Al pastor is the iconic Mexico City taco, showcasing a stack of pork that has been marinated for days, cooked on a rotating spit and then sliced and crisped to order. When you’re stuck state-side however, and you want that robust flavor but are lacking in specialized equipment and time, herald in the instapot! Instapot Tacos al Pastor are a snap to make and, if flavored with fresh Mexican spices, they can certainly become a credible stand-in for the authentic Mexican al pastor.Jump to Recipe
What makes Instapot Tacos al Pastor Low Carb?
The pork shoulder is the star of any al pastor recipe and it needs to be cooked to the tender stage, regardless of the cooking method. The instapot can do that with bells on and then it is a matter of whether you want to crisp it to finish or just stir into the sauce. Because I am striving to make everything as easy as possible these days, I simply added it to the Mexican-spiced sauce to finish.
The pineapple is a problem for low carb or keto people. There is just no getting around how much sugar is in pineapple. In one cup of pineapple there are 22 grams of carbs and 16 grams of sugar. I tried to come up with a low carb alternative to the pineapple but really it is such a classic addition to al pastor that it’s probably better to go ahead and use pineapple, but sparingly.
Because I was making this for family and I had no pineapple available, I used a bit of quince paste to give it a touch of fruity sweetness. I needed to figure out how to use quince paste and I think it really elevated this dish.
The other carby ingredient of course is the tortillas. I have a couple of recipes and suggestions for low carb tortillas here. The following recipe used store-bought low carb tortillas.
So, to keep the integrity of al pastor but still get the delicious taste, focus on using really fresh spices, and great pork and then just go easy on the pineapple. We used pickled red onions to up the flavor even more. Click here for an easy, quick pickled onion recipe.
Instapot Tacos al Pastor – Low(ish) Carb
- 2-3 lbs pork shoulder cut into bite-size cubes
- 1 tsp mineral salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 med onion chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic smashed with knife and then minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp anchiote paste
- 1/8 cup smoked pepper blend
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/3 cup vinegar white distilled or sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup quince paste alternative of pineapple
- 1 1/2 cup liquid left in instapot from pork
- 1 cup pickled red onions and cilantro optional additions/garnishes
Add the cubed pork to the instapot, sprinkle with salt and add 3/4 cup water. Close lid and turn instapot setting to meat for 30 minutes
About 10-15 minutes before instapot pork is done, start the onion-spice mixture. Add oil to a large skillet and turn to med-high heat. Add chopped onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until caramelized. Add mashed garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add all spices (through pepper) and stir into onion mixture for 30 seconds to toast and blend.
Add vinegar to hot skillet mixture. Add quince paste and melt into the onion mixture, stirring in thoroughly.
When instapot pork is done, open and remove liquid (pork juices and water) from bottom of instapot and add to onion mixture in skillet over med-high heat. Add pork chunks and stir thoroughly, coating pork cubes with onion-spice mixture.
Serve in low carb tortillas with pickled onions and cilantro garnish.
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