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Beef Al Pastor

Beef Al Pastor is a delightful twist for meat lovers. I made it yesterday and it was just as delicious! I cooked it with simple ingredients and made some tacos at the end. Stick around to learn how to make beef al pastor at home and get some expert tips to make it perfect every time.

What is Al Pastor Beef? (Introducing the Dish)

Al Pastor beef is a mouth-watering dish made by marinating beef in a blend of pineapple juice and spices. Traditionally, Al Pastor is made with pork but beef lovers and those who don’t like to eat bacon do not make it.

What is Al Pastor Beef (Introducing the Dish)

Luckily, I’ve found that the beef version is also juicy, flavorful, and perfect for tacos, burritos, or just eating on its own. So, if somebody asks you, “Can you make al pastor with beef,” the answer is yes. You still get the same rich flavors.

I know the Beef al pastor slow cooker recipe was popular once, but now we have a much better one. In fact, people now cook Chipotle Al Pastor and even the vegan option.

No matter what, I like to cook the meat in a grill but you can also use a pan.

Beef Al Pastor Ingredients

To make delicious Beef Al Pastor, you will need some ingredients, like:

Beef (sliced thin)2 lbs
Pineapple (diced)1 cup
Pineapple juice1/2 cup
Red onion (sliced)1 large
Garlic (minced)4 cloves
Chipotle peppers2-3
Vinegar1/4 cup
Oregano1 tsp
Cumin1 tsp
Paprika1 tsp
SaltTo taste
Black pepperTo taste
Olive oil2 tbsp

You may have noted that these ingredients are often recommended by experts to those who want to stay healthy.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Beef Al Pastor?

Beef Al Pastor isn’t just tasty. You can eat it if you want to enjoy some health benefits. The top ones are:

  • Protein Power: Beef is a great source of protein, which helps build and repair muscles. If you’re active or trying to get stronger, the protein in this dish can help you reach your goals.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Beef provides essential vitamins like B12, which is good for your blood and nerve cells. It also has iron, which helps prevent anemia and keeps you feeling energetic.
  • Healthy Fats: Beef contains healthy fats that are important for your body. These fats help your brain function and keep your skin looking good. Just remember, everything in moderation!
  • Boosts Immunity: The garlic and onions in Beef Al Pastor are known for their immune-boosting properties. They can help you fight off colds and infections, keeping you healthier.
  • Digestive Health: The pineapple in the dish is not just for flavor. It can make it easier for your stomach to break down proteins and reduce bloating.

How To Make Al Pastor Beef? Easy Al Pastor Beef Recipe

To make Al Pastor beef, marinate thinly sliced beef in pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, chipotle peppers, and spices. Then, cook it in a pan or on a grill until it gets tender. After this, you can serve the cooked beef with warm tortillas, fresh cilantro, and diced onions.

Step 1: Marinate the Beef

marinate the beef

First, let’s marinate the beef. Here’s the beef al pastor marinade recipe:

  • Take your thinly sliced beef and place it in a large bowl. 
  • In the same bowl, add pineapple juice, vinegar, minced garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper. 
  • Mix everything well, ensuring the beef is fully coated. 
  • Cover the beef and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The reason for the long wait is that it allows the beef to soak up all the delicious flavors.

Step 2: Cook the Beef

Once the beef has marinated, it’s time to cook it.

  • Heat a large pan or grill. You can add a bit of olive oil as well.
  • After a few minutes, add the marinated beef in batches. Remember not to overcrowd the pan.
  • Then, cook the beef for about four minutes on each side until it’s nicely browned. If you’re using a grill, cook the beef for the same amount of time, turning it once to ensure it’s cooked evenly.
step 2 cook the beef

Some people prefer Al Pastor ground beef. If you do too, then you can grind the meat in this step. If you want, you can smoke the meat here for a smoky flavor.

Step 3: Prepare the Toppings

When the beef is cooking, don’t sit idle. Use this time to prepare the toppings. I recommend dicing a red onion and chopping some fresh cilantro. You can also cut up more pineapple if you like. These toppings add a “vibrant” flavor to your Al Pastor beef.

Step 4: Assemble the Tacos

Now, take a warm tortilla and add a few slices of cooked beef. Top it with diced onions, chopped cilantro, and a few pieces of pineapple. If you like a bit of heat, you can also add some salsa or hot sauce. Enjoy your delicious Al Pastor beef tacos!

assemble the tacos

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Finally, serve your Al Pastor beef tacos immediately while they’re hot. In my experience, they are best enjoyed fresh, but you can store it in the fridge for  3 to 5 days. Just reheat the beef in a pan before serving.

What is the Instapot Al Pastor Beef Recipe?

Instapot Al Pastor beef is a super easy and quick way to make Al Pastor using an Instant Pot. You marinate the beef in a mix of pineapple juice, chili peppers, and spices, then cook it in the Instant Pot.

That’s it. This recipe makes the beef really tender and flavorful fast. It’s perfect for tacos, burritos, or just eating on its own.

Instapot Al Pastor Beef Recipe

Is Carne Al Pastor Beef or Pork? Let’s Find Out

Carne al pastor is traditionally made with pork. The pork is marinated and cooked on a vertical spit. However, you can also make al pastor with beef if you prefer. According to chefs, beef is a great alternative because it is rich in texture. 

Pork has been the classic choice for generations, and it’s easy to see why. But the thing is – billions of people don’t eat it because of religious or ethical reasons. That’s why beef al pastor is becoming more popular.

To make Carne Al Pastor, you can marinate beef in the same way as pork.

Is Tacos Al Pastor Beef or Pork? Know the Answer

Mexicans have been making Tacos al pastor with pork for decades. It’s true that some prefer chicken. The pork or chicken is marinated and cooked on a vertical spit or a grill. But you can also make tacos al pastor with beef, which offers a delicious twist on the classic recipe.

The process is similar: marinate the beef in pineapple juice, chili peppers, and spices, then cook it on a grill or in a pan. People always tell me that they eat Al Pastor beef tacos with  fresh salsa and guacamole.

Pork vs Chicken vs Beef Al Pastor: A Comparison

Pork is a traditional choice but people are now using chicken and beef to make Al Pastor. Note that pork is sweet-spicy, chicken is lighter and leaner, and beef is rich and hearty. This means that each meat offers a unique flavor and texture.

Here’s a pork vs chicken vs beef Al Pastor comparison table:

FeaturePork Al PastorChicken Al PastorBeef Al Pastor
FlavorSweet and spicy with a rich, smoky tasteMild and slightly tangy, lighter flavorRich, hearty, and slightly smoky
TextureTender and juicy, slightly charredLean and tender, but not as juicyTender with a bit more chew
Traditional UseMost traditional, common in Mexican street foodLess traditional but popular for a lighter optionLess common, offers a hearty twist
Cooking MethodCooked on a vertical spit or grillUsually grilled or cooked in a panGrilled or cooked in a pan
Nutritional ContentHigher in fat and caloriesLower in fat and calories, lean proteinHigher in protein, moderate fat
VersatilityGreat for tacos, burritos, and bowlsGood for tacos, salads, and wrapsPerfect for tacos, bowls, and hearty dishes
PopularityMost popular and widely recognizedGaining popularity as a healthy alternativeGrowing in popularity for its rich flavor

6 Tips for Perfecting Beef al Pastor

I’ve been reading Al Pastor recipes for years now and have followed over a dozen of them. During that time, I have tried some things that have made this Mexican dish a lot more flavorful. Here are the tips:

Use Fresh Ingredients

According to Julia Child, fresh ingredients make a huge difference. Therefore, always use fresh pineapple, fresh garlic, and fresh spices. I know it might seem easier to use canned or prepackaged items, but fresh ingredients bring out the best flavors.

Marinate Longer

If you have the time, marinate your beef longer. Rick Bayless, who is an expert in cooking Mexican dishes, often says that a few hours is good, but letting the beef marinate overnight makes it even more flavorful. I also usually prepare my marinade the night before to give it extra time.

Slice Beef Thinly

Rachael Ray has said that the thin slices of beef cook more evenly. In my experience, thin slices also absorb the marinade better. If the beef is too thick, it might not get as tender or flavorful.

I like to slice my beef as thin as possible, almost like deli meat. This helps it cook quickly and stay juicy.

Don’t Overcrowd the Pan

You should never overcrowd the pan while cooking. If you put too much beef in the pan at once, it can steam instead of sear. I usually cook my beef in three batches to get the best results.

Add Pineapple Chunks Last

Marinating with pineapple juice is one of the best things to do when making Al Pastor. But adding pineapple chunks during the last few minutes of cooking makes the dish even better. The pineapple caramelizes slightly, which will give a sweet contrast to the savory beef.

Experiment with Toppings

I always say that you should never be afraid to get creative with your toppings. Traditional toppings include onions and cilantro, but you can also add things like:

  • Avocado
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Lime.
  • Cauliflower

I love trying new toppings to see what combinations I like best. It keeps things exciting and adds new flavors.

Bottom Line

Beef al pastor is a fantastic dish that brings together amazing flavors and fun. Remember these points:

  • Marinate your beef for a few hours (or overnight for the best flavor).
  • Use fresh ingredients to enhance the taste.
  • Cook evenly so that no side feels raw.
  • Make tacos and enjoy them with salsa.

That’s all.

Beef Al Pastor

Beef al pastor recipe is super easy. Beef lovers will only have to follow the steps discussed here to eat something magical.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Beef Al Pastor Recipe
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 690kcal


  • Beef sliced thin
  • Pineapple diced
  • Pineapple juice
  • Red onion sliced
  • Garlic minced
  • Chipotle peppers
  • Vinegar
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil


  • Step 1: Marinate the Beef
  • Step 2: Cook the Beef
  • Step 3: Prepare the Toppings
  • Step 4: Assemble the Tacos
  • Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

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