Tacos el Pastor is a beloved staple in Mexican cuisine, with a rich history that dates back to the 1930s when Lebanese immigrants introduced the technique of spit-grilling meats to Mexico. This delightful dish marries traditional Middle Eastern shawarma with Mexican flavors, creating an explosion of taste that has become a nighttime favorite across Mexico and beyond. If you're a taco enthusiast, home cook, or simply a lover of authentic Mexican food, this guide is your passport to achieving the tantalizing flavors of Tacos el Pastor right in your own kitchen.

tacos el pastor


To bring this iconic dish to life, you'll need:

  • 2 lbs of pork shoulder, thinly sliced
  • 3 guajillo chiles, seeds removed
  • 2 ancho chiles, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pineapple, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Corn tortillas

Most of these ingredients can be found at your local grocery store or specialty Mexican market.



  1. Toast the guajillo and ancho chiles in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Boil the toasted chiles in water for about 10 minutes to soften. Drain and transfer to a blender.
  3. Add orange juice, vinegar, garlic, cumin, oregano, paprika, cloves, cinnamon, and salt to the blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. In a bowl, coat the pork slices thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Pineapple and Onion Garnish

  1. Save a few thin slices of pineapple for garnishing tacos and dice the rest.
  2. Mix diced pineapple with chopped onion in a bowl and set aside for garnishing.


  1. Preheat your grill or skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. If you're using a grill, place the marinated pork slices directly on the grill. For skillet cooking, add a small amount of oil to the pan before adding the pork.
  3. Cook the pork for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until slightly charred and cooked through.
  4. In the last few minutes of cooking, add pineapple slices to the grill or skillet, cooking until they're nicely caramelized.
  5. Once cooked, chop the pork and pineapple into bite-sized pieces.


  1. Warm the corn tortillas on the grill or in a dry skillet.
  2. Place a generous amount of the chopped pork and pineapple onto each tortilla.
  3. Garnish with the pineapple and onion mix, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Serving Suggestions

Tacos el Pastor are best enjoyed fresh off the grill, accompanied by a side of spicy salsa and a cold Mexican beer or a tangy margarita.


Creating Tacos el Pastor at home is a rewarding experience that brings the essence of Mexican street food to your table. With this guide, you're well on your way to enjoying the authentic, vibrant flavors of Mexico. Don't hesitate to experiment with the recipe and make it your own. We'd love to hear about your cooking adventures and how your tacos turned out. ¡Buen provecho!

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