Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mexican Rotisserie Pork Loin Tacos

I wanted to try making tacos al pastor last night.  If you are not familiar with them, it is kind of like a gyro, only it uses pork on a huge vertical rotisserie.  The meat is sliced off in pieces for the tacos.

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia taco al pastor entry
The only problems were
  1. I didn't have 6 hours of prep time, 
  2. I've never made them before, and 
  3. I didn't have a vertical rotisserie.  

But I've never let being short on time, inexperienced, and under-equipped stop me before (wait, that sounds bad....).

Here is what I came up with on the fly using a regular rotisserie on my Brinkmann charcoal grill.  These little units are fantastic.  You can get a "universal" one that fits most charcoal or gas grills like this Mr. BBQ model from Target for $29.99.   You can spend more for heavier duty motors, but mine was a $30 unit and it's done well over the past year.

Mexican Rotisserie Pork Loin Tacos

Mexican Rotisserie Pork Loin Tacos

3 lb pork loin, boneless
1 ea large sweet onion

1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried chipolte pepper, ground

black beans, cheese, sour cream, cilantro

Score the fat cap side of the pork loin.  It's not 100% necessary but I also like to tie my pork loin roasts to keep them more uniform in shape.

Mix the spices together for your dry rub and season your pork loin.  Use all of the seasoning for one 3 lb roast.  It might seem a little heavy handed but it will balance out. 

pork roast for Mexican Rotisserie Pork Tacos

Place the roast onto your rotisserie rod and secure with the two end pieces.  Stick the onion on whole, you don't have to even worry about peeling it, the onion paper will burn off.

Set your grill up for indirect heat with the coals not directly under the rotisserie like this.

You might notice some of the coals in the picture are grey and some are just starting to catch.  I put 1/2 chimney full of unlit charcoal into the grill.  Then I added 1/2 chimney of lit charcoal.  This gives a longer burn time.  The lit coals provide the initial heat and then the unlit ones catch and maintain the heat as the others die down.  I was using regular (aka "blue bag") Kingsford, not Competition. 

As you cook it on the rotisserie with the grill lid open, the fat will start to render down and the roast will start basting itself as it spins.

You want to keep the temperature medium high around 400f.   I test it by holding my hand at the height of the pork roast, where I should be able to only hold my hand there for 3-4 seconds before having to pull it away.  That's a subjective measure but it works for me.  Cook until the roast hits an internal temperature of 145f.

Pull the roast at 145f and let it rest for at least 10 minutes on a raised rack.  It took 1 hour and 15 minutes last night but go by your temps, not cooking times.

The temp will rise 5-10 degrees during the rest.

Cut the roasted onion into wedges.  To mimic the shavings from tacos al pastor, slice very thinly at angles to get thin wedges of roast.  You are not trying to get whole slices all the way across.

Serve on flour tortillas with toppings of your choice.

Mexican rotisserie pork loin tacos

I was quite happy with how this turned out.  It was perfectly cooked, tender on the inside, crispy on the outside.  The rub basted with the pork fat delivered the flavor I was looking for.  It might not have been authentic tacos al pastor but it was authentically good!


  1. I don't know if you are a genius, but you are some piece of work! You inspire me. Also,I am happy that you're not 165 degree pork cooker. Keep it up, pal.

  2. I too successfully made Tacos al pastor without digging a pit in my back yard for that huge vertical meat hook. Even though they were to die for delicious, somehow I bet yours were tastier.

  3. Oh, wow, that looks so good. I have a feeling I'll be craving pork tacos all day!

  4. Delicious!! I have GOT to get a rotisserie!!!

  5. wow. That looks excellent. One of the few things I do not have a rotisserie- great idea to get one!! Thanks again for the many inspiring posts.

  6. That's such a beauty you have there...

    i love rotisserie over charcoal. So restful to sit and listen to the fat sizzle as it drips

  7. Love the pastor and the immaginative construction!

  8. This looks fantastic! I must try this.

  9. I loved this line...."But I've never let being short on time, inexperienced, and under-equipped stop me before (wait, that sounds bad....)." - Totally cracked me up!

    I need to get some propane for my grill so that I can cook a pork loin like this on my rotisserie spit. Looks damn tasty!

  10. 6 hours?Only Harpo Industries would have that kind of prep time for food.

  11. I'm drooling! It looks great and I've never even heard of pork for tacos, but it sounds perfect to me. One of these days, maybe in August, it just might warm up enough here to enjoy cooking on the grill! I'll be saving your recipe till then!

  12. Looks awesome Chris and so does the corn in the previous post - both drool worthy!

  13. Lookks really good Chris - I like my pork loin to bee pink.

  14. That looks absolutely delicious! I need to get a rotisserie for my grill.

  15. Ole! This looks delicious, Chris. My favorite part was the bit about the onion. It's always fun to learn a little trick like that. And in answer to your question. Yes! I do want to come over for dinner tonight. ;)

  16. It's not too early to hint that you want a huge vertical rotisserie for Father's Day.

  17. your pictures are always so mouthwatering! this looks wonderful!

  18. I had no idea you could get one of those rotisserie things at Target so inexpensively. Must get one!

  19. Pffft...I mean seriously...you don't have 6 hours of prep? And you call yourself a cook! lol Love the tacos..oh how I would love a big ass rotisserie.

  20. Drooool . . . looks so good. I miss charcoal!

    Love the video too - I could watch that meat spin all the time. Up here there is a "Rotisserie Chicken Channel" on some cable stations from a chain in Canada. It is up with the fireplace channel and is just rotisserie chicken over and over.

  21. Brilliant idea! That will really do to substitute vertical rotisserie and it's great to know that it didn't take you 6 hours to achieve the tenderness you wanted.

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  22. For being underequipped, inexperienced, and rushed these came out pretty amazingly. Actually, they came out amazingly even if you forget all of those things.

  23. Let me know when the house next door goes up for sale - I think we need to be neighbors. We waited 45 minutes for a table at a mediocre Mexican restaurant last night and I know they've never served anything as good as this looks! As a parting gift, I fear Montezuma is taking his revenge! Aye Carrumba!


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