Mexican street tacos al pastor with marinated pork, pineapple, and salsa verde

Tacos al pastor are a beloved Mexican street food known for their succulent marinated pork, grilled pineapple, and vibrant toppings. Originating in central Mexico, this dish is a delicious fusion of Spanish and Lebanese culinary influences, brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early 20th century.

Region and History

Tacos al pastor have their roots in the city of Puebla, Mexico, where Lebanese immigrants introduced the technique of marinating meat on a vertical spit, similar to the shawarma of the Middle East. Over time, Mexican cooks adapted the recipe, using local ingredients such as pork, pineapple, and traditional Mexican spices.


For the Marinated Pork:

  • Pork shoulder or pork loin
  • Pineapple juice
  • White vinegar
  • Achiote paste
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For Serving:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Fresh pineapple, diced
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced onion
  • Salsa verde
  • Lime wedges

Cooking Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Marinade

  1. In a blender, combine pineapple juice, white vinegar, achiote paste, chipotle peppers, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Blend until smooth.

Step 2: Marinate the Pork

  1. Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag or shallow dish.
  2. Pour the marinade over the pork, ensuring it is fully coated.
  3. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Step 3: Grill the Pork

  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the pork from the marinade and discard any excess marinade.
  3. Grill the pork for 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and slightly charred.
  4. Remove the pork from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing thinly.

Step 4: Assemble the Tacos

  1. Warm the corn tortillas on the grill or in a skillet until soft and pliable.
  2. Place a few slices of grilled pork on each tortilla.
  3. Top with diced pineapple, chopped cilantro, diced onion, and salsa verde.
  4. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.


Can I use a different type of meat for tacos al pastor?

While pork is traditional, you can also use chicken or beef as alternatives.

What is achiote paste, and can I substitute it?

Achiote paste is a blend of ground annatto seeds, spices, and vinegar. If you can’t find achiote paste, you can use paprika as a substitute for color and flavor.

Can I make tacos al pastor without a grill?

Yes, you can cook the marinated pork in a skillet on the stove or in the oven. Simply cook until browned and cooked through.

What other toppings can I add to tacos al pastor?

You can customize your tacos with additional toppings such as sliced radishes, avocado, cotija cheese, or pickled onions.


Tacos al pastor are a delicious representation of Mexico’s rich culinary heritage, blending flavors from different cultures into a single, mouthwatering dish. With tender marinated pork, sweet grilled pineapple, and zesty salsa verde, these tacos are sure to satisfy your cravings for authentic Mexican street food. So fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and treat yourself to a taste of Mexico right at home. ¡Buen provecho!

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