Cooking With Chef Babs

Al Pastor



1 hour

active time

4 hours + marinade time

total time


4 dried ancho chili peppers

5 dried guajillo chili peppers

3/4 cup white vinegar

1 cup pineapple juice

3.5 tablespoons achiote paste

10 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons kosher salt plus more to taste

One full pineapple

4-5 lb boneless pork butt shoulder sliced thinly, no more than 1/2 an inch

warm tortillas (for serving)

limes wedges (for serving)

diced white onion (for serving)

cilantro (for serving)

additional diced pineapple (for serving)

mexican cheese (preferably Cotija or Chihuahua, for serving)


- Remove both the stems and seeds from the chili peppers. Soak them in boiling water in a large bowl with a towel over the top to let them steep. Remove after about 30 minutes.

- While the chiles are softening, add the vinegar, pineapple juice, achiote paste, garlic, brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, and salt to a blender and blend until they are incorporated.

- Add the chiles to the blender and blend until a smooth but thick marinade forms.

- Slice the pork shoulder into roughly ½ inch slices. They should resemble thin steaks.

- In a large zip lock bag or bowl with a lid, add the pork and marinade together. Make sure to rub the marinade onto all the pieces.

- Place the pork shoulder into the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

- The following day, preheat your oven to 300 degrees roughly four hours before you intend to eat.

- Place a vertical metal skewer inside of a deep roasting pan or cast iron skillet, place one large slice of the pineapple on first before adding the slices of pork. Try to keep the stack roughly uniform in shape, with smaller pieces in between larger ones. This helps with even cooking. Add the second slice of pineapple last as a cap.

-Before placing in the oven, cover the pork in aluminum foil. This helps heat the meat more evenly and also prevents it from charring and drying out too quickly.

- Place the tower of meat on the lowest rack of the oven. Cook until it's 105-110 degrees.

- Carefully take the meat out from the oven and remove the aluminum foil. Return to the oven for another hour and a half or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees. Baste the meat occasionally in its juices, pouring a small amount of water into the pan/skillet to prevent the drippings from burning.

- Once the meat is finished, remove from the oven, letting it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into small, thin strips.

- Optional (but highly recommended) step is to reincorporate some of the drippings from the pan back into the chopped meat.

- Serve with the warm tortillas, onions, lime wedges, cilantro, pineapple, and cheese!


El Milagro makes the best store bought tortillas, flour or corn, for tacos like these that you can get around Chicago. Make sure they still feel nice and soft at the store when you go to purchase them.

If you don't happen to have a vertical skewer, what can work is instead is a large oven safe bowl (such as pyrex) and 2-3 grill skewers. You then place the skewered meat horizontally across the bowl so the drippings collect within it. Just make sure to turn the meat every so often to make sure everything is cooking evenly.



1 hour

active time

4 hours + marinade time

total time
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