Gringo Pete. I first became a gringo in Cuba, on my ’round-the-world adventure on Semester at Sea. Since then, I’ve enjoyed bastardizing South American and Mexican foods, often referring to myself, (and only to myself these days), as Gringo Pete. And that brings us to my Tacos al Gringo.
I love tacos. I really love tacos al pastor – and who wouldn’t. Mr Raichlen is an absolute genius – and I am sure his tacos are to die for. Unfortunately for the tacos, I also love to take shortcuts, especially when my grill is buried in snow. And that is what ruins the “pastor” and makes these things full-on-gringo.. so here goes.
Tacos al Gringo (Pete)
- 1 (about 1lb) pork tenderloin – I used garlic/pepper marinated from Tjoes
- 1 can of Goya Chipotles in Adobo Sauce (always keep these things around!)
- Dark beer – a porter or stout ideally
- Enchilada sauce (another Tjoes item, but any “mexican sauce” will do)
- Tortillas (I prefer taco sized flour – but its really up to you)
- a slow cooker, or saute pan to hold the above
The Stuff on Top of your Tacos
- Cheese – jack, muenster, whatever you want really
- Lime slices
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Guac, Sour Cream
- Other toppings – beans, onions, peppers, whatever
- Some form of hot sauce
If your pork is not pre-marinated, give it a rub with some chili seasonings and some of the adobo sauce from your can of chipotles (maybe crack a second can), let that sit for an hour.
Preheat broiler for 10min.. and throw your pork on a baking sheet. Broil it on all sides – about 2min per – until it looks mostly cooked. This could be done in a hot cast iron pan as well, I suspect. Take the pork out, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for a while – go do something else, like shred cheese and stuff. Also open your chipotles, and chop the living H out of them (you could blend them, but thats messy).
Turn your slow cooker on, and set to HIGH (or get your saute pan ready). After the meat has rested for 10-15min, cut it into tiny bits – its fine (and better) if its still pink.
Throw all those bits into the cooker/pan, as well as the obliterated chipotles and the sauce that they came in. This.. will.. pack.. a .. punch. I realized that with one strong whiff – so I poured half a Mayflower Porter into the pot. This is a (delicious) deep, somewhat complex brew – so it complimented the depth of the nuclear adobo sauce nicely, while adding a touch of sweetness.
To stretch things out further, I added a good long splash of the Tjoes Enchilada Sauce. That can really be anything you want – this was more of a “wow that Goya adobo sauce is friggin hot” move, so think mellow. Its really up to you how hot you want this.
Let this slop cook for.. an hour at least – 2-3 even better. The pork is going to tenderize and absorb the adobo concoction, so the more time, the better your pork.
Once you decide the meat is about ready, you need to warm your tortillas. Now – nothing.. NOTHING.. is better than grilling your tortilla over charcoal to warm it – but like I mentioned, the grill is in the middle of a new glacier here. You can throw your tortillas right on the oven rack (on warm), or, if you want “taco” shaped ones.. flip a muffin pan over and prop them up (you know, folded, like a taco) in the now upward facing muffin bottoms. Whatever you want to do – just get the tortillas warm.
Uh, then make tacos. Meat, cheese, some kind of veggie – slap some guac and sour cream on there and “bam”. Gringo.