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Tacos al Pastor: The results (lotsa pics)

greenheadgreenhead Posts: 26
edited 10:58AM in EggHead Forum
I know a few of you have been keeping up with this, so, here are the steps I used to create my version of Tacos al Pastor on my large BGE.

Day 1: Prepping and marinading.
After much discussion, I decided to go with a boneless boston butt as my meat of choice. Unfortunately, I could not find one, so I had to do the deboning myself. Here is the butt, deboned.

I then sliced the pork butt into 6 approx even sized "steaks"

I was following the LA Times recipe for Carne al Pastor (link below) and had most of the ingredients. I could not find Cascabel Peppers, so I substituted an extra Ancho chile. I also could not find achiote paste, but since most places I read said that this was a more or less flavorless chile, used more for coloring than for flavor, I used some good Hot Hungarian paprika instead.

Here are the dried peppers after re-hydrating them.

Here is everything in the whopper chopper(before):

and after:

Here is the marinade on the meat:

I have to tell you, it was at this point that I was getting really excited about this dish. The smell of the pureed peppers was incredible. This mixture, covered, went in to the fridge for 24 hours.

Day 2: Assembly and Egging
They next day, I pulled out the pork and made what was essentially a large pork and pineapple kabob. My original intent was to stand this monstrosity up on its end, but, I knew there was no way to do this once I created it. I used 4 skewers, 2 going in on each end (since they didn't go all the way through) and a bunch of butcher string to tie it all up tightly together. In retrospect, I think a butcher netting would have been a better choice.

I took any remaining pepper puree and lathered it over the top.

And on to the egg...

Here is where my story turns sour...

Day 3: The feast
16 hours later, my internal temp is only 170. I had been stuck at 140 for almost 8 hours, and I figured if this thing was ever going to get done, I needed to raise the egg from 225 to 300. That kicked it in gear, for a while, but it stalled again at 170. After 16 hours, I decided to pull coals were more or less gone and I figured any longer it would be dried out. Here's it as it came off the Egg:

The smell was divine, and I am really getting excited now.

Pineapples are looking good...didn't turn to mush like I thought they would:

Pork is looking ok, though, the end pieces are dried out. The meat is a little to tough to pull, so I decide to chop.

I warmed up the pizza stone on the egg to warm the corn tortillas...and here is the final result.

The end result was a little disappointing. After all of the work, I basically had two problems. The first was that the majority of the meat, after being on the Egg for 16 hours, was a little too dry. Not inedible dry, but not moist and succulent like everything that has ever come off that egg.

The second problem, which was perhaps more disappointing, was the the meat came out almost flavorless. I mean, you could tell there was the pepper marinade on it, but, I was expecting something so good that everyone on here would want to run out and do this recipe. I read many places where someone said "The best food I have ever eaten" I compare it to the Phantom Menace. You know, it was actually pretty good, but, never really lived up to the expectations.

I think I need to tweak the recipe. I know I definitely want more heat, so, I'll add some more arbol chiles. I think the recipe needs some more salt to help the marinade penetrate the meat. Not sure what else I can do.

I'd welcome any other thoughts or suggestions. I'd really like to give this recipe another shot.
Here is a link to the original recipe:,1,2874490.story?coll=la-headlines-food

Here is a link to some bigger pictures, including some in this process that are not included in the post.


  • Bummer that such a pretty start was disappointing to you. I've got a little taco shack I often for migas tacos in the morning that makes a killer Pastor. Jose and the boys are really friendly, so I'll spend some time talking to them soon and see if they can help with some thought.

    Love the Pastor!
  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Try the following recipe. I have made it before and it has come out great. Instead of roasting the meat up, per the recipe, I left the meat in a roasting pan with the chilies. After a while, the sauce cooks down and the meat falls apart similar to pulled pork. The flavor is incredible and unparalleled. For garnishes I also slice some radishes and chop some raw cabbage. Give it try again, I don’t think that you will disappointed a second time.

    Hope this Helps,

    Adobo Sauce for Carne Adobad
    Carne Adobadas
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,703
    This is weird...just posted a lengthy reply and it vaporized! Anyhow, what a bummer after all that work! Thanks for the many pictures, and although I've never done that dish, there's got to be someone here who can offer a little advice. Hope your next one is a 10! The other day I tried my first go at a pizza and wound up with such a godawful mess of dough, tomato sauce, cheese & all that I finally had to toss it! 8 - (
    Oh well, I'm not a quitter and there's always next time! 8 - )

  • Big'unBig'un Posts: 5,909
    I'm betting that some canned chiptole paste would help make up for the lost flavor and intensity. The earlier suggestion about leaving it in a roasting pan(oil the bottom really good) would also ensure that most of your flavor doesn't escape into the coals. It sounds like you are in the right neighborhood, just some slight tweaking is needed. That's why we all work as a team here. Really good effort!
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,672
    The pictures are great. I think Rhum has a good idea with the roasting pan. I think I'll try it that way & cut pockets instead of slicing into steaks. The colors are amazing & marinade sounds great.

  • Thanks Greenhead, I am really looking forward to trying a new recipe that I found. One thing that is different from your technique is that the pork is thinly sliced, marinated and stacked before cooking...
  • This was a repost by mistake...
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