Korean al Pastor 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Smoke Signals Jul 20, 2018

The combination of tropical flavors makes these tacos with a grilled pineapple salsa especially mouthwatering. The sauce recipe included here would also be good on pork chops, baby back ribs and even a whole turkey.

We found in testing that it helps to give the meat a 15- to 30-minute rest in the freezer before slicing; this firms up the meat and makes it easier to slice thin.

To read the accompanying story, see: The cookbooks you need to raise your grilling and barbecue game.

Make Ahead: You'll have some sauce left over, which can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 2 months. It won't fully harden when frozen, so you can spoon out as much as you need whenever you want to use it. The pork needs to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • For the Ko-Rican sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 26 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the tacos
  • 1 cup Ko-Rican Sauce
  • 1/2 cup gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see headnote)
  • Flesh of 1 pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Lettuce cups, for servings
  • Sliced yellow onions, for serving


For the Ko-Rican sauce: Whisk together the paprika, oregano, chili powder, curry powder, salt, vinegar, garlic and oil in a medium bowl, until well blended. The yield is 1 1/2 cups.

For the tacos: Combine 1 cup of the sauce, the gochujang, pineapple juice, chopped yellow onion and honey in a large, shallow dish and mix well. Add the pork slices and turn to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Prepare the grill for direct heat: If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly. For a medium-hot fire (400 to 460 degrees), you should be able to hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Close the lid and open the vents about a quarter of the way. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.

Place the pineapple slices on the grill grate; cook for 2 minutes on each side, turning once, until lightly charred. Transfer the grilled fruit to a cutting board; once it is cool enough to handle, finely chop it. Toss together that pineapple and cilantro in a bowl.

While the pineapple is cooling, place the pork slices on the grill grate and season lightly with salt, discarding any sauce left in the dish. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, turning once, until lightly charred. Transfer the pork to a serving platter and let it rest for 3 minutes.

While the pork is resting, place the corn tortillas on the grill to warm them slightly on each side, and soften, before serving.

Top the pork with the pineapple-cilantro salsa and serve with the tortillas, lettuce cups and sliced yellow onions on the side.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces,” by Bill Kim with Chandra Ram (Ten Speed Press, 2018).

Tested by Andy Sikkenga.

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