Recipe: Baja Pork Tacos

To enjoy like a local, remember to tilt your head, not the taco.
 

Video shot by Jared Sych, styled by Julie Van Rodendaal

On most nights, live music and taco-seeking visitors spill onto the cobblestone street in front of the popular restaurant La Lupita Taco and Mezcal in the busy arts district of San José del Cabo in Mexico.

This is a legendary hotspot for those seeking a true taco experience—they’re known for their al pastor tacos, made with marinated pork roasted on a vertical spit, with chilies, white onion and a slice of pineapple—placed dramatically onto the tortilla with the fast-flick of a knife against the surface of the skinned fruit. You can opt for a taco shell made of asadero cheese or a side of crispy grasshoppers, and wash it down with a local craft beer or mezcal.

Most home cooks don’t have a vertical spit, so this pork shoulder is browned over high heat and slow-roasted in the oven, which leaves the meat pull-apart tender.

Recipe: Baja Pork Tacos

Serves six to eight

Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for cooking
  • 2 to 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • Small corn tortillas
  • Finely chopped white onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Thinly sliced fresh pineapple
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 300˚F and pat the pork dry with paper towels. Mix together the chili powder, cumin and salt, and rub it all over the meat. Set an ovenproof pot over medium-high heat and add a generous drizzle of oil. When the oil is hot, brown the pork on all sides

Tip: DIY salsa is easy to make, simply chop a tomato, serrano chile and onion and mix them all together.

2. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven for three to four hours, or until the pork is very tender. Pull it apart with two forks, tossing the meat in any juices that have collected on the bottom of the pot. Serve the pork on warmed corn tortillas with onion, cilantro and pineapple.

Tip: When assembling your taco, don’t mix ingredients, use layers: tortilla, protein, beans or avocado, and garnish.

[This story appears in the June 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]

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