My fireman grew up in a Bay Area neighborhood that, over time, became predominantly a Mexican neighborhood. As the apartment buildings started to go up, their house was one of the few that still had a big, grassy yard. My Prospective-Mother-in-Law has let two generations of neighborhood little ones play in her yard, occasionally yelling at the kids and her little grandson in Spanglish. From being a part of that interesting neighborhood cultural mash-up, my fireman has attended quite a few quinceaneras, baby showers and everyday block parties and has eaten quite a bit of great, homemade Mexican food. That and he’s never been known to ignore a taco truck!
Mexican food has always been my fireman’s favorite, and Tacos Al Pastor has always been his favorite dish. I wanted to give it a try and it ended up being a big hit. The sauce was scraped from the crock pot! I started by comparing Spanish-language recipes with ones in English online, and there was a big difference! Taking a little bit from each recipe I perused, I made this batch that was absolutely delectable. Plus, I realized after the fact that this recipe also has no added fat! It looks and tastes like something drowned in gorgeous red mystery grease but any fat comes from the meat itself. You can’t say that about the taco stand!
Now to explain why it’s a ‘dynamic duo.’ After reading so many recipes, I wanted to use pineapple juice in my pork Al Pastor. I didn’t want to buy pineapple juice, so I drained a can of crushed pineapple. But what to do with the pineapple now, y’all know that I’m morally opposed to throwing anything away! Here’s where part two comes in. Stay tuned for the recipe to my Mamma’s most excellent pineapple cookies, which calls for (surprise!) drained, crushed pineapple.
Tacos Al Pastor
Serves 4 – cost approx $.88 per serving
- 1 lb pork, cut in 1 inch pieces – any kind will work, I used shoulder roast ($.75, look for the store discounts on meats that are expiring soon and eat or freeze them quickly!)
- garlic salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 2 whole cloves – You could substitute a pinch of ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple drained – juice and pineapple used separately! You should have about 1 – 1 1/2 cups juice ($.40)
- 3 chipotles in adobo – You can add more or less depending on how spicy you want it ($.50)
- 1 Tbs chili powder
- 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- small flour tortillas – they’re quite cheap if you make them yourself! ($.50)
- lime cabbage slaw ($.45)
- 1/2 onion, diced ($.18)
- sliced avocado ($.50)
Break out your crock pot and put in the pork, sprinkle with the garlic salt. Toss in the oregano, cloves and bay leaf. Turn the crock pot on high. Put all the remaining ingredients in the first set together and blend them up. Pour over the pork and let cook for 4-8 hours or until the pork is fall apart tender. I left the lid of my crock pot ajar so that the sauce would reduce a little bit.
Then make up yourself some little tacos and dig in!