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Al pastor, meaning literally "shepherd style," is a traditional way to prepare pork, lamb, and goat meat that originated in northern Mexico. Historically, pigs and goats were slow-roasted whole over a mesquite fire, but over time preparation methods evolved. In Mexico city there are taquerias dedicated mostly or even exclusively to tacos al Pastor. Tacos al Pastor are made from pork meat that has been marinated in a secret recipe and then cooked in a rotisserie with pineapple on top. Similar to the roast lamb from Greek delis, taquerias stack the marinated pork al pastor into a large cylindrical heap and cook it on a vertical spit. The tacos should be very small (almost like 2 bites size) and garnished with cilantro (coriander), chopped onion and the pineapple. Add your favorite hot sauce (if desired). I haven't tried this myself, just thought it would make a good contribution to Recipezaar. Marinating time not included in preparation time.
- For the marinade: Seed the chiles, and chop finely.
- Mash them together with the garlic, cloves, and cumin; add vinegar (avoid touching the chiles and vinegar with your bare hands if possible to prevent burning the skin).
- Boil the ingredients in heavy saucepan until it thickens into a heavy paste, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
- Let cool.
- Cut the pork meat in thin steaks or slices (normally the slices rest on top of each other while marinating and cooking).
- Apply the paste to the meat putting one slice on top of the other (At an authentic taqueria, this would form a unit topped with pineapple for added flavor and moisture, and placed into the rotisserie and rotated constantly).
- Cover and place in the fridge at least 6 hours (or overnight).
- If using a rotisserie, cook the meat until well done.
- If not using a rotisserie, drain the marinade and cut the pork in small pieces.
- Put in a frying pan with a little oil and cook the meat with small pieces of pineapple making sure the pork is well-cooked, using care not to burn.
- While the meat is cooking, heat the tortillas.
- Finely chop the onion and cilantro together.
- Cut the limes in quarters.
- Serve the cooked meat wrapped in the hot tortillas, and garnished with the chopped cilantro, onion, pineapple, and the lime quarters.
The flavor of this is fantastic. I usually marinade the meat in a zip lock bag and then broil with pineapple slices/chunks resting on top of the meat slices. Also tastes great as a chicken marinade.