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An acid-sharp pineapple salsa balances the spices in this broiled version of a central Mexican classic
Milk Street Bowtie Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor

1 hour

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Tacos al Pastor

Free

We combine tender broiled pork, spicy chilies and the subtle smokiness of charred pineapple in this take on tacos al pastor. The dish is from Mexico but has Levantine roots, stemming from the 19th century when Lebanese immigrants arrived, bringing their tradition of vertical spits for roasting lamb shawarma. Not finding much lamb, cooks switched to pork and instead of sandwiching the meat in flatbread, they used tortillas. Subsequent generations added pineapple and dried chilies. For everyday ease, we use pork tenderloin that has been pounded, briefly marinated and broiled. Chopped pineapple, also broiled, and fresh finely chopped white onion completes the tacos. For some extra color and crunch, offer finely shredded red cabbage for sprinkling. To simplify prep, you can buy fresh pineapple that has already been peeled, cored and sliced.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t substitute regular chili powder for the ancho chili powder. If you can’t find ancho chili powder, pulverize whole ancho chilies (stemmed, seeded and torn) in a spice grinder.

1 hour

1 medium pineapple, peeled
1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for baking sheet
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled
4 chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ancho chili powder
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus lime wedges, to serve
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
8 corn tortillas, warmed
Finely chopped white onion, to serve
Ingredients
  • 1

    medium pineapple, peeled

  • ¼

    cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for baking sheet

  • ¼

    cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 8

    medium garlic cloves, peeled

  • 4

    chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 4

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 4

    teaspoons ancho chili powder

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and halved lengthwise

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus lime wedges, to serve

  • cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 8

    corn tortillas, warmed

  • Finely chopped white onion, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    Slice the pineapple into seven ½-inch-thick rounds. Quarter 2 rounds, trimming and discarding the core. In a food processor, puree the quartered pineapple slices, oil, brown sugar, garlic, chipotles and adobo, cumin, ancho powder and 2 teaspoons salt until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour ½ cup into a baking dish; pour the rest into a medium bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Set both aside.
  2. 02
    Place the tenderloin halves between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork to an even ½-inch thickness. Season both sides of each piece with salt and pepper, place in the baking dish and turn to coat with the puree. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. 03
    Meanwhile, heat the broiler to high with a rack about 4 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with extra-wide foil and mist with cooking spray. Arrange the 5 remaining pineapple slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the slices with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then broil until charred in spots, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pineapple to a cutting board and set aside; reserve the baking sheet.
  4. 04
    Transfer the tenderloin halves to the same baking sheet and broil until charred in spots and the center reaches 140°F or is just barely pink when cut, 7 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. 05
    While the pork rests, chop the pineapple into rough ½-inch cubes, discarding the core. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cilantro and the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. 06
    Cut the pork crosswise into thin slices on the diagonal. Transfer to a medium bowl, then stir in any accumulated pork juices along with 3 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple puree. Serve the pork, chopped pineapple and remaining pineapple puree with the tortillas, chopped onion and lime wedges.
Tip: Don’t substitute regular chili powder for the ancho chili powder. If you can’t find ancho chili powder, pulverize whole ancho chilies (stemmed, seeded and torn) in a spice grinder.
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Tacos al Pastor

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1 hour

Tip

Don’t substitute regular chili powder for the ancho chili powder. If you can’t find ancho chili powder, pulverize whole ancho chilies (stemmed, seeded and torn) in a spice grinder.

Ingredients
  • 1

    medium pineapple, peeled

  • ¼

    cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for baking sheet

  • ¼

    cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 8

    medium garlic cloves, peeled

  • 4

    chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 4

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 4

    teaspoons ancho chili powder

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and halved lengthwise

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus lime wedges, to serve

  • cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 8

    corn tortillas, warmed

  • Finely chopped white onion, to serve

Step 1 of 6

Make the Pineapple Mixture

2
medium pineapple rounds
¼
cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for baking sheet
¼
cup packed dark brown sugar
8
medium garlic cloves, peeled
4
chipotle chilies in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
4
teaspoons ground cumin
4
teaspoons ancho chili powder
2
teaspoons salt
1
tablespoons lime juice

Slice the pineapple into seven ½-inch-thick rounds. Quarter 2 rounds, trimming and discarding the core.


In a food processor, puree the quartered pineapple slices, oil, brown sugar, garlic, chipotles and adobo, cumin, ancho powder and 2 teaspoons salt until smooth, about 1 minute.


Pour ½ cup into a baking dish; pour the rest into a medium bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Set both aside.

Step 2 of 6

Marinate the Pork

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Place the tenderloin halves between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork to an even ½-inch thickness. Season both sides of each piece with salt and pepper, place in the baking dish and turn to coat with the puree. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Step 3 of 6

Char the Pineapples

4
medium pineapple rounds
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Meanwhile, heat the broiler to high with a rack about 4 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with extra-wide foil and mist with cooking spray. Arrange the 5 remaining pineapple slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the slices with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then broil until charred in spots, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pineapple to a cutting board and set aside; reserve the baking sheet.

Step 4 of 6

Broil the tenderloin

Transfer the tenderloin halves to the same baking sheet and broil until charred in spots and the center reaches 140°F or is just barely pink when cut, 7 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Step 5 of 6

Make the Salsa

½
cup chopped fresh cilantro
1
tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

While the pork rests, chop the pineapple into rough ½-inch cubes, discarding the core. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cilantro and the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step 6 of 6

Serve

8
corn tortillas, warmed
Finely chopped white onion, to serve

Cut the pork crosswise into thin slices on the diagonal. Transfer to a medium bowl, then stir in any accumulated pork juices along with 3 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple puree. Serve the pork, chopped pineapple and remaining pineapple puree with the tortillas, chopped onion and lime wedges.

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