Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Tacos Al Pastor

I really love to cook, and I like to tell myself that I'm usually pretty good at it.  So I find it incredibly annoying that I usually bomb in the crock pot meal department.  The slow cooker niche is supposed to be fail proof, yet nine times out of ten my family hates what I make in that stupid thing.  Case in point:  I made crock pot mac and cheese a couple of weeks ago in the slow cooker.  I thought it would make the perfect lunch leftovers for the next few days.  We threw away the leftovers.  It was that disgusting.  Mac and CHEESE for Heaven's sake!

Given my track record, you'd think I would give up, but I just can't.  I'm a busy woman, and the idea of a fix it and forget it meal that actually tastes good keeps me on the prowl for new recipes.

I grew up out West, so I have high standards when it comes to Mexican food.  Since moving to the East Coast, most visits to Mexican restaurants leave me unsatisfied, and salivating while I dream of eating at Inca's or at Tacos el Rey's (the Mexican restaurants of my youth), or something from a Spanish Branch activity.

We finally found one Mexican restaurant that we actually like here in Raleigh.  Our favorite item on the menu by far are their tacos al pastor (pork and pineapple tacos).

Well, one day I realized I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer and two fresh pineapples on the counter.  I was also craving tacos al pastor.  It was meant to be.

A Google search later, I had a few recipes which I combined to create a crock pot masterpiece:  my homemade version of tacos al pastor.  A fix it and forget it meal that actually TASTES good.  Oh, and as an added bonus you can freeze the leftovers, which ALSO actually taste good after being reheated.  That's like a three for one deal or something.

You're welcome.

Crock Pot Tacos Al Pastor

What You'll Need :
  • One three pound pork shoulder, roast, or tenderloin  (I used tenderloin.)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce (found in the ethnic food aisle at the grocery store)
  • One 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple (juice and all) or 2 cups of fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • 1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 packet of taco seasoning
How to Make It:

1.  Grease the crock pot with a little cooking spray.
2.  Put pork in crock pot (fat side up).
3.  Mix all remaining ingredients together, and dump on top of waiting pork.
4.  Cover and cook on low for a bazillion hours, until the meat is tender and falling apart.  Shred.  Then let it cook some more.  (Probably at least 8 to 10 hours total.)  

For Topping the Tacos:
  • 1 fresh pineapple, grilled and diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
1.  Cut the pineapple into long wedges and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  (For convenience, I just did this on a grill pan inside.)
2.  Combine equal parts grilled pineapple, red onion, and cilantro.  
3.  Drizzle with lime juice.
4.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When your meat is ready to go, serve on warm tortillas, top with black beans, a generous helping of the grilled pineapple salsa, diced avocado, and crumbled queso fresco (DON'T SKIP THIS!  It's essential.) Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.  

*If you choose to freeze the leftovers, do so in an airtight container.  When ready to reheat, thaw the meat in the refrigerator overnight.  Reheat in a saucepan on the stove top, with a little water added to keep it moist.  Add the fresh toppings and these tacos are as delicious as they were during round one!  

**If you want to get really ambitious, you could even make your own tortillas.  Let's not even talk about how delicious THAT would be.  My favorite recipe for those is here.  (In my opinion, they taste just like Cafe Rio's, if you're familiar with that fresh Mexican chain.)  

***Recipe adapted from the one originally found here.

If you try them, let me know what you think!  


  1. Oh my goodness this sounds delicious. I love mexican meat in the crockpot. It's a staple around here. I made pork carnitas the other day from OBB and when you pull it out of the pot, you throw it under the broiler for awhile to make it all brown and crispy. We had no leftovers. It was amazing. Absolutely going to try this when fresh pineapples find their way to me.

  2. This sounds amazing! I pinned it, so I'd remember to try it.

  3. dude, that does look/sound delish. gonna have to try it. i too love the crockpot! i've got a few good crockpot recipes i should send your way!


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