Al Pastor tacos with great friends

Feb 24, 2011 by

This is going to start out with a little gushing, please bear with me… the tacos are worth it.

I have the greatest friends in the world.  I really do.

I’ve had the same core group of friends for the last 23 years.  23 YEARS!  I don’t know a lot of other people that have such a core group of very close friends that they’ve known for that long.  Its rare in this world and I know I am extremely lucky and truly blessed because of them.

Ok… done gushing.

That said, I grew up in WA state with said friends and now I live in Southern California.  I’ve successfully got 2 of my friends to move down and I’m working on the rest of them.  We fly up to WA when we can to visit my friends and family too and they come down visit Disneyland and us too.

A tradition we have every year is our big annual camping trip where those that live down here drive north, and those up in WA drive south and we meet in the middle.   Another tradition we are starting is our annual limoncello party.  This may be a bad tradition to start, but more on that later.

This year we had several of our WA friends fly down for the weekend of limoncello, good food and great times together.  I’ve been wanting to make these tacos for a long time now and this was a great excuse to make them.

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So lets get started making these awesome tacos.

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You’ll need this stuff (ingredients):

The Chilies:
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 ancho chili
3 guajillo chilies

Other stuff:
1 cup pineapple juice (from canned pineapple)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 white onion
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Coke
1 lime
1 red onion
Cilantro
Tortillas – your choice of corn of flour.  both are great.

Spices:
1/2 teaspoon achiote (annatto) powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano

Making the marinade

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Take your guajillo chilies and cut off the stem, and slice them open to remove the seeds

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Do the same thing with the ancho chilies

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Soak them in a bowl of water

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Put the bowl of chilies soaking in water in the microwave for about 3 minutes.  While the peppers are nuking in the microwave, were going to get our food processor out and throw all of this stuff in it.

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Peal 5 cloves of garlic and throw it in.

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For this recipe I used both fresh and canned pineapple.  For the marinade use canned pineapple as the real pineapple has active enzymes and will be too rough on the meat.  Pour into the food processor your 1 cup of juice and add a couple of rings too

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chop up your onion into large chunks.  Its all going in the food processor

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Gather ye spices.  Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon and Oregano

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And throw them all in the food processor with everything else.  1 teaspoon salt here

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1 teaspoon pepper

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1 teaspoon cinnamon

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1 teaspoon oregano

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1/2 teaspoon achiote (annatto) powder (I doubled this recipe so some pictures might show more than required)

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grab 1 -2 chiopotle peppers and throw them in too

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Finally squeeze the juice from a lime

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and blend, blend, blend

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Final ingredient.  Throw in about half a can of coke.  You can drink the rest if you want.  I mean we don’t want to waste anything right?

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Ok for this recipe I couldn’t decide what type of mean I wanted to do, either pork loin or pork shoulder, so I just doubled the recipe and did both.  I was going to be feeding a lot of people.  For the pork loin simple slice diagonally into inch and a half slices

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The pork should you don’t really need to do anything to.  I placed both in large zip lock bags.

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And I filled them with the marinade and let them do their thing for a day.

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Fast forward 1 day, I threw the pork shoulder into a crock pot with some water and set it on low for 6 hours.  In hindsight it could have used a little more time in the crockpot, but I fixed that with the BBQ.

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I threw both the pork loin and pork shoulder onto the grill.  Cook the loin slices about 2-3 minutes per side.  The shoulder is there to get a little good blackened color and to finish it off.

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My puppy Monty thought this was a great idea and he loved helping (eating) us cook it.

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The real reason I wanted a fresh pineapple was so that I could try my new peeler I bought from the fair where they demonstrated how amazing the peeler was by peeling a whole pineapple.   Much to my surprise, it worked quite well.  Messy… but it worked.

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Skewer the pineapple and throw them on the grill as well.

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This thing was smelling and looking amazing.  When I make the recipe again I’m only going to use the pork shoulder.  It turned out so tender and awesome with flavor.   Finishing it off on the BBQ was a nice touch too.

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Garnish with the pineapple, cilantro and onion

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And you end up with these amazing and tasty al pastor tacos that everyone loved.

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And here I am enjoying the feast with my friends

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And here is the aforementioned homemade limoncello.  This is made by taking 103 proof vodka and fermenting it with lemon zest for 3 months and finishing it off with a fresh lemon syrup and then freezing it and serving it chilled.  This is a very tasty and dangerous drink as its very sweet and VERY intoxicating.

And herein lies the bad part of this new tradition.  If you drink this sweet and powerful libation you will indeed have a great time at the party, but you may not remember any of it the next day.

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This year our limoncello came with its own legal disclaimer for our party.

WARNING: Things that may happen at a limoncello party:

  • Impromptu slip and slide in the rain
  • Dancing on every piece of furniture around you. (I’m glad I built my coffee table to hold 4 adults dancing on it)
  • Tree Climbing
  • No limit Texas hold-em, not only for money, but as each person goes out of the game they must choose at random from a long list of items devised by the group as punishment.  The funniest of them being the re-enactment of the orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally.  (video not suitable for children, or anyone for that matter. I’ll just be saving that one for blackmail one day)
  • Broken camera lenses – Not sure how this one happened, but very sad to see my favorite 50mm lens sacrificed to the party gods
  • and many more not suitable to print…

The redeeming quality of limoncello is that while you may not remember anything from the night before you will wake up feeling fine.  Actually you wake up feeling great with zero hangover and fuzzy memories of what happened over the past 12 hours.

That all said, It was so awesome to see my friends, and have them down at our house for the weekend.

Great friends are by far the best thing you could ever wish for.

Ben…

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