Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor (pineapple chile pork)

| February 7, 2013 | 25 Comments More

You’ll want to open your own taco truck…

How can you go wrong with a marinade of pineapple and chili peppers? I’ve been craving this recipe ever since I had a taste from a taco truck years ago. I’m sorry for making you dirty up your food processor or blender to make this one, but you’ll get over it. This recipe provides some flexibility, as you can use the authentic dried guajillo chiles, or just some easy to find chipotles in adobo sauce (call the paleo police, I know). I even (gasp) used canned pineapple because the market I went to was out of fresh. The only hard part of this recipe is waiting for the meat to marinate. Also, don’t let this cook while you’re home, the amazing smell will be torture and the hours will seem like weeks. I warn you now! I can’t wait to try this same marinade on some beef, and cheat on my slow cooker and grill it! Crazy, I know. Before you ask, yes you can adjust the spicy levels to your liking. Do remember that hot peppers mellow out some after slow cooking, yet I know not everyone loves the spicy like I do. It’s ok, now on we go with making tacos…

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What you need:

  • One 3 pound pork shoulder, roast, or tenderloin. I used a shoulder.
  • 6 dried guajillo chili peppers (rehydrated in water) or 6 chipotles in adobo sauce (easier to find).
  • One 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple (juice and all), or 2 cups of fresh pineapple, chopped.
  • One cup of white onion, diced.
  • Half a cup of orange juice, or the juice of two large oranges.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed.
  • 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 tsp of oregano.
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp of cumin.
  • 1 tsp of black pepper.
  • 1 tsp of sea salt.
  • one large ziplock bag for the pork to marinade in.
  • optional: add or subtract chili peppers/powder to your personal taste.
  • Salsa garnish: equal amounts of pineapple, white onion, and cilantro with a touch of lime juice.

How you make it:

  1. If using dried chilis, boil them in a small saucepan until fully rehydrated and softened, then drain.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine your chiles, pineapple, orange juice, garlic, onion, vinegar, and spices.
  3. Puree your marinade until an even consistency is obtained.
  4. Trim all excess fat off of your cut of pork.
  5. Place your pork in your large ziplock bag and pour in your marinade.
  6. Make sure your pork is evenly coated and remove as much air as possible from your bag before sealing.
  7. Let your pork marinade for at least 2 hours, yet overnight is worth the wait and flavor. I let mine go 18 hours.
  8. Dump your pork and marinade into your slow cooker.
  9. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  10. Shred or slice your pork as you see fit, mixing in some of the delicious marinade and pork juices.
  11. Serve in crisp lettuce wraps.
  12. Garnish with a simple salsa made of equal parts pineapple, white onion, and cilantro, with a touch of lime juice.
  13. Watch these disappear fast!

 

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Category: Pork, Trending

Comments (25)

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  1. Tom Kiefer says:

    Nice. :-)

    What kind of lettuce did you use in the photos? I’ve noticed a big difference in trying to do this sort of thing between iceberg and greenleaf and…

  2. Teri says:

    I’m not going to lie – I don’t like chipotles so I was a little leery, and the smell of the marinade made me do a face like this – :/ But after it was done, HOLY MOLY. One of the best meals I’ve made in the crockpot. This is _phenomenal_. It is not for the mild palated folk, but well suited to those who like a little heat. I fed my squadmates at work, both of whom love spicy food and they thought it was great too. They aren’t paleo, so they used tortillas and added a little cheese. I ate mine in a bowl, and made the pineapple-onion salsa. The perfect sweet accompaniment!

    PS – I also marinated it overnight, and used cheap boneless pork ribs since I was test-driving the recipe. O.M.G. :)

  3. Gineen says:

    Do you think this recipe would freeze well? I’m really into finding new recipes that I can make in big batches and freeze and this sounds so incredibly delicious! Really glad I found your website- tons of great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Kelly says:

    Just found this recipe and it looks amazing! Have you ever tried doing it without marinating first? I’m SO impatient and I want it for dinner tonight, but I don’t want to put everything in the crockpot together if it’s going to ruin it…

    • Jason says:

      I have not skipped the marinating (yet). Just let it sit in the fridge for a little while. I don’t think skipping the process will “ruin” the recipe, it just might not let the flavors seep in as much. The flavors are great in this one, go ahead and try it out and I’m sure you’ll be fine!

    • eileen says:

      I have made it several times and never marinated it (no time at night) and it has been amazing every time.

  5. Niki says:

    This looks incredible! I will be making it tomorrow. Quick question– how can I adjust the recipe if it’s going to cook for longer than the 6-8 hours (closer to 8-10)? I don’t want it to dry out on me and assume I need additional liquid of some sort.

  6. I made this today and it was delicious. Instead of using the slow cooker though, I diced the pork into 1-inch pieces, cooked them in a saute pan and served them over veggies.

    I made the marinade with the chipotle in adobo sauce, fresh pineapple, and 1 cup of orange juice. I only marinated the meat for 2.5-3.0 hours (and this was enough since the meat was in tiny pieces).

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe. I will be back to try some others.

  7. This was INSANE!!! I am a huge fan of Al Pastor, but the only taco shop around here that makes it right is just too far away to have it consistently. Very happy I found your recipe..
    I made it pretty much to spec, only reduced the actual chipotle peppers, and added 2 Tbs of the adobo sauce. Was the perfect amount of heat. Marniated the pork for 2hrs then let it rip on high for three hours. Came out perfect.
    What really set the meal off for me was the pineapple salsa, perfect accent to the heat from the chipotles.
    I also added some avocado to my wraps.
    I agree that sometime, I would like to make the same recipe, but either skewer and roast the pork, or grill it to see some carmelization.

    Great recipe, and I’m very glad I found your site!
    Thanks!

  8. Shawna says:

    Pretty sure this is tied for my favorite recipe with the Spicy Italian Beef!!!

  9. Megan ward says:

    I had tacos similar to these in Washington and was super excited to find a recipe. They turned out better than I had hoped! My husband (the picky eater) asked for 3rds! I think the only thing I would adjust was longer marinating time.

  10. hadashi says:

    my family isn’t very tolerant of spicy, so i’m hoping someone can help me with this question: how do i best adjust the chile ingredient to modify the spiciness? it sounds like there is a fair amount of heat in this recipe, so i’m wondering — do i put in less chiles (i’ll be using the chipotles in adobo) into the food processor? if so, any suggestions as to how many less? or should i leave them out of the marinade and simply put them whole into the slow cooker, so they can be removed later? will enough flavour be transferred this way? thanks for the help! i’m excited to try this recipe.

    • Jason says:

      Spicy is a big part of this, the cooking process does tone it down. I’d suggest putting in less of the adobo sauce, and none of the whole chipotles.

      • hadashi says:

        Thank you so much Jason! I’ll follow your suggestions. I didn’t want to leave them out entirely, as that would seem to completely change the whole dish.

  11. Rebecca says:

    What if pineapples aren’t allowed on my diet? Can you make these without pineapples or will it ruin the taste? Is there anything you can substitute that isn’t a sweet item? I am not allowed to have any fruit or sugar.

    • Jennifer says:

      Al Pastor, which means “in the style of the pasture”, or shepherd’s style, does require pineapple. There is an enzyme in the fruit called bromelain that helps to break down the protein and makes the texture of the pork really velvety.

      If you’d like to try a recipe without sugary elements, you might consider pork carnitas. I’m sure you could find a paleo recipe for this is you looked.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This is one of the most straight-forward Al Pastor recipes I found online. I didn’t even realize it was paleo until I re-read the recipe after buying the ingredients. I’m planning to serve this traditionally, accompanied by corn tortillas, lime for squeezing, diced white onion, and cilantro. I will also serve guacamole on the size.

    The only thing I noticed was that it seems to make an awful lot of marinade. I feel as though I could have made half the amount and still had plenty to cover my 3 1/2 lbs of pork shoulder.
    I used the recipe with chiles in adobo, and the marinade is extremely spicy. I may also add some additional bite-sized chucks of pineapple to the cooked pork to cut the heat.

    Anyway, the pork is currently marinating. I’ll have to update on how it turns out.

  13. Charles says:

    Have you tried or considered putting the meat back into the crockpot after slicing or shredding to absorb the juices and marinade. Or would you just mix in a little of the juices afterwards (step 10)

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