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Craving • Tacos al Pastor

Published Nov 1, 2010 - (Updated Dec 3, 2012)

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An indisputable king of popular nighttime Mexican cuisine—for some reason, you can seldom find them anywhere before sundown—tacos al pastor  are made with thinly sliced pork that has been marinated for a couple of days and stacked on a vertical rotisserie, a concept believed to have been borrowed from Lebanese immigrants. The shape of the stack, similar to a child’s toy trompo, or top, makes them known as tacos de trompo in some parts of Mexico.

While the pineapple on top of the trompo may seem an ornamental touch, it actually contains a powerful enzyme that helps tenderize the meat as it is cooked. Small pieces of the fruit are then added to the tacos for a distinctive flavor and aroma.

And on your plate, whether you are standing at a taco stand outside a nightclub in the wee hours of the morning or at a taquería, such as Readers’ Choice Award-winning Takos Panchos, these habit-forming treats are garnished with a variety of freshly made salsas, chopped cilantro and onion, lime juice and grilled onions on the side. Your Mexican experience will definitely not be complete without them!


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