During our stay in Austin this past month, Kathryne and I lived for a month with our version of a very “minimalist” kitchen.
The house that we rented definitely had some of the basic pots and pans. But in order to do our jobs and cook for a month, we got all Google-spreadsheet-y beforehand and coordinated a few “essential” items to bring along, like my favorite Le Creuset Dutch oven (which we both loved so much we had to schedule times to use it), her favorite food processor (that she can’t live without), and a good-quality lime juicer (for regular margarita nights at home, a must). We kept culling back our list to keep things as simple as possible, nixing things like our stand mixers and extra baking dishes that would take up space we didn’t have. And at the last second, I decided to also leave my beloved slow cooker back at home in KC.
Over the course of the month, I decided unequivocally that having a slow cooker is not an option in my kitchen. It’s a must!! I kept having idea after idea while we were down there for various slow cooker recipes that I wanted to make, and with us buzzing all over town during the days in evenings, there was no way I was going to babysit some recipes while they slow cooked on the stove. Patience is not a virtue of mine. So instead, I fired up my crock pot the second I got home and have been slow cooking my way through a delicious list of recipes ever since.
First up? Slow cooker tacos al pastor.
I realized — around the time I ate my 500th taco in Austin — that I had actually never tried making tacos al pastor homemade before. Which is something I immediately needed to address, because I’m a mega fan. I mean, tender pork marinated with fresh pineapple and chiles and lime juice? What’s not to love??
Well, let’s just say that this classic combination is even more lovable when the slow cooker does all the work for you. No need to babysit a pot on the stove all day. Just puree up the marinade, toss it in the slow cooker with your pork, and let the slow cooker work its magic.
Then a big pot of tender, juicy, flavorful, perfect pork will be yours to enjoy.
I served mine up street-taco-style, with fresh chopped cilantro, onions, and a few lime wedges. And since I had some pineapple leftover, I also tossed in a few tidbits. (Fresh, mind you. Resist any temptation to use canned pineapple in this recipe. Resist!)
If you want, you can also add some crumbly Mexican cheese on top, like cotija or queso fresco. But otherwise, the slow cooked pork is the rockstar of the recipe, so there’s not much else you need.
Ah, feels so good to write those words again. Slow cooker, I missed you. :)
Cut the pork shoulder into 2-inch cubes. Add the pork to the bowl of the slow cooker.
Add the chipotles in adobo, pineapple, red onion, chili powder, lime juice, white vinegar, salt, cumin and black pepper to a blender or food processor. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the beer until it is evenly combined. Then pour the mixture on top of the pork, and toss until the pork is evenly coated.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours, until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork. Use two forks to shred the pork, then toss it in the remaining juices.
Serve warm on tortillas, garnished with optional toppings.
Hello! I’m not too familiar with pork. Is a boston butt a similar peice of meat as the shoulder? Thanks!
Hi Kristin! Yes, they are very similar cuts. We hope you enjoy!
Made this recipe last night exactly as described above. The pork was good, but I definitely thought it could use more spice. I’m thinking that all the people saying it’s too spicy are using 2 cans of chipotles in adobo instead of just 2 peppers from one can. The mixture was very soupy and I probably pulled about 3-4 cups of excess liquid out before returning my pork to the crock pot. I think they reheated really well! My boyfriend loved them. Will make again with more spice.
I loved these tacos. The recipe was so easy and quite tasty!
do you think i could marinade the pork overnight in the puree?
Mine came out like soup followed everything not sure what happened…. tastes ok but not like pastor I’m used.
Looks delicious! About how much (weight or volume) pineapple should we use if we were to use pre-sliced pineapple?
Ok I think I may have already asked a similar question way back, so sorry! On an earlier page of comments so I didn’t see and completely forgot. Clearly this has been on my wish list of things to make for way too long and I need to finally try this!
My husband and are huge taco eaters and I love all of your recipes. It’s the first place I look for idea’s. Thanks for using fresh simple ingredients and great flavor.
I’ve recently purchased and instant pot and I was curious if I could cook it that way. Maybe even utilizing your carnitas recipe as reference?
I love your recipes and your stories.
Holy mother of God. These were amazing. I made them for Superbowl tonight. You rock – thank you!!!
Just too Good!! I tried this recipe at home and the outcome was of just another level. Me and my sister made it at home and I must tell you I’m a big taco lover. This recipe has become my favorite recipe for Tacos Al Pastor.
Not sure about a lot of this recipe.
For one, there’s no such thing as boneless pork shoulder roast. It wouldn’t be a shoulder without being bone-in, and it also doesn’t exist in stores.
As others have said, the 12 oz of Negro Modelo also makes it very soupy. I scooped out at least 5 cups just like another person said.
When y ou say 2 chiles in adobo, are you taking the seeds oud? And you only mean 2 chiles? Because that’s like 0 chile. I just finished a batch earlier last night and it’s not spicy at all, and I put in 3 or 4.
Love this! Packs some heat, so I offered sour cream for the tender tongued. Served with avocado and mango slices on artisan tortillas. Used an inexpensive, bone in butt roast. Got lazy halfway through cutting the pork, so I put the uncut chunk on top of the cubed and slathered with sauce. 4 hours later the meat fell off the bone and I plucked out the bone and fat cap, shredded the meat and let it simmer another hour. Great summer crockpot recipe, will make again! Thanks Ali!
Made this for my family. It was good, but not very authentic. The tacos were delicious but the flavor was not what I was expecting. Maybe I will tinker with the ingredients…….IDK.
I love this recipe and have made this several times in my slow cooker.
Is there an equivalent one for the instant pot?
Another gluten free fluid option would be Tepache, a drink I make in my zero waste kitchen from the top, peels, eyes, bottom and core of a fresh pineapple. Fermented for 3 days in a 3 liter glass jar with 3/4 cup of simple syrup made from organic sugar and filtered water to fill, then bottled in flip top bottles and refrigerated for a week, it is low alcohol and low sugar.
I don’t even eat pork but this was good! I accidentally got a pork butt with the bone it so it didn’t shred like I had hoped but whatever. No complaints.
Has anyone tried using canned pineapple?
Yep, I used crushed pineapple in a can.
Recipe came out very watery, though. And nothing like the al pastor I eat at taco shops.
Question: I’m making this for 13 adults this weekend. Do you think a double recipe will be enough?
It looks delicious! And, I’m going to serve with pickled red onions, the toppings you suggested and guacamole with chips.
Easy and delicious. Personally, next time I’ll add more chipotle/adobo. I like it spicy!
This was terrible. The beer is just so not appropriate. I can’t believe I blindly followed the suggestion. Watery, soupy, flavorless, yet spicy. Wait, not flavorless—there was absolutely the flavor of beer, which was totally inappropriate! Zero stars af af af af af. I mean, maybe one star for teaching me what not to do?
This was good but needed a few changes. Do not add ANY beer or broth. The liquid from a whole pineapple plus meat juices is PLENTY. Added an extra couple of Chipotle in adobo for flavor and some more cumin. There also is zero need to cut the meat in advance. My 10 lb shoulder fell apart and couldn’t be more tender. I’ve never heard of cutting up this meat before slow cooking Waste of time. The flavor came out nice though!
Delicious!! Made this for week 44 of 53 weeks of taco Tuesday and will definitely be making again.
Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try the tacos. I am sure it will taste as good as it looks.
Can you make this recipe with chicken breast? Any adjustments?
Hi! Is this 2 of the peppers from the can or two cans of chipotle peppers in adobo?
I make these regularly and my family and I LOVE them! I always broil the meat tossed in a cup of the sauce after shredding until slightly crispy at the end and they are to die for.
For those who are saying it is too soupy, try placing the drained meat once done onto a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes-it leaves a nice char on it.
It is so good, but I don’t have a lot of patience so I did it in my pressure cooker for 2 hours! It also does slow cooking. It just moved and didn’t have the slow cooker top. Oh my gosh it is so good! Exactly like what you would get in Ensenada Mexico or Roserita Beach Mexico! Delicious 😋 one of my favorite saved recipes!