Party Cookin’: LA Times Al Pastor Recipe for a Taco Bar

We’ve made this LA Times Al Pastor recipe twice, once for camping and once for a party.  The great thing about it is you can make it in advance and heat it up later!  You can even cook it up in the oven and then shred it and put it in your crock-pot to keep it warm for a long partying night.  The crock-pot is the secret to having the taco bar open and ready for the guests all night long!

This is an adapted recipe from Raúl Morales for the oven by the LA Times. I used a variety of dried chilies from a Mexican market (or Whole Foods).

Al Pastor Recipe

(Party-Size Recipe Serving for 20-30 people)

Marinate for 24 hours

  • 6 California chiles
  • 2 Ancho chile
  • 2 Guajillo chile
  • 2 Cascabel chile
  • 2 Chile de árbol
  • * I just used a whole variety of about 3-4 different kinds of dried chiles, some of the above and some others.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3  teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon achiote (seasoned achiote paste * for color)
  • 2 onions, sliced thin, divided
  • 10 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 15 chunks
  • 1  pineapple, peeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick,and cut into quarters

Boil the dried chiles and bay leaves in a pot for 5 minutes.  Then remove the stems, seeds, and bay leaves.  Place the hydrated chiles in the food processor with the orange juice, pineapple juice, white vinegar, cinnamon, salt, pepper, garlic, garlic salt, oregano, and achiote paste (optional) and blend until smooth.

Cut up the pork into 15 chunks and place in  resealable plastic bags (we used 3) and pour the marinade over top and marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the oven to 350F.  Use three, 9″x13″ glass baking dishes or two roasting pans.  Place the cut up pineapple on the bottom  of the baking dishes and the onion slices over top.  Then place the marinated meat chunks over the pineapple and onion slices but make sure that the meat does not come up above the sides of the baking dish or roasting pan.  Cover the pans with foil and bake for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours until meat pulls apart easily.  It took our meat with three pans in the oven at once about 2 1/2 hours.

Note from Recipe Online: Put the meat on a rack in a baking pan, baste it with the pan juices and place under the broiler to crisp the edges of the meat, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook for a few more minutes.

Remove the meat and let it cool enough to be able to pull it apart.  Then place the shredded meat in a crock pot to keep it warm.  Slice up the pineapple and onion slices to mix-in with the shredded meat. Set up your toppings for the taco bar and go to town!

Another Slow-Roasted Pork Taco Recipe from the NY Times (less ingredients & quicker to make).

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