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These are delicious, and great for casual group meals. I learned the recipe from an old roommate from Santa Fe, who learned them from his old-timer neighbor. Supposedly this is a fairly 'legit' Mexican recipe; I have no way of knowing (Ouroboros directed me to tacos al pastor, which seems to be the original form - the variant that follows in this node was obviously Americanized to some extent).

Ingredients (makes 10):

  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 lb of of pork, cut into small pieces. I normally use pork chops because they're easy to deal with.
  • A 20 oz can of pineapple chunks, drained
  • A good handful of cilantro, washed and finely cut, with the stems removed
  • Salsa, ideally something chunky and spicy
  • A bottle of hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
  • Lime wedges (you'll need them for the beer anyway, might as well have a lot)
  • (optional) Grated cheese (cheddar or Jack being obvious choices)

Now, time to make them suckers:

  1. Fry the pork in a pan with a small amount of oil. While it's browning, consider adding hot sauce, a little pepper, lime juice, or any other spices you might enjoy having permeate the meat. You can also, of course, use your favorite marinade in advance; I've never felt the need myself.
  2. Heat up a cast iron pan on the stove. Add a small amount of oil, and drop in a single tortilla. Let it briefly sizzle and brown, then flip it and fry the other side a bit. Remove it from the pan and place it on paper towels to absorb the remaining oil. Continue doing this for the rest of the tortillas, adding more oil as necessary. Be careful not to add too much oil at once; you'll drown the tortilla and end up with something that was deep fried instead of just lightly browned and slightly crispy.
  3. Warm the beans in a saucepan on low heat; you should be able to more or less ignore the beans, though try to stir it occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.
  4. Once the pork is cooked through and starting to become browned, add the pineapple. You can also splash the meat with some of the juice, but don't add the full can's worth, as you will essentially turn this from fried pork to pork boiled in juice, which, while actually tasting quite good, is not what we're going for here.
  5. Once the fruit has started to carmelize, remove heat (at this point you'll also want to check on the beans).

Style points are awarded to those who begin drinking prior to step one, and bonus points for those who manage to get somewhat drunk and not burn themselves with hot oil or pork fat. In any case, this concludes the actual cooking portion. You can assemble all of the tacos, if you like, but it's a lot more fun to have everyone do it themselves, making a new taco when they feel like eating more. Set out the meat and pineapple, the tortillas, the hot sauce, and bowls containing the cheese, cilantro, and salsa. Show everyone how to make them (see below), and just let them handle it from there.

The basic construction technique is to take the tortilla, spread some refried beans on it, and then use it as a binding agent to embed bits of pork and pineapple into (nothing worse than losing half your taco because it all slides out of the tortilla). The layering I tend to use from there on out is cheese, then cilantro, then salsa, then hot sauce, then lime, but I don't think there is anything particularly vital about that. Fold up, eat, and enjoy.

Serve with lemonade, limeade, and/or good Mexican beer.

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