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September 27, 2018

American Lamb Tacos Al Pastor


Recipe Provided By
"Over The Fire Cooking"
Prep Time

4 hrs 15 min

Cook Time

3 hrs + 30 min rest

Total Time

7 hrs 45 min



Pineapple top with slices of al pastor meat in a cast iron on the grill


  • 6 pounds sliced American Lamb leg, 1/4-inch thick
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 4 guajillo chiles, seeded, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 whole pineapple, slice off crown and base (reserve), 4 semi-circle halves cut from middle (1/2-inch thick), dice remainder
  • Corn tortillas, warm
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • Cilantro, chopped for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving


In a cast iron skillet, add some oil and garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, cinnamon and pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in pineapple juice, vinegar, achiote paste and guajillo chiles; cook until bubbly. Remove from heat; let cool. 

Using a blender, add marinade from above; blend until liquefied. Pour marinade into a tin dish; add sliced lamb. Mix thoroughly; season with salt. Marinade 4 to 12 hours. 

Using a charcoal chimney, light a fire. Once lit, push charcoal to one side of grill for indirect grilling. Grill temperature should register 325°F. 

Using 2 wooden skewers, push up through bottom of base of the pineapple. Remove lamb from marinade; layer one slice on top of another through the skewers over the base of the pineapple until all meat is on. Add pineapple crown on top; push 2 to 3 wooden skewers through the top for added support. Place skewered meat in a cast iron skillet with pineapple semi-circles around for added support and flavor. 

Place skillet with skewered meat indirectly on the grill. Close lid; cook for 3 hours or until meat registers 145°F. Be sure to maintain even temperature inside grill; rotate meat once or twice to get even cooking. Once meat is done remove from grill; let rest for 30 minutes. 

Slice meat vertically; place on a warm tortilla with onion, cilantro, diced pineapple and lime wedges.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

Lamb Al Pastor open face taco
Lamb Taco Al Pastor folded
thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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