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Al Pastor-Inspired Tacos

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Basting Sauce:

1 cup honey

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter 

2 teaspoons ground coriander 

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 teaspoon saffron threads 

Yogurt Sauce:

1/2 cup whole milk yogurt

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

1 teaspoon dried mint 

1/2 teaspoon freshly minced garlic 

Kosher salt 

Roasted Tomatoes:

2 ripe tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Pickled Onions:

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 

1 teaspoon sugar 


1 medium white onion

2 pounds ground meat (lamb, beef or a mixture of the two) 

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

To Serve:

6 soft flour tortillas

Torn fresh cilantro and mint leaves


Special equipment:
a meat grinder; 6 koobideh swords or flat shish kebab skewers
  1. For the basting sauce: Add the honey, butter, coriander, cumin, salt, cinnamon, pepper and saffron to a small saucepan over low heat. Let cook 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. For the yogurt sauce: Combine the yogurt, vinegar, mint and garlic in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  3. For the roasted tomatoes: Preheat the broiler.
  4. Quarter the tomatoes, then toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and broil, checking occasionally to prevent burning, about 7 minutes, then turn over the tomatoes and roast until lightly charred, another 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
  5. For the pickled onions: Add the onions, vinegar, salt, sugar and 1 cup water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. For the meat: Grate the onion on the largest holes of a box grater and mix into the ground meat along with the salt. Shape the meat into 6 cigar shapes on koobideh swords or flat shish kebab skewers.
  7. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Grill the kebabs, basting with the saffron sauce occasionally, until charred on the outside and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  8. To serve: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  9. Warm the tortillas in a pan in the oven for 5 minutes.
  10. Spread a heaping spoonful of yogurt sauce on a tortilla. Add the meat, roasted tomatoes and pickled onions. Garnish with torn herbs.