One of the holidays we look most forward to during May is Cinco de Mayo. Contrary to what some may believe, Cinco de Mayo is not the same as Mexican Independence Day, which actually falls on September 16th. Instead, this holiday commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1882 and is observed in both Mexico and the US. A celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, Cinco de Mayo is always brimming with parades, parties and of course, great food. We love a good Tacos al Pastor on Cinco de Mayo, or better yet, any other part of the year. There’s something about the combination of smokiness from juicy, grilled pork and its sweet and savory flavors, wrapped inside warm corn tortillas. Al pastor is traditionally marinated with pineapples and chiles and then grilled on a spit. Since most of us aren’t in possession of a spit, we’ve created a more home cook-friendly version you can make at home.
Pineapples are an essential ingredient when it comes to making a good Tacos al Pastor. The sweet, acidic juices not only helps tenderize the meat but also gives it its signature earthy, smoked-kissed flavor. Our South African Baby Pineapples are in season for a limited time and are a great shortcut to this recipe. Unlike regular pineapples, South African Baby Pineapples are miniature in size and are entirely edible with no need to remove the core. All you need to do to extract the bold, rich pineapple flesh is to cut the bottom off, remove the skin on the sides below the eyes and slice away. From there, you can cut the pineapple as you would any other regular pineapple. If South African Baby Pineapples are unavailable, you can also use our Organic Pineapples, which may take a couple of extra steps but are just as fresh and delicious.
Tacos Al Pastor with Pineapple
Yields: 6-8 servings
- 2 pounds of boneless pork loin or boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 guajillo chiles, seeded and stemmed
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar
- 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of achiote powder
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- Canola or vegetable oil
For the garnish
- 4 South African Baby Pineapples or 1 Organic Pineapple, peeled and cubed
- Corn tortillas, heated and kept warm
- 4 limes, cut into wedges
- 1 large white onion
- 1/2 cup of cilantro
1. In a large saucepan, heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the garlic cloves for about 1 minute. Add the cumin, oregano and stir for another minute. Then add the guajillo chiles and cook until the skin begins to blister, at about 30 seconds.
2. Add the pineapple juice, achiote powder and white vinegar to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow for the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
3. In a blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Add the kosher salt.
4. Transfer the marinade into a large resealable bag. Add the pork, making sure all the pieces are coated. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
5. You can either cook the pork indoors over a grill or indoors over a stovetop using a pan. If grilling outdoors, cook the meat over medium high heat for 2-4 minutes on each side, until slightly charred. If cooking indoors, heat up a large skillet with oil over medium high heat for about 7 minutes on each side.
6. Once the pork is finished cooking, allow for it to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the tortillas in a skillet and prepare the garnishes. After the pork has cooled, cut into smaller pieces.
7. When ready to serve, assemble the tacos by placing the pork on top of 2 stacked corn tortillas. Sprinkle on as much pineapple, onions and parsley as you’d like. Squeeze some lime juice on top and enjoy!
What will you be feasting on for Cinco de Mayo? What tacos are your favorite?