Tacos al Pastor

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr (plus 4 hr marinating)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

For the Marinade:

8 dried guajillo chile peppers

2 dried ancho chile peppers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped 

2 cups pineapple juice

1 cup fresh orange juice

5 tablespoons apple juice

1 cup Mexican beer (such as Tecate)

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground annatto

1 teaspoon ground cloves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Tacos:

6 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch-thick slabs

Borracho Tortillas, for serving (recipe follows)

Pineapple-Serrano Salsa, for topping (recipe follows)

Tomatillo salsa, crumbled cotija cheese, crushed chicharrónes (fried pork rinds), fresh cilantro and sliced radishes, for topping

Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Make the marinade: Soak the dried chiles in warm water until softened, about 15 minutes; drain. Discard the stems and seeds. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chiles, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the pineapple juice, orange juice, apple juice, beer, vinegar, oregano, paprika, annatto, cloves, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon pepper; puree until smooth.
  2. Make the tacos: Place the pork in a large roasting pan and pour the marinade on top; cover with foil and refrigerate at least 4 hours. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Transfer the pork to the oven and roast, covered, 3 hours. Remove the pork from the braising liquid and transfer to a cutting board; let rest at least 10 minutes. Reserve the braising liquid. Cut the pork into 1/4-inch pieces and return to the braising liquid, tossing to coat. 
  4. Assemble the tacos: Arrange the pork on the tortillas and top with the pineapple-serrano salsa and tomatillo salsa. Top with cotija, chicharrónes, cilantro and radishes. Serve with lime wedges.

Borracho Tortillas

  1. Soak 20 dried guajillo chiles in warm water at least 30 minutes; drain. Remove the stems and seeds. Transfer the chiles to a blender and add 4 cups water, 5 garlic cloves, 1 diced onion, 2 teaspoons each chicken stock and kosher salt, 1 teaspoon each pepper and dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon cumin; puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Dip a tortilla in the chile mixture, then add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, 1 minute per side. Remove and sprinkle with cotija cheese. Repeat to make about 30 tortillas.

Pineapple-Serrano Salsa

  1. Heat a grill to medium high. Peel 2 pineapples and cut into 1/4-inch-thick planks; grill until marked, about 3 minutes per side. Finely chop the pineapple, removing the core. Soak 2 to 3 thinly sliced serrano chiles in ice water, 10 minutes, then drain. Combine the pineapple, serranos, 2 diced small red onions, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.