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Big Flavors from your Small Appliances

Tacos al Pastor
Appliance: Slow Cooker - 4 quarts and larger
Optional: Contact Grill - 4 servings or larger
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This recipe is part of the Pot Luck and Game Day Collections
   2 (8 ounce) cans pineapple tidbits in juice (unsweetened), divided
   1/2 cup onion, finely diced
   1 1/2 teaspoons salt
   2 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce
   3 tablespoons chili powder
   1 teaspoon cumin
   1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
   1/2 teaspoon black pepper
   2 tablespoons white vinegar
   2 tablespoons lime juice
   1 cup (8 fluid ounces) beer or low sodium chicken broth
   4 – 5 pounds of pork shoulder, cut into “Country-style Ribs” or 3 inch cubes See Note

For Serving:
   30 - 60 corn tortillas or 24 flour tortillas (soft taco sized)

Optional Garnishes:
   Finely diced onion
   Fresh cilantro, chopped
   Sliced avocado or guacamole
   Salsa or pico de gallo
   Crumbled cotija cheese
   Thinly sliced or minced radishes
   Lime wedges

NOTE: Note: Country-style ribs are typically long, thick chunks of sliced pork shoulder, which are very convenient, as you won't need to cube the meat. Often, it will also read pork shoulder on the label. Sometimes, however, they may be made from leaner cuts of pork, which are not suitable for this recipe. If the package is not labeled, you can ask the meat department staff which cut of pork was used, if you are in doubt. Also, many markets have butchers who will slice a whole pork shoulder for you. Ask for 2 – 3 inch thick pieces for slow cooking.

Empty one can of pineapple, with the juice, into a blender jar or food processor bowl. Add the juice from the remaining can, and put the pineapple tidbits into a storage container and refrigerate; you will add them to the dish later. Add the onion, salt, chipotles, spices, vinegar and lime juice to the pineapple in the blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until the mixture is fairly smooth.

Optional: Preheat contact grill according to the manufacturer's instructions for searing meat, or to high heat, if applicable. Working in batches, place pork in a single layer, with a little space between each piece, lower the lid and grill until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Rotate each piece a quarter turn and brown the other sides. Transfer meat to a rack set over a pan or plate to catch any juices. Repeat until all pieces have been browned.

Pour the spice mixture into the crock or inner bowl of your slow cooker and stir in the beer (or broth). Add pork (and any accumulated juices, if it has been browned) and turn or mix until all the pieces are evenly coated. Cover and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 200 – 205 degrees (F), or until it shreds easily with two forks. This will take about 4 to 5 hours on High, or 8 to 10 hours on low.

With the slow cooker on Low, remove the pork to a large platter or shallow pan. Skim fat from cooking liquid, if desired. Shred the meat with two forks, removing any large pieces of fat that remain. Return the meat, along with the reserved pineapple pieces, to the liquid in the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Serve on tortillas with your choice of garnishes.

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