Tacos al Pastor

August 13, 2012



It was a sad day this past week at the T. house.  Our sweet summer resident from Torreon, Mexico, Paola, had to pack her bags and return home. Both the girls and I moped and sulked around for days. We’re going to miss her so much; she filled our house with fun and giggles and sunshine.

Paola was an easy girl to host–she’s not a picky eater and was eager to try anything “new” at the dinner table. I love a guest like that. One thing Paola did not do, unlike the summer students we’ve hosted in the past, was request a dish that she craved/missed from home.  Those former requests forced me to spread my wings a little, do some research, and get busy in the kitchen. But our laid-back Paola just let me rest on my laurels*–and rest I did.  This has been the Summer of Sandwich. What can I say? It’s been hella hot and I am a lazy slob.

I did make one thing from Paola’s neck of the woods this summer, but not because she asked for it.  I was over at one of my favorite hangouts, Velva’s blog Tomatoes on the Vine, and noticed a delicious recipe for Tacos al Pastor.  What struck me about the recipe–aside from the mouth-watering picture accompanying it–was the inclusion of pineapple in the tacos. Pineapple as taco topping? Weird! But I like weird!

I asked Paola and she confirmed that yes, many folks in Mexico put pineapple on their tacos. Paola said her favorite rendition of Tacos al Pastor included grilled pineapple, and since we’re all about the grill during the summer, I thought it would be fun to re-create them at home.

Using Velva’s recipe as a starting point, I attacked my leaning tower of food rags, looking for similar recipes.  I found several, and all of them were a little different, but the basics were the same: marinated and grilled meat, fresh toppings, at least one kind of salsa (some of the recipes had 3 kinds of salsa/topping, and I wasn’t going there. I’m lazy.)

So, I just decided to putter around and put my own little spin on Tacos al Pastor. Paula’s favorite protein in tacos happens to be pork, so that choice was easy. We like things spicy, so I put some heat in both the marinade and the salsa. I’m an avocado freak, so I had to have some kind of avocado element in the recipe. Corn tortillas, not flour. Obviously, grilled pineapple.

But then I decided that we needed just a leeettle more freak factor in our tacos, so I brushed my pineapple with a rum and chile glaze. Because, you know, booze in food is awesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, pineapple in tacos is yummy! I liked how the smoky-sweet pineapple complemented the heat of the chiles, and grilled pork is, well, a very good thing.  So if you’re looking for a little adventure and weirdness in your life, I encourage you to make these. Feel free to tinker with the spice factor…or just about anything in this recipe. I seriously don’t think you can go wrong.

Summer’s winding down here. Paola’s return to school (and the minxes’ return this week) make me realize that fall is a-comin’, even though the weather’s still wearing summer colors.  Please send me your goodwill on Thursday, as Miss M. boards the bus for first grade. She’s a little nervous, and I’m a stinking wreck. I plan on spending at least several weeks bedridden, sucking my thumb in abject misery.  Miss M. has been my little partner in crime, my affable companion, my daily shot of sweetness…and now she’s off to full-day school. I can’t even type this without getting a bit weepy.

Damn school anyways. Those rotters, stealing my baby away. How dare they? Minx Bandits! Pixie Purloiners!

Did I mention that I’m a wreck?

Ah, well. I suppose I’ll adjust eventually. Send the Valium Salt Lick. And some tacos.

Tacos al Pastor

serves 6 generously



  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (trust me)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each, trimmed of silver skin



  • 2 cups purchased tomatillo salsa (you can use regular if you can’t find tomatillo, but the color of your salsa will be murky)
  • 3 large ripe avocados,  mashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste



  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons good rum
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Warm corn tortillas

Lime wedges

Shredded cabbage or lettuce, if desired


Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and shake to combine. Add pork tenderloins. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Oil your grill to keep the pineapple from sticking. Heat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple rings with the lid opened for 4-6 minutes, flipping once, or until nice char marks form. Remove from grill. Mix together rum, honey and cayenne. Brush on warm pineapple slices. Chop pineapple when cool.

Put the lid on the grill and continue heating on medium.

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Let pork stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Grill pork, with the lid closed, until evenly seared and the centers are barely pink, about 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. The internal temperature of the pork should be 150 degrees when fully cooked.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 8-10 minutes before slicing.

Mash the avocadoes with the lime juice. Add the rest of the salsa ingredients and mix well.

Heat the corn tortillas in a foil pouch in the oven until warm.

Slice the pork thinly.

Build tacos with a layer of pork, a dollop of salsa and some of the grilled pineapple. Serve with lime wedges for serving and shredded cabbage/lettuce, if desired.


*Where did that phrase come from, anyways? “Resting on my laurels…” I’d look it up, but I’m {ahem} lazy.

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