If you’ve been to Mexico you’ll know that tacos Al Pastor is one of the street food staples eaten daily by locals. Spit grilled meat is a tradition that has been around for centuries and different variants can be found all over the world. The Mexican version was originally brought over the seas by Lebanese immigrants and is based on their version of the lamb shawarma. In Mexico they use pork and marinate this in a blend of traditional Middle Eastern spices and those local to Mexico such as ancho chilli, guajillo chilli, Achiote paste (from annatto seeds) and Mexican oregano.
Here at The Smokey Carter our whole range of BBQ rubs, seasonings and sauces have been influenced by our travels around the world. Mexico has played a big influence on many of our products. Our Al Pastor BBQ Rub combines all the traditional ingredients and a complex blend of herbs and spices to bring the Al Pastor to your kitchen at home.
Al Pastor is traditionally cooked on a vertical spit and topped with a pineapple or onion. The juices from these run down the meat as it cooks and the natural enzymes are said to tenderize the meat. The meat on the spit is called a trompo which translates as ‘spinning top’ for its shape (fat at the top and tapers down). Although we are cooking this horizontally the pineapple really is something not to be missed. Chop it up into chunks and serve with the tacos. Al Pastor tacos (image left) from street food stand in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
It's taco time!
2kg pork shoulder or skinless and boneless chicken thighs
If you don’t have a rotisserie, simply cut the meat into small chunks and skewer. Cook over hot coals until cooked through. Cooking indoors? Bash out a chicken breast or pork chop and dust with Al Pastor BBQ Rub and pan fry or grill.
You can use either skinless/boneless chicken thighs or more traditionally pork shoulder for this recipe. You can even try a combination of the two! On this occasion we used chicken.
Take the chicken thighs and remove any unwanted bits. Cut them in two or leave whole depending on the size so you have pieces that are approximately 10-15cm diameter. You can bash them out slightly if you want. You want to end up with pieces that will be nice and even once skewered on the rotisserie.
Put the chicken in a bowl or we like to use a grip seal plastic bag and add in the oil. Mix around a little before adding in approximately 30g of Al Pastor BBQ Spice Rub. Use a little more or less to make sure all the meat is covered. Leave to marinate in the fridge overnight or at least a few hours.
3. Once the meat has marinated, take the pineapple and slice two large rings and cut off the outside skin. These will then go on either end of the rotisserie to help keep the meat in place.
4. Slide one of the pineapple rings down the skewer and tart to lead up the marinated meat trying to keep and even thickness as you go. Once all the meat is on, finish with the other piece of pineapple. It’s ready to go on the BBQ.
5. Make sure the BBQ is nice and hot (approx 200-220c) and cook on the Weber Rotisserie with the lid on for approximately 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 75c (165f).
Now it’s ready serve with warmed corn tacos, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa verde, crema, fresh coriander, a squeeze of fresh lime and not forgetting a few chunks of that pineapple! Finish with some hot sauce, our Pineapple Express Hot Sauce works perfectly with this. We also made a taco filling of cooked diced potatoes cooked down with chorizo and garlic and a little Al Pastor BBQ Rub.
For an easy pico de gallo, finely chop onion, tomatoes, fresh coriander and a little chilli. Sprinkle on a little sugar, cumin and salt and a squeeze of fresh lime. Leave to macerate for a little while to allow the onion to cook a little in the lime juice.
If there is any leftovers the meat can be used in all kinds of dishes such as quesadillas, mac n cheese or stuffed into a naan bread for a quick and easy kebab.
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