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…..
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
2 red onion, thin slices
2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
Grilled Pineapple Salsa (recipe below)
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!!!
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.
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