Tag Archives: compare al pastor and adobada

Tacos al Pastor or Adobada?

Bajadock: The information that I have received on the differences between Tacos al Pastor and Tacos Adobada are as varied as the dozens of stories of the origin of the margarita.  But, when I want to get my meat on, Tacos Adobada are what are served at El Original, Los Chavalos and El Trailero in Ensenada.

What’s yours???

Tacos El Original, foto por Bajadock

Los Chavalos, foto por Bajadock

El Trailero, foto por Bajadock


Al pastor is a popular style of tacos that are most commonly found in Mexico City and Cuernavaca, although they can be found in other places around Mexico as well. In the United States, tacos al pastor are much harder to find, though they are increasingly common in American cities with large Mexican populations. The way to cook and serve tacos al pastor is unique in that the meat is cooked on a grill and then shaved or cut from it at the time of serving. Spit-style cooking of beef taco is not commonly found outside of Mexico, and the counter-intuitive placement of pineapple on top of a taco makes it the hardest to reach taco, making many confuse it with similar but distinct dishes.

The method of cooking with a grill is similar to the way gyroscope or shawarma is prepared. It is believed that the shepherd style was developed due to the influence of Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Over time, the method of meat preparation has gone from being somewhat similar to Lebanese shawarma in the style that can be found nowadays in the tacos restaurants of all the center of Mexico.

Unlike beef shawarma, which is usually lamb, carne al pastor is marinated with pork in a mixture composed of vinegar, a variety of peppers, and other herbs and spices. Pork is allowed to marinate from a couple of hours to a couple of days, and is folded over the vertical rotisserie and cooked using a gas flame. It is not a particular recipe to create meat marinade to the shepherd, and many restaurants take care of their recipe as an important secret.

Tacos al pastor is usually served with a thin slice of pineapple, along with cilantro, onion and salsa. All pineapple normally rests on the top of the meat while it is cooking in the saliva, and is then left to release the bromelain, a pineapple enzyme contained that softens the flesh by breaking down its proteins. When serving the dish, a slice of pineapple is cut and placed on the taco, where it provides a sweet and bitter addition to the flavor profile.

This dish should not be confused with adobada, which means ‘marinade’ in Spanish. Meat marinated in tacos is often marinated with a recipe similar to that used for al pastor. Adobada tacos are usually made with pork, but the meat is not cooked on a grill and the tacos dressed with pineapple slices. These last two traits identify authentic tacos al pastor.

  • Tacos al pastor are something difficult to find in the US.
  • Al pastor tacos are often served with sweet sauce and cilantro.
  • Al pastor has similarities with gyroscopes in the way they are prepared.
  • Al pastor is a popular style of tacos that are most commonly found in Mexico City and Cuernavaca, although they can be found in other places around Mexico as well.
  • Pineapple is commonly served with tacos al pastor
%d bloggers like this: