Jump to content

Tacos de Adobada/Tacos Al Pastor

Recommended Posts

Adobada Tacos/Tacos Al Pastor


You probably know this dish as Tacos Al Pastor. I call it Adobada Tacos. Who is right? The answer is both of us are. In Mexico, the terms get used differently depending on the region and you will find further discussions about if it’s Al Pastor or Adobada depending on if it’s on the griddle after it’s been cut. The sensible answer to this is that Adobada is the type of sauce or marinade that is commonly found in many Mexican dishes. You will often see dishes served “in adobada sauce”. They call the pork on the spit Tacos Al Pastor. But in Baja California which is close to where I live in San Diego, we call it Tacos Adobada, and that is also fine. For a detailed discussion on this read this article https://frugalcooking.com/is-al-pastor-the-same-as-adobada/



Now for the dish. What exactly is Al Pastor or Adobada tacos? It’s the ultimate fusion food. It’s basically a Mexican version of Middle Easter Shawarma. But the Mexican people adapted it to their region and used their spices and pork instead of chicken. That’s it in a nutshell. For more info about this check out this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_pastor


I live in San Diego, precisely 8 miles North of Tijuana, Mexico where their taquerias are legendary and Adobada/Al Pastor reign. I actually had a business in Tijuana for 2 years and ate at all the best tacos stands in the City and I consider this one of my areas of expertise so it’s always been something I wanted to cook at home, especially now in the Pandemic, when I can’t cross the border to get my taco fix.


In previous attempts I have used the rotisserie on my KK to attempt this dish. (seen here https://komodokamadoforum.com/topic/2453-everyday-misc-cooking-photos-w-details/page/296/?tab=comments#comment-127969 I stacked the meat on the spit and then used a foil tray to act as a deflector over the coals. This worked, but it was hard to manage. Hard to cut the meat and eventually the aluminum tray would get super-hot and sometimes end up melting by the end of the cook which isn’t good either. So, enter the Trompo King. I saw this thing on the KK forum and thought that could be a great solution for what I am looking for. The Trompo king allows for vertical stacking of the meat, but more importantly it has a nice collector tray below it where the meat can be shaved and then cooked further which is key to executing this dish. The Trompo King can be found here https://smokeware.com/products/trompo-king


Here is the recipe I used as a template for this cook. I think this recipe is pretty damn authentic, although I do think it’s a little heavy on the adobo sauce side and I may try increasing the sugar on subsequent cooks, but it is damn good to start to start with this and season as you see fit.


There are a couple of key ingredients you will need to purchase to make this cook happen. I will list them below.


1.     Dried Guarillo Peppers – available in any Mexican market but also on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Guajillo-Chiles-Peppers-Dried-Whole/dp/B087XBKNB7/ref=sr_1_16?dchild=1&keywords=guajillo+peppers+dried+el+guapo&qid=1609555947&refinements=p_72%3A1248897011&rnid=1248895011&s=grocery&sr=1-16

2.     Dried Chipotle Pepper  available at any Mexican market but also on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Dried-Chipotle-Morita-Chile-Peppers/dp/B0821P2R3G/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=dried+chipotle+peppers&qid=1609556057&refinements=p_72%3A1248897011&rnid=1248895011&s=grocery&sr=1-5

3.     Achioete Paste - https://www.amazon.com/El-Yucateco-Achiote-Red-Paste/dp/B0000GHNVI/ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-nc-drs2_0?crid=3HZWBZNRY04XJ&cv_ct_cx=achiote+paste&dchild=1&keywords=achiote+paste&pd_rd_i=B0000GHNVI&pd_rd_r=a9ce6812-13a3-475f-9a3d-5cda389c772e&pd_rd_w=Dd06o&pd_rd_wg=3VpEl&pf_rd_p=a64002b9-9c26-4361-b8a1-b0f5a4835670&pf_rd_r=5AJEBBH4CTYWAQ63MXRR&psc=1&qid=1609556116&s=grocery&sprefix=achio%2Cgrocery%2C231&sr=1-2-38d0a374-3318-4625-ad92-b6761a63ecf6


The rest of the ingredients calls for Mexican oregano, Mexican cumin, Mexican Thyme, and Mexican brown sugar. You can use what you have in your pantry but if you plan to make this dish often there are subtle flavor differences using the Mexican herbs and sugar you can also find those on Amazon.


When prepping the adobo sauce, I like to use my KK and cast-iron pan so it has more of that “smokey flavor” I generally cook something else the day before on my KK then make the adobo sauce while my KK is still going and prepare the marinade and meat for the next day.


When prepping the pork butt, it helps to freeze it for 4-5 hours so you can make nice cuts prior to marinating. When you are prepping to cut the pork butt, trim off the fat cap, also make cuts that would look like they would fit well on the skewer. You want about ½ thick cuts. Take each cut and lather it in marinade and then refrigerate overnight. I like to use pineapple juice and orange juice in my marinade, but that’s up to you.


The other recommendation I have for executing this dish is to make sure that as you slice off the outside layer of meat, spray the spit and meat on the tray with pineapple juice. it helps to caramelize it all.


I cooked the meat at 375 and it took me about 3 hours to do a 7 lb. pork butt. In previous attempts on the spit, I’ve done it at 450 and it cooked faster, but in this last attempt I liked the cadence of slicing every 20 minutes as I could let the meat cook on the tray below and prep some condiments.


The condiments to this dish make it all come together. It’s essential that you use you the following

1.     Raw onion

2.     Sliced radishes

3.     Fresh cilantro

4.     Pineapple chunks


I like to make a creamy salsa verde but that’s also up to you. If you are so inclined one could use this recipe https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/tomatillo_salsa_verde/  (although I do add a 1/2 cup of Mexican Crema to this recipe because I like it creamy)


Lastly, the final key is to serve this dish on a lightly toasted flour taco sized tortilla. This isn’t a burrito, find and source some small taco sized tortilla. The tortilla is really a key ingredient here and it’s easy to gloss over it. I don’t make my own because I live in San Diego and can go to a stand and pick up a fresh pack super easily, but if you live in another country or a place where getting fresh tortillas isn’t an option have you no fear. It’s upper easy to make and it’s a great skill to teach your kids to do for you while you cook. Here is a recipe to make fresh tortillas https://thecafesucrefarine.com/best-ever-homemade-flour-tortillas/


if you are so inclined you can get a tortilla press to make it even easier If you’ve never had a fresh tortilla, I encourage you to try to once and see what you think.  It makes a world of a difference in the end product. https://www.amazon.com/Estrella-Tortilla-Pataconera-Original-MEXICO/dp/B01LRDID2A/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=tortilla+press&qid=1609557105&refinements=p_72%3A1248915011&rnid=1248913011&s=home-garden&sr=1-7



Here are some photos of the latest cook using the Trompo King. If you have any questions on this cook please reach out, I’d be happy to help but it’s an amazing dish to cook for your friends.

Rehydrating CHilies.jpg

Chillies in Food processor.jpg

Food Processor.jpg

Sliced Pork Butt.jpg

Chillies in Cast Iron.jpg

Chillies in Cast Iron 2.jpg

Sliced Pork Butt 2.jpg

Meat Marinade Bag.jpg

Meat Prior to Grill.jpg

Meat Prior to Grill 2.jpg

KK Meat on a Stick.jpg

Meat on a Stick 1.jpg

Meat on a Stick 2.jpg

Meat on a Stick 3.jpg

Meat on a Stick 4.jpg

Meat on a Stick 5.jpg

Meat on a Stick 6.jpg

Meat Plate.jpg



Condiments & Meat.jpg

Finished Taco.jpg

Finished Taco 2.jpg

Meat Tray.jpg

Final Meat Tray.jpg

Edited by Troble
  • Like 7
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow.  That looks great @Troble.  We are currently mining the "Taco Chronicles" on Netflix and The Husband and I have made a pact to have tacos every other week (alternating with pizza), what's not to like?  Going to have to adapt some of the ingredients but I am very much looking forward to trying this out. You say adobado, they say al pastor, I say yummilicious!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@tekobo the taco chronicles are great. That’s a fabulous show. I would think you could find most of the ingredients in the UK. The real thing with Mexican food is the chilies and peppers. However if you are serious about your tacos invest in a tortilla press and learn how to make them, or find a local place you can grab them 

If any of you have any trouble sourcing peppers or ingredients let me know I’ll send you a package. They sell big bags of dried peppers at the markets by my house. I could easily send you a box that would last you a  year if you wanted. Ingredients should not be the issue here 

Edited by Troble
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m also going to include this cook here as I feel like it’s almost an obligatory follow up cook to this dish. You should have extra tortillas because one never wants to run out of tortillas when making tacos so the following day you make breakfast tacos, using preferably applewood smoked bacon 

take the tortillas lightly toast it and upon the flip sprinkle a little cheese on there, before it’s fully melted take it off to rest and continue melting. Take some of your leftover Mexican oregano and make scrambled eggs. Serve with sliced avocado and my preference is siracha sauce on top. My favorite breakfast plate 





Edited by Troble
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your my favorite Mexican restaurant that "I can't eat at", Troble.  For shame, the pictures will have to do. Glad the center post worked so well for you and with such appetizing results. I remember some time ago watching on Youtube a gentlemen that traveled to Mexico in search of the best Adobada Tacos, to discover the best recipe. Once he surmised the ingredients his next trial was to build the cooker. He fashioned this out of a large beer keg split down the middle and opened, then fitted with a Roto and charcoal shelves to sear the meat as it turned in a vertical position. Nice to see someone shake the tree, yep, looks like a useful tool with umpteen applications for marinated meats. Sideways or vertical, spinning or sitting, I've been meaning to prepare this dish for some time, thanks for the gentle kick to get me started.  Start me up as the Stone's would say. 

In addition your pictures reminded me of this quote;   Pull up a chair   Take a taste   Come join us    Life is so endlessly Delicious. R. Reichel




Edited by Tyrus
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Tyrusthat is a fantastic quote I haven’t heard. I’m definitely stealing that, it may even have to be placed strategically in the outdoor kitchen. I love it. I would totally get one of those keg cookers. That’s the only difference with the stand is it doesn’t spin, I was a bit surprised at the lack of quantity of juices that came from the pork butt, but I also really cut trimmed off the fat cap. 

i will say though @Tyrus that I do believe I will be searching for that perfect Adobada recipe. While this recipe is damn good start I still need to do some tweaking but I suspect I won’t have any dramatic insights until I can cross the border and go back to Tijuana again. I intend to do a trip and go to a couple of my favorite spots, buy the guy a beer and have him show me how they make their marinades. Then I’ll learn a few tricks that I can bring back and share 

true story but that was how I learned to make Lomo Saltado in Peru. We went to Macau Pichu and the night before we stayed in Aguas Calienyes which is the town just below Machu Pichu. We stayed at the nicest hotel there and  ate at their restaurant where I took a ceviche class in the afternoon (still have my handwritten notes from that). At dinner that night I ordered Lomo Saltado and the sauce was so flavorful and intense that I kept asking the server how the chef made it. It wasn’t very busy and finally the server asked me if I wanted to go to the kitchen.I said yes of course and the chef had me and my wife put the hairnet on and he let me record a video of him making it. I then referred to that video numerous times over the years until I nailed it accordingly and now my wife’s Peruvian family tells me I make the best Lomo Saltado they have found in SoCal

Edited by Troble
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am such a copy cat.  This is @Troble's original:


Here is my copy, using beef and suya spices:


I was desperate to try this and, following @BOC's advice about how to make a Trombo King of my own, I hunted around in my cake tin box and presented The Husband with this, an hour before it needed to go on the grill.  Make me one of those please I said.


He drilled a hole through the middle and "secured" the skewer with a plate he found in his workshop.  


Here it is loaded up


Lessons learned?  Cook low and slow initially to avoid too much fat rendering and collecting in the base, cut the skewer so that it fits within the KK without tilting and ... do it again. Soon.  


  • Like 6
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@tekobo, @Basher @MacKenzie I went to the post office and UPS to try to mail you guys a huge package of goodies but was shut down saying I’m not able to send perishables to AU, UK or CAN 

@tony b yours is on the way 

@Tyrus , @jonjmessage me your address and I’ll give you the package was planning on getting you guys in round two

drove home quickly to drop off the bags and to my surprise the delivery was in my driveway to deliver my new KK, he showed up 4 hours early even though I confirmed multiple times I wouldn’t be home till 1pm today. So good news bad news 

gotta run to work appt back later to unpack 









Edited by Troble
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Tyrus said:

Wow, another KK. Well congratulations. OK cut to the chase and crack open the box. What a perfect lawn, like a putting green... I'm envious

@Tyrus it’s fake turf have to get the KK over that was gonna have the driver help me originally but didn’t have time due to the early arrival. Working now. Can’t Uncrate till later 

Edited by Troble
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...