Al Pastor from Wood Fired Spit?
All the Al Pastor I have eaten has been superior when served cut straight off the trompo, the stuff sitting on the griddle does not measure up. So, much like grilled steak is better when grilled over wood or charcoal than gas, is there such a thing as Al Pastor that is spit cooked over(or beside) real wood or charcoal? Logistically it sounds difficult, but the product produced would be fantastic. I've only seen gas fired or infrared vertical spit cookers, but I have only had Pastor at a limited number of places in the LA area. I know our little community here is well versed in Al Pastor, so is any made on the spit with charcoal or wood fuel, better if in the SGV? As a side note, the best Al Pastor I have ever had was at King Taco, but only at the 3rd st. @ 710 fwy location. TIA
I have never seen Al Pastor cooked using wood or charcoal in LA. In Mexico, they often use a combination of wood and gas but sometimes just gas. More important in my opinion is that Al Pastor be cooked on a rotating spit. Sliced pork with an "Al Pastor" seasoning/marinade that is then cooked on a flattop grill (a la plancha) is not Al Pastor. Unfortunately, some restaurants offer this variation of "Al Pastor". I have learned to ask to see the spit before ordering.
Hey DWB.I just happened to have gotten back from having a taco de pastor at the place in Mexico City that invented al pastor, El Tizoncito.
You are right, it should NEVER touch the griddle, and should be sliced in thin shavings directly on to the tortilla.The meat should be pure pork loin.The meat should look well manicured with lines formed by consistent cuts by the taquero.Pineapple slices should be added to the taco, ample amounts of onion and cilantro, and a salsa roja.Even though the shavings of pork are thin, they should be tender to the touch.
In DF, all three places I had al pastor tacos used charcoal.You can find trompos here in LA using gas.I would be less worried about the heat source than the quality of the meat and the fresh ingredients used in the marinade.Any store bought pastes are going to overpower the flavor.The guys at Tizoncito stressed the marinade and meat quality.
I think that al pastor is a lost cause here in LA, and that is only going to be pulled off by a real taquero, with skills.At Tizoncito, the taqueros also flick pineapple from atop the trompo catching the chunks onto the taco.They also do the same with the sauce, all done swiftly and neatly.
The closest al pastor worth having would be in TJ.Or, if you see any trompo with a pina on top and a taquero putting on a show around LA charging $1.75-$2 per taco, it might be worth investigating. But, griddling?Walk away.
Folks, please keep discussion on where this can be found in the L.A. area. General discussion of this type of cooking is appropriate on the General Topics board. Specific recommendations of restaurants in Mexico belongs on our Mexico board.
We're every bit as hopeful that it exists here. If anyone has a local tip, please share. Thanks.