles and adobo, cumin, ancho powder and 4 teaspoons salt. Process or blend until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl or jar as needed. Pour ½ cup of the puree into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish; pour the rest into a small bowl, stir in 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and set aside.
I made this for Cinco de Mayo dinner, along with a side of elote, and pineapple Margaritas (and followed by key lime pie). I was concerned that 4 teaspoons of salt in the sauce would be too much, but it really wasn't. I had to grill it on my countertop grill since it was pouring rain out, but I can only imagine it would be even better cooking outside on the grill. My family can't wait for me to make it again. This will definitely go into regular rotation.
I found the sauce to be too salty. I wished I had added to teaspoons of salt and then adjusted for taste.