Tacos al Pastor

016/18: Tacos al Pastor

016/18 – Tacos al Pastor:

I really enjoyed the Barbacoa the other week so looked through my “To cook” list for other Mexican dishes. Tacos al Pastor stood out, I have wanted to make this for a long time!

009/18: Mexican Barbecued Lamb – Barbacoa

The recipe is by @cheftomjackson at All Things BBQ. The recipe has a great video which covers all the steps required. 

The Meat:

The recipe calls for 4 lbs Boston Butt – I ordered 2kg of Boston Butt from Turner and George for £19. Great quality outdoor reared British Pork from these guys.

The Prep:

Quite a lot of ingredients for this one but not a lot of work putting it all together. I put the pork butt in the freezer 3 hours before I was going to slice this, I have seen this a few times before but never actually done it. It’s meant to help you slice the meat easier, I gave it a try this time!

I was quite organised with this one and had ordered Chipotle and Guajillo Chillies, Mexican Oregano, Achiote Paste and Tortillas from Cool Chile. Have a look on their site, they have loads of cool stuff!

First off I made an adobo sauce by toasting Chipotle and Guajillo chillies in a pan.

Tacos al Pastor

I then removed the stems and seeds then put them back in the pan, covered with water and simmered for 5 minutes before draining then blitzing them with a stick blender. To this mix I added diced onion, pineapple juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, toasted and ground cumin, Mexican oregano, thyme, allspice and salt.

Next up I made a marinade with 400g of Achiote paste, orange juice, apple cider vinegar and rapeseed oil. I mixed this up well before adding the Adobo sauce.

I took the pork butt out the freezer and removed the fat cap then carefully removed the bone with a boning knife. Wanting fairly even slices of meat it was important to get the bone out without hacking the meat wildly and I did a pretty good job thanks to a very sharp knife! With the bone out I sliced the meat fairly thinly then mixed it thoroughly in the sauce (wearing gloves!). It was a lot easier slicing it part frozen, must remember that in future! What a colour the sauce was! The meat was left in the fridge for 2 hours.

 Tacos al Pastor

The recipe says to use a pre bought Carne Asada Dry Rub Mix but I made my own using this recipe. Powdered garlic, New Mexico chilli powder, Pasilla chilli powder, Roasted Arbol Chilli powder, ground cumin, celery seed, onion powder, Mexican oregano, Paprika, Black pepper and Ground coriander all mixed together to form a rub. All the Chilli powders were part of the Cool Chile order mentioned above. 

I took the meat out of the bowl (with gloves on!) and wiped the excess marinade off before layering the meat in a gastronorm pan. I sprinkled the Carne Asada dry rub mix by hand then applied another layer of meat on top followed by more dry rub mix.

Tacos al Pastor

A pineapple was top and tailed then the sides were taken off before quartering it. The top and bottom went on the skewer to top the meat.

Tacos al Pastor

The Cook:

A full chimney of Oxford Charcoal hardwood blend was poured into charcoal baskets. The recipe says to cook direct but I went indirect with this one, maybe it’s different on the Kamado Joe, not sure but direct on my Weber with a full basket would nuke it! Maybe half a chimney direct would be ok but I didn’t want to be topping the fuel up too often.

One of my pineapples split! I don’t think it was quite ripe enough – supermarkets grrr!

Tacos al Pastor

I set the rotisserie off, added some oak chunks from Smokewood Shack then left it for 40 minutes. Checking back there were some crispy bits ready to slice off! I held a foil pan underneath and sliced off the crispy bits, they tasted amazing. I was going to enjoy this one! Great flavours from the various chillies but not super spicy, just a nice bit of warmth.

Tacos al Pastor

I gradually kept slicing more off as it cooked, checking back every 10 minutes. I kept the tray foiled when it wasn’t catching meat and it kept really warm.Tacos al Pastor

Eventually (about 2 hours all in) all the meat was sliced off. I eat so much as it was sitting there, it really was fantastic, hard to describe how good it was. The meat was really tender but the flavour from the marinade and sauce was just incredible, blow your mind good!

Tacos al Pastor

Time to Eat:

I warmed up some tortillas in a pan then placed some meat in along with feta (a valid substitute for cotija cheese!), cubed pineapple, red onion and coriander. Chopping the pineapple off the end of the rotisserie bar was my wife’s idea and it tasted even better so do that!

Tacos al Pastor

It was so good, I ate 5 for dinner!Tacos al Pastor

And there was still loads left so I made another batch to have for lunch the next day!

Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor

Summary:

As you can probably guess I really enjoyed this one, it was an explosion of flavours and a great meal to end the weekend. I need to do more Mexican dishes, research ahoy!

I haven’t cooked with a lot of these chillies before and didn’t really know what the flavour/heat profile was but you could really taste the different flavours coming through from the various chillies with just a nice hint of heat to it. Brilliant!

Cook Difficulty: 3/5 
Cook Duration: Medium: 3/5
Cook Equipment: Weber Kettle
Cook Method: Rotisserie
Charcoal: Oxford Charcoal Hardwood Blend
Smoking Wood: Smokewood Shack Oak
Cook temperature: 275c
Cook time: 2 hours
Internal temperature: Not checked, slice the charred bits off.
Notes: 1: The Weber Rotisserie only has 2 prongs, I might the kebab attachment with 4 prongs then each slice of meat you would add at a 90 degree angle to the previous one, this would create a more mixed cooking surface and allow you to slice more meat off as it cooked.

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