GA Mountain Eggfest 2017 – Tacos al Pastor

OH WOW!!!!   There is no way to adequately describe the great time we had at The Georgia Mountain Eggfest this past Saturday!   Here’s the story…..

 

AngryManCooks

The Angry Man – Glenn Martin – cooking Tacos al Pastor on the Big Green Egg at The Georgia Mountain Eggfest in Hiawassee, GA on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

 

Held up in Hiawassee, GA on the shores of Lake Chatuge, the Georgia Mountain Eggfest is a super gathering of Egghead cooks sharing their skills. This year 126 BGE cooks served just over 2,200 “tasters” who strolled the festival sampling great foods as they learned about cooking on The Egg.   Hear me now when I tell you that these are strange events – all the BGE cooks are volunteers who invest a lot of time and money to share food and knowledge about cooking on the BGE. These cooks pick their favorite recipes to prepare and give away at the festival – and hey, the cooks even pay for the food! It’s a labor of love and joy to share the experience and hopefully assist others in their cooking or interest in the BGE. We were there!

 

TEAM---Mountain-Eggfest-2017

The Angry Man BBQ Cooking Team at the Georgia Mountain Eggfest.  The Angry Man (aka Glenn), The Pleasant Lady (aka Nancy), Kathy and Mark.

 

This year The Pleasant Lady and I were joined by our good friends Mark & Kathy for the Eggfest. Mark and I have shared our cooking interest for years and have attended other eggfests and cooking classes together. They were a perfect addition to our team for the festival – we had a blast working with them.

 

ATaco

We served over 800 mini-tacos between 9am and 2pm on Saturday. The Pleasant Lady had cut out all the little flour tortillas from large ones – we got 4 smalls from a 10-inch tortilla. It’s just a taste at an eggfest to inspire you to go home and cook!

 

As I’ve posted before I’ve been working on the technique for making Tacos al Pastor for several months now. There has been on of those trendy little videos making its way around the internet that was our inspiration to figure this one out. My final recipe is below and I think it’s a great blend of the traditional Mexican spices for heat and the pineapple for sweetness.

 

TacoMakers

Nancy and Kathy had an amazing assembly rhythm running all day. These ladies are Taco Queens!

TheCooks

Mark and I managed the cooking on 2 large BGEs.

 

We served just over 800 tacos on Saturday – The Pleasant Lady and Kathy had an amazing taco assembly system rolling all day. Mark and I were cooking as well as talking with the crowds (well, ok, I was talking).

After a full day of cooking, taco assembly and talking we all relaxed at Brasstown Valley and swapped remembrances of a great day over a superb prime-rib dinner.   I can never express my appreciation to our entire team for a superb day at the Eggfest.  And Mark & Kathy are already planning to cook this one with us next year – maybe!

 

TwoOfUs

The Pleasant Lady and me at Brasstown Valley Resort on Saturday evening.

 

Here’s how to make them…..

Tacos al Pastor is a traditional Mexican dish that uses pork, rich Mexican spices and pineapple to create a tender and tasty meat for a super taco experience.   Slices of pork are marinated in the spicy mixture and stacked on a skewer for vertical roasting. In a traditional setting you might see a vertical rotisserie spinning the meat in front of a flame. Much like you may have seen at a Gyro stand they would carve off just enough meat to get the charred flavorful outside for serving allowing another layer to begin cooking.   We don’t have a vertical rotisserie so we use the convection nature of the BGE to cook the meat on a vertical spike. Pineapple salsa, onion and cilantro are traditional garnishes to finish off the Taco al Pastor. Here’s a look at how I’m preparing mine and the recipe as well. Give them a try!   It’s a lot of work but well worth it.

Ingredients

Odds are you will make a visit to your local Mexican market for the traditional spices. Here’s the ingredients for the marinade for the Tacos al Pastor.

 

REadyToBlend

This is all the ingredients just prior to blending. You’ll need to run the blender long enough to totally puree the pineapple chunks.

 

RedReady

The Anchiote Paste is a deep red spice and it really adds the color to the marinade. Be careful – this can be messy and the red stays with you (that’s experience speaking).

 

PorkLoinWhole

I tested with both boneless boston butt and with pork loin. The whole loin won for several reasons: it’s lean, less waste, ease of assembly, less expensive. Choose your favorite when you cook.

 

PorkLoinSliced

My slicing technique! Cut the loin into 3 equal pieces and then slice each third down the length of it. All the thin slices allow the flavor of he marinade to penetrate the meat much more than if you used a single large piece.

 

StickAndPan

The Ceramic Grill Store Meat Stick – a marvelous invention for holding the stacked meat. We placed this on a 9 inch pizza pan for stability and ease of moving. The pan also gave a great base for cooking.

CerGrillStoreThe Ceramic Grill Store Meat Stick is available online at www.ceramicgrillstore.com.  https://ceramicgrillstore.com/products/meat-stick

StackedAndReady

Once it has marinated at least 4 hours the meat is stacked on a large skewer for cooking. All the different edges are wonderful places for browning and the formation of super crust.

 

PlumbingTs

We use copper plumbing Ts as spacers between the pizza pan and the platesetter (conveggtor) while coking. That slight air gap really helps keep the bottom layers from overcooking. Also, the stack needs to go as low as possible in the BGE to fit.

 

OnTheBGE

In the BGE ready to cook at 350 dome temp. Note the foil on the platesetter that really keeps it clean.

 

REadyToCarve

Cooked to a center internal temp of 145. The sugar from the pineapple may want to char a little more than you like. I’ve started wrapping a foil tent over the stack at about an hour into the cook and then pulling it at 140 degrees to allow the crust to set.

 

Slicing1

Once it is done take it off the cooker and give the stack at least a 10 minute rest. Then slice down the stack and enjoy watching the beautiful slices fall and cascade down into the pan.

 

CarveDownToStick

Rotate around as you slice. The goal is to get all the way to the stick.

 

Tacos Al Pastor (Stacked Pork)
This is my variation of the video recipe that has been floating around the internet.

8-9 pounds boneless pork loin
6 tablespoons anchiote paste (check your local Mexican market)
4 tablespoons guajillo chili powder
2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon pepper
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks or slices

Taco Toppings
2 red onion, thin slices
2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
Grilled Pineapple Salsa (recipe below)

 

BGE Setup

This will be an indirect heat cook at 350° dome temp so use a platesetter/conveggtor.   To keep the stack low in the dome we use ½ inch copper plumbing Ts between the platesetter and the the pizza pam holding the stack. This gives a slight air space and helps to keep the lower meat and juices from burning. We use 4 Ts for stability.   Cover your platesetter/conveggtor with heavy duty foil – this is a messy cook!!!

 

PREPARATION
1. Slice the pork shoulder into about 1-centimeter slices, then transfer to ziplock bags.
2. In a blender, combine the achiote powder, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar, and pineapple. Blend until smooth with no lumps.
3. Pour the marinade over the pork, then toss the pork slices to make sure that they are all coated on all sides.   Seal the bags and marinate the pork for at least 3 hours, up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
4. Place your cooking spike on a small flat baking pan. We use a 9 inch pizza pan and the Meat Spike from the Ceramic Grill store.
5. Remove the pork from the fridge and push the slices through the skewer, layering one after the other until all the pork is on the skewer. Stick them pretty much in the center of the slice as you stack. Rotate as you go to create a bit of an inverse flower look.   This is messy!
6. Bake for about 3 ½ hours in the BGE with plate setter at 350° or until internal temperature at center of stack is 145°, You might like it slightly charred on the outside.   We use copper plumbing Ts to provide a slight airspace between the plate setter and the pizza pan holding the meat stack.
7. Rest the meat for about 10 minutes, then carve down the side of the stack to create thin slices of the pork.
8. To assemble and serve, place some pork on the tortillas, followed by a few pieces of pineapple, a sprinkle of onions, a pinch of cilantro, then a small spoonful of the salsa.

ENJOY!!

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

4 slices of pineapple – grilled to brown each side – then coarsely chopped
Mix in a bowl with the chopped pineapple:
¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro
3 TBSP thin sliced red onion
3 TBSP Lime Juice
¼ tsp Kosher Salt
½ jalapeno – thin sliced/diced

 

 

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6 Responses to "GA Mountain Eggfest 2017 – Tacos al Pastor"

  1. C Coleman says:

    Are there other applications for meat stick?

    • Glenn says:

      That’s the next project. I’m going to try some beef for a steak sammich situation. It will also hold chicken(s) for vertical roasting. It does call for some creativity to that it’s not a one trick wonder!

    • Kent Atkins says:

      We are doing similar at an EggFest this weekend! Looks great and glad to hear it worked well! As far as other things to do on the spit, Look at doing shawarma and look at other Mexican Taco styles. Tacos El Gordo in Las Vegas does SEVERAL of their meats on vertical spits. Also Gyros and Doner Kebabs are cooked in this fashion.

      • Glenn says:

        Good luck with your cook at the EggFest! Thanks for reaching out to The Angry Man – hope your fest cooking goes so well that there is not a bit of anger!

  2. Greg says:

    Those were excellent Glenn!

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