Pork Collar Tacos Al Pastor

By: Mandy Tanner

Grilled pork and pineapple tacos al pastor, combine the sweetness of pineapple and the smokiness of chilies. Use dried chilies that are soft and flexible like raisins to ensure freshness, and achiote or annatto, from the achiote tree for color (this can be found in seed, paste, or ground form in most stores and online). If you can’t find achiote, you can substitute chili powder and paprika, and while not traditional it will still turn out amazing. After slow roasting on the grill, top warmed corn tortillas with the pork, grilled pineapple, white onions, cilantro, and you will be enjoying some pretty incredible tacos al pastor.

Ingredients

Adobo Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons canola or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoons ground annatto (achiote) seed or paste, (or 2 tsp chili powder and 2 tsp paprika)
  • 1 ½ teaspon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, from a small can
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar

Pork Collar Tacos Al Pastor

  • 1 (3 lb) SRF Boneless Pork Collar, thinly sliced about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick Buy Now
  • 2 fresh pineapples
  • 2 tablespoons canola or avocado oil
  • 30 corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped, for serving
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Salsa verde, or fresh salsa, for serving

Adobo Marinade

Plan ahead, this recipe requires marinating time of at least 8 hours. Make the Adobo Marinade; In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the oil, annatto, oregano, and cumin, and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds or until the spices are fragrant and have bloomed and are bubbling. Transfer to the jar of a blender.
With a paper towel, carefully wipe out the pan. Over medium heat, add the guajillo and ancho chilies, and garlic, and toast turning the peppers occasionally, for about 3 minutes until the peppers are fragrant. Add the chipotles in adobo, the chicken stock, salt, and sugar, and bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Add the vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the chilies have softened.
Transfer the slightly cooled mixture, and all of the liquid to the blender with the spices, and blend until smooth.
In a glass dish or bowl, or a gallon size zip-top bag, add the pork slices and the marinade. With gloved hands (to prevent staining your hands), mix the marinade into the pork to ensure all pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours.

Pork Collar Tacos Al Pastor

When ready to cook, preheat the grill or smoker to 275°F. Remove the pork from the refrigerator.
Place the pineapple on a cutting board on it’s side. Slice the bottom and top about 1 ½ inches from each end. These pieces will act as a base and top for cooking. Slice the outside off of the middle portion and discard. Slice the middle portion into rings or wedges, cover and refrigerate reserving for grilling later. Repeat for the second pineapple.
Place the base of the pineapples on a grill safe pan, baking dish, or disposable foil pan to help keep the juices while cooking. Using 3 wooden skewers per pineapple, place the skewers into the base, top with layers of the pork (using gloves to prevent staining). Build each pineapple base with half of the pork including the marinade, using the base as a guide for the shape, and securing the pieces onto the skewers. Top each pineapple with the greens and secure thought the skewers. (Pro tip: The greens of the pineapple top can be trimmed if needed to fit inside of your grill.)
If available, insert a probe thermometer into the center of the pork. Transfer the pineapples on the pan to the grill, close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 145F, about 4 hours. The outside will be darker and more roasted, and the inside will be tender and juicy. Baste with any juices that drip about every 30 minutes after the first hour of cooking.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking, brush the reserved pineapple slices with oil, and place directly on the grill grates to cook, flipping after 15 minutes.
Remove the pork and pineapple from the grill. Slice the pineapple into bite sized pieces.
For serving; Warm the tortillas. Place the pork on a cutting board, and remove and discard the skewers. Thinly slice the pork and place in two warmed tortillas per taco. Top with grilled pineapple, onions, cilantro, fresh lime, and salsa, as desired. Enjoy!
Tips: For reheating or crisping the center of the pork, place in a pan over medium heat, adding any remaining cooking juices, or additional broth.