By Claire Stern
Updated Oct 04, 2016 @ 8:00 am
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Evan Sung

Tuesdays have become synonymous with Mexican food, and even more so when it's National Taco Day. To celebrate the glorious occasion today, Oct. 4, we're rallying behind this easy-to-make recipe for tacos al pastor (translation: "shepherd's-style tacos") by Alex Stupak, the superstar chef behind N.Y.C.-based Mexican restaurants Empellón Taqueria and Empellón Cocina, because sometimes you just want to indulge in the privacy of your own home.

All you need to get started are four boneless pork shoulder steaks, tortillas, and assorted toppings. "We tend to think of pork shoulder as something that needs to be braised, but a well-butchered shoulder steak given a swift ride on a ripping hot grill can be a thing of beauty," Stupak writes of the dish in his cookbook, Tacos: Recipes and Provocations ($22;, which features creative riffs on the culinary staple (cheeseburger tacos are apparently a thing).

Get the full breakdown below, and be prepared to reap the benefits in up to 15 minutes. But remember to take your time slicing the finished meat. "Thin bias-cut slivers are the ideal texture here," Stupak adds.


Tacos al Pastor

Makes: 12 tacos


For the filling
Vegetable oil, for the grill
1 cup Adobo marinade (we like Mama Sita, $10;
4 1/2-inch-thick boneless pork shoulder steaks (2 lbs total)
Kosher salt, as needed

To assemble the tacos
1/4 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 24 even slices
1/2 medium white onion, minched
60 cilantro leaves (from about 15 sprigs), roughly chopped
2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
Corn or flour tortillas


For the filling

1. Preheat a grill to the hottest possible setting and brush with vegetable oil. Slather about 1 cup of the Adobo all over the pork steaks and season liberally with salt.

2. Place the pork steaks on the hot grill and cook for 3 minutes. Rotate 45 degrees and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for 3 minutes. The finished steaks should have visible charred grill marks. Remove from the grill, transfer to a plate, and set aside to rest in a warm place.

3. Make one batch of tortillas and hold them warm.

4. Cut the pork steaks against the grain and on the bias—you want the slices to be as thin as possible, almost shaved, to achieve the right tenderness and texture for al pastor.

To assemble the tacos

1. Lay out the warm tortillas on serving plates. Evenly distribute the grilled pork and the pineapple slices among the tortillas.

2. Top with salsa, as desired, along with the minced onion and chopped cilantro. Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side.

Recipe reprinted from TACOS: RECIPES AND PROVOCATIONS by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman. Copyright © 2015 by Empellon Holdings LLC. Photos by Evan Sung. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.