My all-time favorite fast food in the whole world is a Taco al Pastor. I live right next to the "Mission," which is San Francisco's Mexican neighborhood, and there are literally three or four taquerías per block selling this amazing treat.
It's a huge stack of thinly sliced pork, marinated in chili, pineapple juice, and other secret ingredients, piled up on a vertical spit and cooked rotisserie-style. The tender, aromatic meat is then sliced off and served on tortillas, usually with onions, cilantro, and a little hot sauce. It's too good to describe.
This pork recipe is NOT a true al pastor (fyi: shepherd-style), but simply a nice, easy marinade using some of the same ingredients to fairly delicious results. The main ingredient is the pineapple juice, which not only gives the meat a great flavor, but also has enzymes that makes it very tender.
Of course, I decided to use some pork tenderloin I had, which sort of defeats the purpose, but this marinade really pays dividends when using the much cheaper, and more traditional pork shoulder.
One of the key spices is cinnamon, which is no surprise since the origins of this recipe trace back to Lebanese immigrants living in Mexico City, where they were clearly showing off their shawarma-rich heritage. Lamb shawarma is a similar preparation, and you can watch me do a faux-version of that here.
This is one of those recipe that I just happened to have the camera on as I cooked. I didn't measure things, I forgot to film the cinnamon addition, and never even added cumin, another traditional spice. Nevertheless, it was wonderfully tender and tasty, and I'm happy to share it with you, flaws and all. Enjoy!
Note: Vimeo is still having sound issues, sorry.
2 pork tenderloin
6 oz pineapple juice
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp chipotle
2 dried chiles Pasilla, seeds discarded
3 dried chiles Guajillo, seeds discarded
cayenne to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp white vinegar
salt to taste
vegetable oil for grilling
Al Pastor Photo (c) Flickr user Alaskan Dude