|Pork and pineapple tacos al pastor are gluten-free and simple enough for weekday fare.|
|Tacos al pastor is sloppy, yet simple, fare for dinner|
I like to get food inspirations from Cooks Illustrated, and then to pursue one of two ends: either to go back to the source and make the most authentic possible version of the dish described, as when I went back to the source, repeatedly, making cassoulet, or alternately, make the recipe even easier without losing too much of the quality. According to the author of a recipe for tacos al pastor I found in a recent issue, this is street food, and is typically grilled. Yet CI's tacos al pastor are a bit fussy for a sloppy crowd pleaser. I decided to dumb them down.
|Braised, then broiled pork, tossed in the simmering sauce for serving as tacos al pastor|
In simplifying tacos al pastor, I started my modifications at the cooking method. The "al pastor" in the name means, in the style of a shepherd. "Pastor" is "shepherd," like the pastor of a "flock" of church congregants. Why is it called that? Because when you get this in a real Mexican taqueria, it's cooked on an upright spit, a method borrowed from Arab-Mexican shepherds, and the same way lamb for gyros is cooked today in most restaurants.
Feel free to grill your pork for this recipe, but I find that, for my purposes, which is just to put a little color on some already braised pork and to warm up some fruit, I don't feel called to start a charcoal fire. I feel like braising on the stovetop or in the oven, or letting the crock pot do most of the work, and then finishing it off on the broiler.
|Taco al pastor with a side of braised cabbage and carrots|
Spicy Pork Tacos (al Pastor) in Cooks' Illustrated (login required)