The History of Al Pastor (Street Tacos)

The History of Al Pastor (Street Tacos)

Where did Tacos Al Pastor originate?

We all fall hard for the taste of good food, we have the urge and want
to know everything there is to know about a certain type of food. What inspires
it? Where the idea came to be put in a plate? What are its origins? What makes
up that cuisine finger licking well? We are just about to learn all those thing
about the Mexico’s Al pastors. The famous tacos Al pastors come from Mexico right? Yes it is true but looking on the bigger picture that’s not the whole story behind Al pastors. Actually the
method of preparation originates from Lebanon and it is a shawarma inspired
dish.

 

Mexican Street Food

Street food in Mexico is called antojitos which literally
means “little cravings” simply because they are foods not eaten at formal meals
especially a main day meal and is served in the mid-afternoon. Finding street
food is much easier during the morning hours and in the evening. They are
usually not available outside Mexico City in the mid afternoons. These small vendors
with the best food are usually located along the major bus stops and local
markets that have fair traffic. The food is prepared at small traditional
vendors in the local markets. Mexico has the most all-embraced street food culture
in Latin America. A majority of this street food is made out of corn. Street food has had a significant impact on the haute cuisine in Mexico and was named by UNESCO as an intangible cultural
heritage, apart from that Mexico was ranked as among the top ten cities for
street food in worldwide. There are a wide variety of street foods available to
meet you taste and they range from tacos, tamales, cemita, nachos, fajita and
so many more as well as fresh fruit vegetable s beverages and soups. Below we
shall briefly discuss the best known and most popular of the Mexican street
food, the tacos

Al-pastor is a common popular dish among people in the
Central areas of Mexico. It is commonly confused with the spit-grilled shawarma
of the Lebanese culture as stated above. AL pastors nature is typically pork
based and is marinated in a combination of dries chilies, spices, and
pineapple. Having being derived from such a style of preparation, tacos al
pastor is similar to the Greek gyros and Turkish donair Kebab.

 

Tacos

The taco is a simply folded tortilla with some kind of
fillings inside. The fillings vary from region to region but most tacos are
usually made with corn tortillas, with an exception of the very north of Mexico
where flour tortillas dominate. The tacos are soft although they can be fried
which is also referred to as Dorado and its lit-golden. The tacos have their
origin when other foods were eaten with tortillas that were used as scoops in
the Hispanic period. The taco bridges a bridge both socially and economically
in that everyone eats them which makes it to also be referred as the most
democratic Mexican food.

The most known filling for tacos and most specialized in is
the Pastor and bistek. Taco venders are commonly differentiated form the rest
of the street food vendors by the presence of a wood block called the tronco on
which meat and other fillings are minced with a cleaver. The garnishes differ but
usually include chopped onion, cilantro grilled green onions and lime wedges.

 

Introduction to Mexico’s AL pastor.

 

The name Al pastor originates from Spanish means shepherd style. Being derived from shawarma, it
is also similar to the Turkish doner kebab, Shawarma and doner on the other
hand are usually lamb-based (hence the shepherd-style” name). Tacos al pastor
in in Mexico are pork based. In Baja California some areas in North of Mexico
this taco is called taco de adobada. The English translation of Al pastor is
“in the style of the shepherd.” – Mexican shepherds adapted a Lebanese style of
spilt-rotating lamb, using pork in place of the mutton, and the food became a
beloved Mexican cuisine worldwide.

AL pastors nature is typically pork based and is marinated
in a combination of dries chilies, spices, and pineapple. Having being derived
from such a style of preparation, tacos al pastor is similar to the Greek gyros
and Turkish doner Kebab.

Al pastor history

The famous tacos Al pastors come from Mexico Yes it is true
but looking on the bigger picture that’s not the whole story behind Al pastors.
Actually the method of preparation originates from Lebanon and it is a shawarma
inspired dish.

Al pastor is also known as taco al pastor this is a dish,
developed in Central Mexico they were originally dubbed Tacos Arabees back in
the 1960s though it is not clearly known if this was the main origin. It is
based on shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by the Lebanese immigrants to
Mexico. They were thinly sliced,
marinated pieces of pork that are put on a vertical shishkabob an cooked openly
while rotating in the fire. The Lebanese immigration to Mexico started in the
19th century whereby in 1892 the first Lebanese arrived in Mexico
from France .Mexican-born offspring’s of Lebanese immigrants began starting up
there on restaurants and combining their
heritage with Mexican Cuisines.
According to some study cases Mexican Al tacos pastor, Middle Eastern Shawarma
and Greek Gyros are all derived from the Turkish doner Kebab, which was
invented in Bursa in the 19th Century.

When did the taco Al pastor makes an appearance in Toronto, Canada and the U. S and where?

According to research done the first mention of Al taco was
seen in 1905 in a newspaper. That was the time when Mexicans migrants had started
to come – working the mines among other jobs in the U.S. At that time and age
Mexican food was seen as street food and lower class and low standard food. It
was associated with Mexican woman who were street vendors and we called the chili
queens. The chlilli queens this was how Al pastor started up in the U.S.

Al pastors preparation

Tacos al pastors as stated above are made from thin strips
of pork that have been marinated in spices and chilies and the stacked onto a
long spit dubbed a trompo. In most cases a pineapple and onions are placed on top of the spilt and as it cooks, the outside layer gets all crispy form the heat exposure. The al pastor maker shaves of the outer layers and you might top the pork with some sliced pineapples, salsa or cilantro. The
key thing is to facilitate juices and fat to drip down into the stack.

The al Pastor taco is now a common cuisine among many
people worldwide and a favorite to many. Like any other food that migrates from
one place to the other, varied changes have been made to the Al pastor to make
local available ingredients and to ensure it best suits a certain locality’s
palettes. In the mentioned case the meet is flavor with a variety of chilies
and the topped with a pineapple roasting.

The pineapple toping ads some sweetness and acidity, apart
from that it also has an enzyme called bremelain that breaks down the protein
hence making the meat very tender. Shawarma spits may not be available at our
homes therefore below is a recipe to work in an oven or grilling cooker. The pineapple is expected to go into the marinade
which gets layered into the roast and is then left to marinade for a short
amount of time, the meets turns out to be very soft and stunningly tender with
a different earthy Smokey flavor coming from the dried chilies and nice balance
of sweetness, tartness and salt.

Below is a recipe on how to do your Al pastor tacos, this won’t our al pastor recipe from Toronto Tacos Baos but its what most people commonly find on the internet for some of the best taco recipes in Toronto. But when you think of Al pastor in Toronto we want you to think of us Tacos Baos.

 

Ingredients

 

  • • 10
    guajillo chilies, seeds removed

 

  • • 3
    pounds boneless pork shoulder sliced thick

 

  • • 2
    chilies

 

  • • Eight
    peeled garlic cloves.

 

  • • 1
    cup white vinegar

 

  • • ¼
    cup sugar

 

  • • 3
    tablespoons prepared or fresh paste

 

  • • 3
    ounces kosher

 

  • • 7
    table spoons Diamond crystal or 4 tablespoons

 

  • • plus
    2 teaspoons Morton), plus more

 

  • • 1
    pineapple, divided

 

  • • 1
    medium onion, chopped finely

 

  • • 2
    red habanero chilies, seeds removed, finely chopped

 

  • • ¼
    cup fresh mint, chopped

 

  • • 3
    tablespoons fresh lime juice

 

  • • 16
    corn tortillas

 

  • • Lime
    wedges (for serving)

 

For Serving

 

  • Corn tortillas

 

  • Vidalia onion minced

 

  • Cilantro minced

 

  • 1 cup lime

 

  • 1 batch salsa Verde

 

  • For salsa Verde

 

  • 4 large tomatillos (or 6 smaller ones husked and
    washed well with warm water)

 

  • onion slices

 

  • 4 peppers

 

  • 3 Garlic cloves

 

  • ¼ cup cilantro

 

  • lime juiced

 

  • Salt to taste

 

Instructions:

Deep freeze the pork until its firm enough to cut (about 40
min)

Take the roast from your freezer and orient the roast hoe you’d
have it sitting in the roasting pan. Avoid slicing it through

Slather then marinade between all the layers until every
nook and cranny is covered. Tie the roast together cover it and allow it to marinade
for no more than 60 min.

As earlier discussed fresh pineapple has an enzyme that
breaks down the proteins making it tender.
Marinate it and if the pines are canned leave it overnight. If the pines
are fresh 2hours are enough.

Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies and put them in
a bowl. Boil some water and pour it into the chilies and allow them to hydrate
(about 10 minutes). Put chilies in a food processor along with all the other
marinade ingredients and cook until smooth, Add marinade to a pot and bring to
a boil for 5 min. This destroyers some of the enzymes in fresh pine apple that
can turn you meat into a mush. Turn off the heat and let the marinade cool.

When the roast is ready to be ovened set it to 450 degrees.
Put the roast on the rack in a roasting pan the add water to the bottom of the
pan to keep the drippings from smoking. Roast for 30 minutes at the above
mentioned temperature add your pineapples on the roast top and turn down to 250
degrees of heat. Give the meat about three hours to tenderize.

After the meat is removed from the oven, cover it up with a
foil and let it rest for about 30 minutes. When you are set to serve you just
cut the meat up into tiny cubes. You can fry them in this state as it will give
them a bit more caramelization though it’s optional.

To assemble the tacos just heat up a pile of tortillas in
the microwave covered with a damp paper towel for a minute. Using 2 tortillas
per taco, fill with meat then top up with minced salsa Verde onions and
cilantros. Then serve with a wedged lime for squeezing.

For salsa Verde

 

Move your oven rack to the top most position and lay down a
piece of foil. Score the bottoms of the tomatillos so they do not explode then
place them on a foil. Place the jalapenos skin side up around the tomatillos
along with the onions and garlic. Turn the broiler on and allowed everything to
get a nice bubbly char going on. Using tongs, flip things over and then char
the other side. The smaller items like onion and garlic may need to come out
first.

 

Flake off any excess char (you want to keep some of it)
then toss everything in a food processor along with the cilantro and salt and
pepper. Process until smooth

 

Conclusion

 

AL pastor is a good Mexican meal especially for those who
love pork Al-pastor is a common popular dish among people in the Central areas
of Mexico. It is commonly confused with the spit-grilled shawarma of the
Lebanese culture as stated above The strong street food culture among Mexicans
is another strong aspect that is very stunning. Mexicans have proven to keep up
with this unique aspect even though most people despise street food due to
hygiene issues. But most of the Mexican do not really seem to be affected by
this.

 

 

 

 

By | 2017-11-20T00:20:06+00:00 November 18th, 2017|Categories: Food|Comments Off on The History of Al Pastor (Street Tacos)

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