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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Reducing Risk Factors in Retail and Food Service: Maricopa County, Arizona Environmental Health Division - Tacos Al Pastor

FDA/CFSAN is posting this document as a service to viewers of the November 30, 2006 satellite broadcast:
"Reducing Risk Factors in Retail and Food Service".

Maricopa County, Arizona Environmental Health Division

Tacos Al Pastor

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Tacos Al Pastor or otherwise known as "Shepherd Style Tacos" are a unique delicacy consumed through out Central and Southern Mexico.

There are many versions as to the origins of tacos al Pastor. It is possible that this food product may have been brought to Mexico in the early 1900's by Lebanese immigrants. However, others are of the belief that it is a remnant of the Pacific Isles because of the of pork and pineapple ingredients.

Al Pastor is compiled of one to two thinly sliced pork butt roasts that can weigh anywhere from twenty to forty pounds after being formulated on the spit.

After the pork meat has been sliced, a specialty chili sauce is applied to each piece of meat and layered into a container.

The meat product is then stored in the walk-in cooler until it is ready to be assembled.

The spit is readied.

Product is taken from the walk-in cooler.

The layering process of Al Pastor meat begins.

This process may take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.

As the Al Pastor meat is assembled on the spit onions or bell peppers may also be included as an ingredient.

Once assembled, it is crowned with its distinctive pineapple top.

The product is covered and moved into the walk-in cooler until it is ready to use.

Due the nature of this product, it is important to remember that Al Pastor should be continuously cooked in its entirety to 155F for 15 seconds within a total of four hours.

Any remaining product at the end of four hours must be discarded.

Please consult with your local regulatory authority regarding proper documentation of the cooking process.

Once the product has rotated 1-3 times, the meat is sliced and placed on the grill for further cooking.

Please remember that the final cooking temperature for this product should be 155°F for 15 seconds.

The Al Pastor meat is collected off the grill and moved to the hot holding unit where it should be maintained at a minimum of 130° F.

  Download video stream for use offline: English (53 Mb)  |  Spanish (53 Mb)

Note: Although the files linked here are compressed to the maximum capability of standard compression software, it is to be understood that video is inherently a very data-intensive medium. Therefore, the files are large (53 Megabytes) and will take a long time to download over a dial-up connection.