The age old debate of whether pineapple belongs on pizza may never have an answer. But one thing is for sure: the sweet, sometimes tart fruit certainly has a forever home on tacos. The citrusy burst of flavor adds a welcome brightness when served over sliced marinated pork and fresh corn tortillas.
If your go-to at Mexican restaurants or when making tacos at home is simply chicken or steak with some cheese, lettuce and tomato, it’s time to diversify your palate. Tacos al pastor is a popular dish across the world but it has really made waves in Mexico and the United States.
Traditionally, pork shoulder is marinated in a vat of fruit juices, chilies and spices then placed on a trompo, or a vertical spit to cook for hours. While the pork spins on the spit, the fat slowly drips off, forming a crispy outside without comprimising the meat’s juicy center.
This recipe from Mexican culinary maven Pati Jinich simplifies the process for the home cook without sacrificing the integrity and soul of the dish. Here, pork is sliced into half-inch pieces and marinated in a homemade anchiote adobo marinade for up to 48 hours to produce a rich, vibrant flavor that saturates every bit of meat.
And instead of slow cooking the meat and using a trompo to get a crispy coating, this recipe quickly sears the pork slices until they’re browned on both sides. The pineapple is also seared after being brushed with the same marinade, which breaks down the fruit’s bromelain enzyme and gives it a soft, juicy texture that melts in your mouth.
Once the pork and pineapple is done, assemble the tacos on a warmed corn tortilla with onions and cilantro. But don’t let your taco Tuesday end there, we have plenty more fun and fresh taco recipes to get you through the entire week and beyond.
- 3 pounds pork shoulder or butt, sirloin cutlets or butterfly chops, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3 cups achiote adobo marinade
- 1/2 pineapple (cut in the middle, not lengthwise), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, to garnish
- 1 cup roughly chopped white onion, to garnish
- 2 limes, cut into quarters, to garnish
- Shredded queso asadero, Mexican Oaxaca or Chihuahua, or any melty cheese of your choice
Step 1: Marinate the meat in 2 1/2 cups of the adobo marinade for at least 3 hours, or up to 48 hours, in the refrigerator (reserve 3/4 cup of marinade to brush on the pineapple before grilling/cooking and to finish off meat).
Step 2: When ready to make tacos, remove the meat from the refrigerator.
Step 3: Brush some of the reserved marinade on the pineapple slices. Reserve the remaining marinade.
Step 4: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon oil.
Step 5: Place as many pineapple slices as will fit on the skillet and sear for about 3 minutes per side, until juicy and lightly charred on both sides. Remove from heat. Repeat until all the pineapple has been cooked.
Step 6: When cool enough to handle, cut the pineapple rounds into thin pieces about 1- to 2-inches long and 1/4-inch wide, removing and discarding the core. Place in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Step 7: Drizzle another tablespoon of oil onto the hot skillet.
Step 8: Lightly sprinkle the meat with salt to taste. Sear as many slices of meat as will fit in the pan, without overcrowding, for about 2 minutes per side until browned on both sides. Cook in batches if necessary.
Step 9: Transfer the meat to a chopping board. Cut it crosswise into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch wide.
Step 10: Once done with all the meat, reduce the heat to medium, place the meat back in the skillet and pour the remaining unused marinade on top. Stir and cook for another minute. Cover and set on the table.
Step 11: On a pre-heated cast iron skillet set over medium heat, heat the corn tortillas 1 to 2 minutes per side until thoroughly cooked, lightly browned and crisp on the outside.
Step 12: Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer and bring to the table along with the meat, pineapple, chopped cilantro, chopped onion, lime wedges, and salsa of your choice. Quick pickled red onions would be a great addition as well (see video below from The Daily Meal’s YouTube channel).
Step 13: Let everyone assemble their own tacos.