Chicken al Pastor Tacos Recipe: Easy Blackstone Poultry Creation

Chicken al Pastor Tacos: A Flavorful Twist on a Classic

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Looking for something a little different for next Taco Tuesday?

Why not bring a burst of vibrant Mexican flavors to your table with these Chicken al Pastor Tacos? Infused with the rich, smoky taste of guajillo chiles and the sweetness of pineapple, this recipe promises a tantalizing twist on the traditional taco. It’s the perfect way to spice up your week with a meal that’s both delicious and delightfully unexpected. Gather your ingredients and let’s get cooking!

TL;DR Version for Chicken al Pastor Tacos

Quick details for Chicken al Pastor Tacos
Quick details for Chicken al Pastor Tacos


  • Dried guajillo chiles, seeds removed
  • Garlic cloves
  • Black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 pineapple, halved
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Chicken, for marinating
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Corn or flour tortillas

Marinade Preparation:

  1. Combine guajillo chiles, garlic cloves, black peppercorns, half an onion, and half a pineapple in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and let steep for about 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender, add vinegar and salt to taste, and blend until smooth.
Cooking up the chicken on the Blackstone Griddle
Cooking up the chicken on the Blackstone Griddle

Chicken Preparation:

  1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a ziploc bag.
  2. Pour 1/4 of the marinade over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.


  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  2. Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  3. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes after cooking.

Salsa Preparation:

  1. Chop the remaining half of the pineapple and onion into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix with chopped cilantro.


  1. Warm the tortillas on a griddle.
  2. Assemble the tacos with chicken, salsa, and a drizzle of the reserved marinade.

Chicken Al Pastor Tacos: A Flavorful Twist on a Classic

To effectively prepare chicken al pastor tacos, certain specialized equipment is required to achieve the authentic flavor and texture.

List of Additional Tools Needed

In addition to the griddle, a selection of tools will enhance your cooking experience:

  • Meat Thermometer: To ensure your chicken is safely cooked to the appropriate temperature of 165°F.
  • Tongs: For flipping and handling the chicken without piercing it, which can help retain its juices.
  • Knife: A sharp knife is necessary to achieve thin slices of chicken after it is grilled.
  • Cutting Board: Use to slice chicken and to chop additional toppings like pineapples or onions.
  • Marinade Brush: Apply additional marinade to the chicken as it cooks for extra flavor.
  • Spatula: Use this to turn other taco components like diced onions or peppers on the griddle.

Suggestions for Ingredient Quantities Based on Larger Gatherings

Preparing chicken al pastor for a large group requires careful planning to ensure there is enough for everyone without excessive leftovers. Here’s how to adjust your ingredient quantities:

  • Cilantro and onion: For every 10 guests, plan for 1 bunch of cilantro and 2 large onions.
  • Spices: Increase ground cumin, dried oregano, and kosher salt by 1.5 times the recipe for every 10 servings to maintain robust flavors.
  • Protein and tortillas: Allocate at least two corn tortillas per person and estimate 4 ounces of chicken per taco.

For sauces and toppings like pico de gallo and sour cream, prepare 1 cup for every 5 guests to ensure ample supply.

It’s better to have a little extra than to run short. Use orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, or a combination thereof to marinate, keeping the acid levels consistent for larger batches to preserve the taste profile and nutrition quality.

Getting all the ingredients ready for the salsa
Getting all the ingredients ready for the salsa

Preparing the Marinade

Creating the perfect marinade is crucial for authentic chicken al pastor flavors, combining spicy, sweet, and smoky elements.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Preparing the Al Pastor Marinade

  1. Gather your ingredients: You will need achiote paste (2 tablespoons), chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (3 peppers), cumin (1 teaspoon), garlic (4 cloves), vinegar (1/4 cup), clove (1/4 teaspoon), orange juice (1/2 cup), and lime juice (3 tablespoons).
  2. Blend the ingredients: Place the achiote paste, chipotle peppers, cumin, garlic, vinegar, clove, orange juice, and lime juice into a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Marinate the chicken: Take your boneless skinless chicken thighs and place them in a large bowl or a sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken to ensure it is well-coated.
  4. Refrigerate the chicken: For the flavors to fully infuse, let the marinated chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or ideally overnight.

Tips for Marinating Effectively Using Outdoor Kitchen Facilities

  • Prep ahead: Marinate your chicken al pastor in advance. Before you begin outdoor cooking, ensure you’ve allowed enough time for the chicken to marinate properly in the refrigerator.
  • Keep it cold: If your outdoor kitchen lacks a refrigerator, use a cooler with ice to keep the marinated chicken chilled until it’s time to cook. This prevents bacterial growth and maintains food safety.

Setting Up the Blackstone Griddle

Properly setting up your Blackstone Griddle ensures excellent performance for cooking chicken al pastor tacos. It’s essential to focus on safety when assembling and preheating the griddle for use with meat, tortillas, and vegetables.

Guidelines on How to Safely Set Up the Blackstone Griddle

First, ensure you assemble the Blackstone Griddle on a stable, level surface away from any flammable items.

Confirm that all gas connections are secure and there are no leaks by applying a soapy water solution to the connections; bubbles will form if there’s a gas leak.

  1. Position the griddle in a well-ventilated outdoor area to prevent smoke accumulation.
  2. Check for any obstructions in the griddle’s burner ports.
  3. Connect your propane tank securely, ensuring the valve is fully closed before attaching.
  4. Test gas connections for leaks using the soapy water method mentioned.
  5. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific safety recommendations specific to your model.

Instructions on Heating and Oiling the Griddle Surface

Before cooking, you need to heat the Blackstone Griddle to the correct temperature and oil the surface. A properly heated and oiled griddle results in well-cooked meat and crispy tortillas.

  1. Turn on the griddle to medium-high heat and allow it to heat for 10-15 minutes, achieving an even surface temperature.
  2. Use a meat thermometer to check that the surface temperature is between 350°F and 400°F – the ideal range for cooking chicken al pastor.
  3. Apply a thin layer of high smoke-point oil like vegetable oil or canola oil, using a heat-resistant brush or cloth to coat the surface evenly.
  4. Wait for the oil to begin smoking slightly before placing any food items on the griddle to cook.

Cooking Process

Cooking chicken al pastor on a griddle involves a series of steps that ensure the meat is flavorful, juicy, and has the perfect caramelized edges. Your aim is to achieve a balance between browning the surface and cooking the chicken thoroughly.

Detailed Steps to Cook the Marinated Chicken on the Griddle

Start by placing your marinated chicken evenly on the preheated griddle.

Use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts that you have previously marinated with a mixture of achiote paste, ancho chili powder, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and black pepper.

Ensure that each piece is spread out and not overlapping to allow for even cooking.

Preheat the Griddle to a Specific Temperature

Preheat your griddle to a medium-high heat, around 375-400°F (190-205°C).

This temperature range is ideal for grilling chicken, as it promotes a good sear while allowing the inside to get cooked through without burning.

Layout of Chicken Pieces for Even Cooking

Arrange the chicken pieces on the griddle with adequate space between them.

The aim here is to promote even grilling of the chicken, avoiding hot spots and ensuring that each piece cooks uniformly.

Cooking chicken on the blackstone
Cooking chicken on the blackstone

Techniques to Achieve Caramelization and Crispy Edges

Employ a combination of movement and heat control to achieve caramelization and crispy edges.

Let the chicken cook undisturbed for a few minutes, then flip and repeat.

The sugars and proteins in the marinade will react with the heat, creating a desirable crisp, well-browned exterior.

Monitoring and Achieving the Correct Internal Temperature

Use a meat thermometer to regularly check the internal temperature of the chicken.

You’re aiming for a safe and juicy 165°F (75°C).

If the surface browns too quickly, lower the griddle temperature or temporarily move the chicken to a cooler part of the grill to prevent burning while the inside finishes cooking.

Serving Suggestions

When serving chicken al pastor tacos, it’s essential to present them with the right sides and accompaniments and in an apt setting to make the most of the whole dining experience.

Ideas for Using the Griddle to Warm Tortillas Alongside Cooking Chicken

Warm your corn tortillas on the griddle to encapsulate the tacos al pastor’s rich flavors.

First, set the griddle to medium heat. Place the tortillas on the outer edges while cooking the chicken in the center.

This technique allows the tortillas to absorb some of the smoke and adobo aromatics, giving them a distinctive taste that complements the chicken.

Rotate the tortillas after 30 seconds to ensure even warming without charring.

Recommendations for Outdoor-Friendly Serving Options

Choose outdoor-friendly serving options to maintain the tacos’ integrity at picnics or outdoor events.

Utilize durable paper plates or metal trays to hold the tacos.

Serve lime wedges, radishes, and small bowls of salsa on the side.

This allows guests to customize the flavor profile with tangy or sweet hints.

Offer fresh cilantro and cotija cheese as toppings to sprinkle over the tacos for an authentic finish.

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Rob Orr

Robert David Orr is the pitmaster behind Rob's culinary experience and knowledge is built on a rock-solid foundation of years spent perfecting the craft of grilling, starting with his vast hospitality experience at 15 and continues today. His passion for the craft of open-fire cooking is matched only by his fervor for sharing his experience and knowledge with other foodies. Rob has an infectious enthusiasm for all things culinary that truly defines the heart of this site. Whether you're seeking the secrets to the perfect brisket or the nuances of wood chip selection, Rob is an outstanding resource for those who take outdoor cooking seriously. Rob's philosophy is simple: Many of life's best experiences revolve around food and the most memorable are about simplicity and authenticity: great food, great company, and enjoying it all in the great outdoors.

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