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Tacos al pastor might be one of the most iconic Mexican street foods. Recreate these flavors in this chile-marinated pork burger topped with charred pineapple and a zingy roasted tomatillo salsa. Vijay, Recipe Hunter

Vijay Nathan, NoshOnIt Recipe Hunter and Chef


Al Pastor Burger with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Traditional tacos in between a bun

Al Pastor Burger with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa - all of the flavors of tacos al pastor in between a bun

There’s no question that tacos al pastor might be one of the most iconic street foods of Mexico City. Typically found sliced straight from a spit (like a gyro), slices of pork are marinated in a combination of dried chiles and pineapple, to help tenderize the meat, then layered with more pineapple and roasted until charred and juicy. Spicy, savory, and just a little bit sweet, these, in our opinion, are the best tacos around.

So naturally, we had to turn them into a burger. Instead of using beef for the patty, we used ground pork, marinated overnight in a mixture of soaked dried chiles, pineapple, onion, garlic, vinegar, and spices, then formed into patties before being griddles to crispy-edged perfection. While you could toss these on the grill like other burgers, a blazing-hot cast-iron skillet does an exceptional job getting those charred bits that make this burger taste like it came right off of the spit.

Al Pastor Burger with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa - all of the flavors of tacos al pastor in between a bun

To counteract the rich, red chile flavor of the burgers, top this with a zingy, easy-to-make roasted tomatillo salsa with cilantro and lime. And, to get the full “al pastor effect,” grill up a few of the extra pieces of pineapple as a burger topping for a little sweet taste with every bite. While traditional al pastor tacos are one-handed finger food, these monster burgers are going to require a second helper. They might be messy, but they’re absolutely delicious.

This post is part of:

#BurgerWeek 2014

Al Pastor Burger with Salsa Verde and Avocado

Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus overnight for marinating) Cook Time: 15 minutes (plus chilling & churning time) Yield: 4 half-pound burgers Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground pork

For marinade:

  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 1 dried guajillo chile
  • 2 dried chile de arbol
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1 chipotle pepper (from a can with adobo sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexicann
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water

For serving:

  • Fresh pineapple slices
  • Buns
  • Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (we like this one from No Recipes, or use your favorite salsa verde)
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Cotija cheese or queso fresco
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional)


  1. First, make the marinade. Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the dried chiles for 2-3 minutes per side until darkened and fragrant. Remove and allow to cool. In the same pan, add the yellow onion (with no oil) and toast until lightly charred on all sides. Remove and let cool.
  2. Tear open the dried chiles and discard the seeds and stems. Cover with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  3. In a blender, combine the onion, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, paprika, salt, pineapple, and water. Add the chiles, remembering to save the soaking liquid. Blend until a thick paste forms, adding the reserved chile soaking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen as needed.
  4. Mix approximately 2/3 cup of the marinade with the ground pork and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight (it’s better overnight).
  5. Form the pork into 4 to 6 patties. Cook on either side for 4-6 minutes on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet until cooked through. The patties are quite delicate so be careful. Grill or sear pineapple until lightly charred, then chop into small pieces.
  6. To serve, top each burger with charred pineapple, salsa verde, avocado, cotija cheese, and a drizzle of sour cream or greek yogurt if desired.


How to Rehydrate Dried Chiles

Dried chiles are a staple ingredient in many international cuisines and come in many shapes, sizes, colors and heat levels. Here’s how to work with them.

Read the full tip >