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Tacos al Pastor: Pork Butt or Pork Loin?

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  • rickgregory
    Founding Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 776
    • Seattle, WA

    #16
    If you can't shave and grill, shave as much as you think you'll eat (or all of it...) and grill/sauté it to crisp it up.

    Comment

    • Potkettleblack
      Club Member
      • Jun 2016
      • 1960
      • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
      • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330 / OK Joe Bronco Drum
        Thermometers: Thermapen / iGrill 2 / Fireboard
        For Smoke: Chunks / Pellet Tube / Mo Pouch
        Sous Vide: Joule / Nomiku WiFi (RIP Nomiku)
        Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something) - it changes

      #17
      Loin at 150 is not particularly fun to eat. I would only take the loin to 140, 145 at peak if you go that way. 140, as it'll coast to 145, easy.

      Shoulder is much more forgiving, more flavorful, cheaper... has all the advantage.

      Comment

      • Michael_in_TX
        Club Member
        • Dec 2018
        • 458
        • Texas Gulf Coast
        • Grills:
          Weber 22" Kettle Premium w/Slow N' Sear 2.0
          Pit Barrel Cooker
          W.C. Bradley & Co. Char Kettle CK-115 ~1980s Vintage Grill (inactive)

          Accessories:
          Thermopop (Instant Read)
          Thermoworks Smoke

        #18
        Welp, I've got ~5 lbs of pork butt marinating in the fridge at the moment. The PBC hanger came today, and well, I just gotta try that method.

        Had an unexpected experience slicing the pork....so I was looking at the bonelesspork butts at the store and they were all 3-4 lbs. I then saw a nice 5 lbs one that looked near perfect so I snatched it up.

        While slicing my knife hits this unexpected impenetrable.....thing. It took me longer than it really should have to realize what I had was a bone-in roast that got mixed in with the boneless ones. Oops. Cutting around the blade bone was challenging, but I managed.

        Comment

        • fzxdoc
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 5177
          • My toys:
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          #19
          So how did it turn out, Michael_in_TX ?

          Have you made any since?

          Kathryn

          Comment

          • Michael_in_TX
            Club Member
            • Dec 2018
            • 458
            • Texas Gulf Coast
            • Grills:
              Weber 22" Kettle Premium w/Slow N' Sear 2.0
              Pit Barrel Cooker
              W.C. Bradley & Co. Char Kettle CK-115 ~1980s Vintage Grill (inactive)

              Accessories:
              Thermopop (Instant Read)
              Thermoworks Smoke

            #20
            It turned out fantastic! Incredible and unique flavor profile, very earthy. The tacos were fantastic. I absolutely plan on making it again.

            Comment

            • zzdocxx
              Club Member
              • Jun 2020
              • 145

              #21
              Originally posted by Michael_in_TX View Post
              Ever since I've learned of the existence of tacos al pastor, I've wanted to try it...the earthiness of the marinade; the sweetness of the pineapple.

              If you're not familiar with it, it is thinly sliced cuts of pork, marinated in a chili sauce, then cooked on a spit with the pork slices interspersed between pineapple slides. The cooked pork is then shaved into corn tortillas and garnished with grilled and fresh pineapple, diced onion, and cilantro. Basically, street tacos.

              Now that I have a Pit Barrel Cooker, I must do tacos al pastor as I found a video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3CgiNQfLP0) on TheHollarBBQ's channel in which he uses the PBC turkey hanger as the "spit." I just gotta do it after seeing that.


              Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 7.41.09 PM.png Views:	616 Size:	583.4 KB ID:	800061

              Now, there are a decent number of tacos al pastor videos and recipes on the internet. To be sure, much of the variance in is in the pastor marinade, but one primary difference is the cut of pork used. I'd say about 75% of them use pork butt or shoulder, while the rest -- including Steven Raichlen, to my surprise -- use pork loin.

              Both cuts of pork are prepared consistently the same: 1/4" to 1/2" slices, marinated overnight, then baked or smoked for several hours (often piled up on a skewer with pineapple rings spaced in between the slices). The videos that do mention a final internal temp seem to be pulling the pork when it hits 160-165 for the pork butt and 150 for the pork loin.

              My thinking and inexperience makes me want to try pork butt over loin as it is fattier (more flavorful?), but only if I can get it tender and it surprises me that people are pulling it so early (as opposed to 190 or 203). Perhaps the thinness of the slices helps make it tender, even at such a low temperature for cooking pork butt. (And even in the video I linked above, the pork sure seems to be shredding nicely.)

              Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 7.42.06 PM.png Views:	319 Size:	539.2 KB ID:	800062

              Which cut do yall think would work best?
              Holy Moley that looks good ! ! !

              PS I also would vote for pork butt.

              Comment

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