Pork Tacos al Pastor {Dallas Gas Station Style}

Carne Adobada / Carne al Pastor para Tacos - lacocinadeleslie.com

Happy September! For those of you that may not know me, September is my absolute favorite month.  And not just because it's my birth month.  The month of September is also a pretty big deal here in Mexico because it's Mes Patrio (Patriotic month).  In my small town we celebrate the entire month of September with a big county fair that we call Las Fiestas.  The celebration is separated into two parts.  The first half of the month we celebrate Las Fiestas Patrias in honor of Dia de la Independencia (Mexican Independence Day).  The second half of September is dedicated to Las Fiestas Patronales, which is a big religious celebration in honor of our town's patron saint.

Here at La Cocina de Leslie we will also be celebrating!  What better way to kick off this month long celebration than with a delicious recipe for saucy pork tacos...Dallas Gas Station Style, which turned out to be very similar to Tacos de Adobada or Tacos al Pastor.

The recipe for these tacos is from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain, who also has a blog by the same name.  An elite group of bloggers, myself included, have received or will be receiving an advanced copy of the book and will be participating in a Spotlight/Cook-Off for the next couple of weeks hosted by my good friend, Girlichef.  (Click here for details and the complete list of bloggers participating in the Spotlight/Cook-Off.)

Now, about the recipe.  I'm usually pretty good about following recipe to a "T", but this wasn't one of those times.  The recipe calls for the meat to be marinated for at least 8 hours before cooking, but  I was worried that the meat wouldn't be tender enough.  So, I treated this recipe as if it were a Chilito de Carne de Puerco and cooked the meat before adding the marinade/adobo sauce.  I also added some of the spices to the cooking water to enhance the flavor of the meat. 

The adobo sauce was easy to put together.  Instead of using pasilla chilies, I used dried ancho chilies (my favorite).   And because I misplaced my bottle of white vinegar somewhere in the process, I substituted it with a little vinagre from my canned jalapeños.

The result?

Ay. Dios. Mio!!!  I have found a new family favorite recipe. The adobo (marinade) is smoky, spicy and so full of flavor. This is a great recipe if you're looking to make Tacos de Adobada. But I couldn't resist turning this up just another notch, so I added a can of crushed pineapple and ended up with the most delicious homemade Tacos al PastorEstan pa' chuparse los dedos!  (Finger lickin' good!)

Tacos de Adobada / Tacos al Pastor - lacocinadeleslie.com

Pork Tacos - Dallas Gas Station Style
(adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain)

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder (lomo de cerdo), cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Cloves (clavos de olor) or ground cloves
  • Cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 4 dried Ancho Chilies
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (I used tangerine) 
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or vinagre de jalapeño
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons lard (manteca) or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained 
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Red Onion, finely chopped (for garnish)
  • Cilantro, finely chopped (for garnish)
  • Lime Wedges (for garnish)

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the pork shoulder with two of the garlic cloves, 2 or 3 cloves and a pinch of cumin seeds; season with salt.  Fill the saucepan with just enough water to cover the meat.    Cover and bring the meat to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer about 90 minutes or until the pork meat is tender.  

While the meat is cooking, toast the ancho chilies in a small skillet or directly over an open flame for just a few seconds.

Cover the chilies in the skillet or a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Remove  from heat and let the chilies soak for about 15 minutes.

Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies.  (You can do this before rehydrating, but I think it's easier afterwards.)  Puree the ancho chilies in a blender with the chipotle pepper, the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of cumin seeds, the orange juice and pineapple juice, white vinager and ground oregano until smooth; set aside.

Once the meat has cooked, remove from heat and drain completely.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork meat and cook until lightly browned.  Pour in the adobo/marinade sauce and the can of crushed pineapple; season with salt. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer until most of the liquid has absorbed.

To serve, warm corn tortillas on a comal or griddle, until soft and pliable.  Spoon a couple tablespoonfuls of the pork filling into the center of each tortilla.  Top with chopped red onion, cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice.  Enjoy!

*For Homemade Tacos de Adobada: Omit the fruit juices and the can of crushed pineapple.

**This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*



  1. That looks amazing! We live in Guadalajara now - but funny enough it was actually at a Dallas gas station (Fuel City to be exact!) that I feel in love with Tacos al Pastor! 

  2. Mmmmm...seriously, every time I see another post, my stomach starts churning again. I loved this pork, and your version looks and sounds scrumptious.  So tasty :) . I'm so happy that you are part of this group!  Sounds like it's a party at your place this month...I'm looking forward to it.

  3. I cut my meat pretty small so it wasn't tough....but I think your cooking method is better...I'll have to try your way. I'm really glad I've found your blog...off to check out your recipe for carnitas.

  4. These look amazing Leslie!  They remind me of some tacos I used to have in Coahuila from a restaurant called El Pastorcito.  :)

  5. Leslie, this is a mouthwatering recipe. You are teaching us not only delicious recipes but to be creative in the kitchen, substituting ingredients and making the best with what we have on hand. Great post! Congrats on your Independence celebrations and keep up the good work.

  6. You're killing me with these pictures, amiga. Brilliant toasting method! Mira. Another 30 days de recetas! Yeah. ; D

  7. you did the book proud... great job!

  8. wow! had no idea Lisa had a book out! yay for her! the tacos look insanely good. I'm on my way to Mexico, so I'll be indulging plenty in all yummy things Mexican food!

  9. Great post and awesome tips on taking alternate cooking directions..
    Thanks for sharing...

  10. I do not doubt for one minute that this was not just mouth-watering - it sure does sound like it... like how you adapted and probably improved the flavors.... Happy sept and happy b'day, I'm a virgo too... have fun this month

  11. Yum! I'm not a fan of too much spice (like HOT spice), but this post definitely made my mouth water. ;)

  12. Ay mama!!! This look GOOD!!!!!  Y U M M Y!

  13. WOW! That really does look delicious! Yummy!

  14. Leslie, those tacos right there are the reason I can't 100% give up meat! Delicious.

  15. Leslie I want to make these so bad but my husband has a thing about pork he doesn't like it and wont eat it can I use beef or chicken n if so what kind would you suggest help!

  16. I was worried about the pork not being tender enough too and I like the method you chose.  Everything looks delicious.  I love the way you have it presented on the plate!

  17. Your photos make me wish I had some right now...so hungry! And Happy September!!

  18. Such wonderful photos and food styling with your tacos--they look mouthwatering. The changes you made to the cooking method make a lot of sense too. Great to be cooking along with you. ;-)

  19. Erin @ EKat's KitchenSeptember 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I love ancho chilis too, and I bet they would be an awesome addition to these tacos. YUM. Great to be cooking with you on this adventure.

  20. Hi Leslie,
    Your taco's look amazing, I really like your tutorial presentation and your photo's are great! We just loved this recipe and will be making it over and over. I just love your blog and am looking forward to cooking with you. Thanks for sharing and have a great week end!
    Miz Helen

  21. I love tacos al pastor, but sometimes they can be really spicy.  These were perfect for me.  The same great flavor, but without the heat! :) 

    Thank you so much for commenting. :) 

  22. Thank you so much for inviting to be part of the group.  I am loving the food and I'm having so much fun making new friends and discovering new food blogs. :)  

  23. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!  Moving to a small town in Mexico, where many ingredients aren't available, I've learned what ingredients make good substitutes. :)  

  24. Lisa's book comes out sometime mid-September.  I want to say the 13th, but I'm not sure.  Where in Mexico will you be???

  25. These were very tasty tacos!  Probably good enough for a tail-gate party! :)  What day is your birthday?  Mine is the 22nd. 

  26. Laura, these tacos were more flavorful than spicy.  I can't handle the heat either, but I LOVED these tacos. :)  

  27. Gnicky, I think the marinade would be great with both beef and chicken. 

  28. I've never had tacos (or any food, for that matter) at a Dallas gas station, but these look soooo good!

  29. I love your alterations! and I absolutely love the plate you have your tacos on. I'm glad to have met you through this wonderful assignment we're all so privileged to be a part of. 

  30. thank you for this gorgeous recipe....can't wait to try it.... Pork is my favorite meat!

  31. Leslie, this is Amanda H@well, we don't have ancho chilies here, can I leave them out or substitute w something else? I have everything but the dried ancho's.

  32. I work about 2 miles from Fuel City and their tacos are fantastic!