Chicken Al Pastor Tacos

I have to tell you. I am super reluctant to share this recipe for Off the Spit Al Pastor Tacos with you guys.

It”s kind of like that stingy old grandma who dies with her recipe for the best chocolate cake because she knows it’s the recipe that keep her family coming over and visiting.

That’s how that recipe is in my house, I don’t care what my peeps are doing, they will ALL show up.

It’s just that good.

A few years back I got this cookbook.

You’ll remember my rave review (click here to view). Tacolicious is one of my favorite cookbooks to pull out to make delicious Mexican food.

This book by restaurateers Sara Deseran along with Joe Hargrave, Andtelmo Fariai and Mike Barrow and publisher Ten Speed Press is one of my all time favorites! thanks to them for permission to share this long loved recipe of our family!

I have probably  made these Off the Spit Al Pastor Tacos so many times I could make them with one hand tied behind my back, blindfolded and upside down.

Just kidding…don’t ask me to do that.

The process is simple. Just whiz the marinade up in a blender, pour it over the pork (we buck tradition and use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead), and marinate overnight. The next day you just throw the meat on the grill. It boasts the lovely orange-red hue of al pastor and gets some nice charred black spots on it as well. When the meat is almost done, grill some pineapple wedges, then cut them up into bits.

Serve them both sprinkled over a grilled corn tortilla with chopped onions and cilantro, a bit of Cotija cheese and a squeeze of lime.

They are fantastic!

OH! And the Legendary Orange Sauce – you must make it. Click here to get the recipe!

Chicken Al Pastor Tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from Tacolicious cookbook, Sara Deseran, Joe Hargrave and Ten Speed Press
Serves: 12
  • 4 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp achiote paste **see note
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried Mexican oregano *see note
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3½ lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into ½-inchthick slices (reserve any trimmings for another use) or 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple grilled and chopped into small pieces
  • Chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, salsa of choice, Cotija cheese (*see note)and lime wedges, for serving
  1. Put the chiles in a bowl, add hot water to cover, top the chiles with a weight to keep them submerged, and let soak for about 15 minutes, until softened.
  2. Drain the chiles and transfer them to a blender. Add the garlic, onion, pineapple juice, lime juice, vinegar, achiote paste, salt, oregano, and cumin and puree until smooth.
  3. Put the pork in a large, heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, add the chile puree, and seal the bag closed. Massage the contents of the bag to coat the pork evenly with the puree. Alternatively, place the pork slices and puree in a shallow baking dish, turn the slices to coat evenly, and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. Prepare a medium-hot fire for direct-heat cooking in a grill. Remove the pork from the marinade and let come to room temperature.
  5. Arrange the pork on the grill rack directly over the fire and grill, turning once with tongs, for about 3 minutes on each side, until it has a bit of char and is cooked through but not dry. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, chop into ½-inch cubes, and place in a serving bowl.
  6. Serve with the tortillas, pineapple, onion, cilantro, salsa, and lime.
Achiote paste, guajillo chiles, Mexican oregano and Cotija cheese can all be found in a Mexican or Latin market.

Mexican oregano is quite different than regular so try to find it if you can!

By Katie

Katie's love of cooking and eating good food has led her down a path of fun filled friend and family gatherings around the kitchen. She is an Oklahoma Food blogger, TV food personality for Freedom43tv, author of Food Lovers's Guide to Oklahoma and lover of all all the good things of life!

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