Slow Cooker Tacos al Pastor is a Mexican dish made with thinly shredded pork, that's marinated in a variety of seasonings and served, traditionally, on tortillas with pineapple, cilantro and onions.
There is a Mexican restaurant in my area, Taco Love Grill, that has the most incredible food. They have 12 different protein options just for their tacos, some of the most amazing appetizers and entrees and a handful of delicious desserts. When we go there, I always get tacos al pastor. But recently, I wanted to see if I could replicate the dish on my own.
What is tacos al pastor?
Tacos al Pastor is a Mexican dish, inspired by the lamb shawarma from the Lebanese. It's a pork shoulder, marinated in spices that is traditionally cooked on a spit (grill) and served on a flour tortilla with pineapple, onion and cilantro.
For this version, I cooked the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and included some pineapple as well, as that's how it comes from my favorite restaurant. Traditionally, corn tortillas are used, but I prefer flour tortillas and served these tacos on those.
🥘 Ingredients for this recipe
- boneless pork shoulder
- canned pineapple
- chiles in adobo
- chili powder
- Sazon Goya
- toppings: fresh pineapple, cilantro, onion and optionally; cheese, lettuce, tomato
🔪Instructions for this recipe
- First, divide the canned pineapple and onion in half. Place half of the pineapple with juice and half of the onion into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Cut any large areas of visible fat off the pork and place that into the slow cooker as well.
- Then blend the seasoning. Place the remaining pineapple with juice and onion into a food processor or blender. Add in the vinegar, chiles, garlic, oregano, salt and Goya seasoning. Blend or pulse until smooth. Pour on top of the pork in the slow cooker.
- Next, cook the pork. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 hours. Once finished cooking, shred the pork and then let it soak in the juices for 30 minutes.
- Assemble the tacos. Warm up your tortillas and let the pork drain from the juice. Layer the pork in the tortilla and top with fresh diced pineapple and chopped cilantro and onion (for a traditional version). Or for an Americanized version, top with cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tomato.
FAQ's for this recipe
- What cut of meat is used for al pastor? A pork shoulder, preferably boneless is the best meat choice for this recipe.
- Why do al pastor tacos have pineapple? Depends on who you ask. Some say that pineapple is included simply because it's an easy to grill fruit that would sit nicely on top of the pork on the spit. Others say that the acidic properties of the pineapple and it's juice help to break down the meat, making it less tough.
- Can you cook al pastor in a slow cooker? Yes! That's how I made it for this recipe.
- Can you freeze al pastor? Definitely. Once cooked and cooled, transfer the meat to a container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Tortillas: flour tortillas can be replaced with the traditional corn tortillas.
- Cilantro and Onion: these are traditional toppings for tacos, but if you aren't a fan, feel free to use more Americanized toppings like sour cream, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
- Achiote Paste: this paste can be found in Mexican supermarkets or purchased online, but if you cannot find it, you can use the Sazon Goya Con Culacho Y Achiote seasoning I did, which is typically found in the international aisle of your local grocery store.
- Need some spice? Add a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce to these tacos to amp up the flavor.
If you love this recipe, you'll also love my Carne Asada Fries, also inspired by the same restaurant.
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Tacos Al Pastor
- 6 quart slow cooker
- 3.5 lb boneless pork shoulder
- 20 oz canned pineapple
- 1 medium onion diced
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 whole chiles in adobo
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 packets Goya Sazon
- 18 6 inch flour tortillas
- 1 cup fresh pineapple diced
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup onion finely diced
- Trim any visible fat off the pork shoulder. Place the pork into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.
- Divide the canned pinapple with juice and the onion in half. Put half of each into the slow cooker with the pork.
- Put the remaining pineapple with juice and onion into a blender or food processor. Add the vinegar, chiles in adobo, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and Goya packets. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the pork and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred the pork and return it to sit in the juices for 30 minutes.
- Assemble the tacos by warming up the tortillas. Then drain the pork and layer on the tortilla along with fresh pineapple, cilantro and onion for a traditional version.
- For an Americanized taco: top with cheese, sour cream, lettuce and tomato.
Recipes on Cookaholic Wife are for information purposes only. Nutritional Data provided has not been evaluated by a nutritionist.