Smoked Al pastor feature image

Smoked Al Pastor

Smoked Al Pastor is a must-try dish! It’s packed with flavors and is really simple to cook. A few simple things and you can enjoy the mouth-watering dish. So, stick around for the recipe. You’ll also find out which pellet grills to use and which sides to go for.

Smoked Al pastor feature image

What Is Smoked Al Pastor? (Introduction)

Smoked Al Pastor is a delicious dish that is full of smoky flavors. It’s a bit different from traditional al pastor, which is usually cooked on a vertical spit. The smoked Al Pastor is made on a pellet grill, which gives the meat a unique and rich taste.

How to Smoke Al Pastor?

You can smoke Al pastor with a snooker. Here’s what to do:

  • First, marinate the meat.
  • Then, set your smoker to about 250°F. 
  • Place the marinated meat on the smoker and cook it well (internal temperature should be 195°F). This usually takes around five hours.
How to Smoke Al Pastor

Best Pellet Grills You Should Choose

Choosing the right pellet grill is super important for smoking Al Pastor. Here are my top picks:

Smoked Al Pastor Pit Boss 

Pit Boss grills are super durable and easy to use. They offer a wide range of temperature controls, which is perfect for smoking meat. I love how consistent the heat is, ensuring the pork or chicken cooks evenly.

Smoked Al Pastor Pellet Grill 

Pellet grills are fantastic for smoking because of two reasons: 

  • They provide a steady temperature. 
  • They use wood pellets for that authentic smoky flavor. 

Important Point: I always recommend checking reviews and seeing which features match your needs.

Smoked Al Pastor Traeger 

Traeger grills are popular for a reason. They are user-friendly and deliver excellent results. I appreciate the precise temperature control and the wide range of pellet flavors available. 

After choosing the grill, you can start cooking.

Smoked Al Pastor Chicken Tacos Recipe

Alright. To cook Smoked Al Pastor, you will first have to prepare the marinade. This is what gives al pastor its distinctive flavor and color. Then, use the smoker and let the meat absorb and get tender. Let’s start step by step.

Smoked Al Pastor Chicken Tacos Recipe

Making the Marinade

First, you need a can of chipotles in adobo sauce. These are smoked jalapeños with a ton of flavor. You also need achiote paste, which adds color.

Then, grab a small blender. Add about a quarter (one-fourth) cup of vegetable oil and a quarter cup of water. After this, add the entire package of achiote paste. This can be tricky to find, but I got mine at a local Mexican grocery store. 

Now, blend it all together until smooth.

Preparing the Chicken

Next, you need to prepare the chicken. People choose chicken breast pieces here because they are leaner, but I like chicken thighs for their fat content. 

Cut it into small pieces and then tenderize it. Tenderizing breaks down the connective tissue, making the meat super soft and juicy.

Next, place it in a Ziploc or vacuum seal bag. You can then add the marinade and coat the meat pieces well.  

If you’re using a Ziploc bag, marinate it in the fridge for about an hour. Vacuum-sealing should take around 30 minutes.

Smoking the Al Pastor

You will have to preheat the smoker to 250°F. When it is, stack the marinated chicken pieces on skewers. Here, I like to sprinkle salt on each layer. 

Now, you can place the skewers in the smoker. Keep cooking it until the meat thermometer shows the reading of “160°F.” This should take about an hour, but I suggest checking the temperature every 20-30 minutes.

Grilling the Pineapple

While the chicken is smoking, I grill some pineapple. For this, cut off the ends and remove the outer skin. 

Note: Grill the pineapple slices for a few minutes until they caramelize. This will add a sweet, tangy flavor to the tacos.

Assembling the Tacos

Once the chicken and pineapple are ready, it’s time to assemble the tacos. In this step, chop the grilled pineapple and the smoked chicken. Then:

  • Grab some tortillas
  • Add the meat and pineapple
  • Top with white onion, cilantro, and lime.

The Taste Test

Here’s the moment of truth – I’m not usually a huge fan of pineapple, but it pairs perfectly with the smoky chicken. That’s why the tacos will taste like meat church al pastor.

smoked pork shoulder last step

Smoked Al Pastor Pork Shoulder Recipe

To cook smoked Al Pastor pork shoulder, you will have to marinate the meat and cut the meat into smaller pieces carefully. Then, cook the pork until it gets tender and make tacos. It will surely burst with flavor. 

Ready for the step-by-step guide? Let’s get started!

Making the Marinade

First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need a can of chipotles in adobo sauce and achiote paste. These give the al pastor its unique flavor and color. Then, do this:

  • Grab a small blender.
  • Add one-fourth cup of vegetable oil and a quarter cup of water.
  • Put in the whole package of achiote paste.
  • Blend everything until smooth.

Preparing the Pork Shoulder

Next, prepare the pork shoulder. It’s rich in fat, which makes it super juicy and tasty. Do this in this step:

  • Cut the pork into small pieces.
  • Tenderize the pieces to break down the connective tissue.
  • Place the pork in a Ziploc or vacuum seal bag.
  • You can then add the prepared marinade to the bag and let it rest for about an hour.

Smoking the Al Pastor

Now, you will smoke the pork shoulders. First, preheat your smoker to 250°F. Then, do the following:

  • Stack the marinated pork pieces on skewers and sprinkle some salt on each layer.
  • Place the skewers in the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. 

In my experience, this usually takes about an hour.

While the pork is smoking, I suggest grilling some pineapple for a tangy taste.

Assembling the Tacos

Once the pork and pineapple are ready, it’s time to make your tacos.

  • Chop the grilled pineapple and the smoked pork.
  • Grab some tortillas.
  • Add the meat and pineapple to the tortillas.
  • Top with white onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

That’s all about the Al Pastor Roast Smoker Recipe.

6 Delicious Side Dishes to Pair with Smoked Al Pastor

The popular side dishes to pair with smoked Al Pastor are Mexican street corn, cilantro-lime rice, black beans, avocado salad, grilled pineapple, and fresh salsa. Let’s have a look:

Mexican Rice

Mexican rice is the most popular side, and it goes perfectly with smoked al pastor. It’s easy to make:

  • First, sauté some onion and garlic in a pot.
  • Add in your rice and cook it until it’s slightly golden.
  • Next, pour in some chicken broth and tomato sauce.
  • Let it simmer until the rice is tender and absorbs all the liquid.

Trust me, this rice is so good, you’ll want to eat it by itself!


Who doesn’t love guacamole? It’s creamy and fresh. Here’s what to do:

  • Start by mashing up some ripe avocados in a bowl.
  • Mix in chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are for health-conscious people. In my opinion, they add a nice crunch that pairs well with the pork.

  • Slice up your favorite veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, and onions.
  • Next, sprinkle some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Then, grill them until they’re tender and have those beautiful grill marks.

Black Beans

Black beans are another fantastic side dish.

  • Heat up some canned black beans in a pot.
  • Then, add a bit of cumin, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
  • Lastly, let them simmer until they’re nice and hot.

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is also perfect with smoked al pastor. Just do this:

  • Boil or grill the corn until it’s cooked through.
  • Brush it with a bit of butter and sprinkle it with salt.
corn on the cob al pastor

Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo can brighten up any plate.

  • Chop up some tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
  • Mix them together with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt.

Final Words

To sum up the smoked al pastor recipe:

  • Marinate the pork shoulder or chicken thighs with chipotles in adobo and achiote paste for a rich flavor.
  • Smoke the meat at 250°F until perfectly tender.
  • Grill some pineapple for a sweet, tangy addition.
  • Assemble your tacos with meat, pineapple, onions, and cilantro.
  • Enjoy a flavorful and easy meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

It’s that simple.

Smoked Al Pastor

I'm here with the delicious smoked al pastor recipe you can make at home.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Smoked Al Pastor
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 10 hours 20 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 650kcal


  • adobo sauce
  • chipotles
  • achiote paste
  • vegetable oil
  • water
  • chicken
  • Ziploc or vacuum seal bag
  • pineapple


  • Making the Marinade
  • Preparing the Chicken
  • Smoking the Al Pastor
  • Grilling the Pineapple
  • Assembling the Tacos
  • The Taste Test

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