Smoky Pork Belly Tacos with Charred Pineapple and Drunken Salsa Recipe

The rub for these tacos is based on the classic dish al pastor, which is traditionally made with pork and cooked on a kebab spit called a tromp, a cooking method that was introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. I’ve developed a version using pork belly strips, which cook very quickly and have a perfect fat to meat ratio in every bite. The key is to cook them away from the coals so that they become tender but the fat doesn’t drip, causing massive flare-ups.

A note about tortillas: homemade will be a hundred times better than shop bought, definitely in terms of flavour but mainly in terms of texture. However, not everyone wants to make tortillas at home – I get it – so if you do use the pre-made ones, just make sure to warm them until they’re soft and pliable, otherwise they will be crumbly, hard and weird.

This recipe is extracted from BBQ Days, BBQ Nights by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £22), Photography by Robert Billington

Try Helen's recipe for BBQ Banana Split with Miso-Sesame Crunch & Spring Green Soba with Asparagus and Crispy Garlic Recipe here!

Also check out Helen's BBQ Days and BBQ Nights, with Helen Graves here.

Ingredients for Smoky Pork Belly Tacos with Charred Pineapple and Drunken Salsa

For the pork

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) pork belly strips

For the Al pastor rub

Drunken salsa

For the guacamole

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1–2 limes
  • Handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • Flaky sea salt

Charred pineapple

  • 1 pineapple, trimmed, peeled, cored and cut into long wedges

To serve

  • Corn tacos (4–5 per person if small and homemade, 3–4 if using the larger shop bought ones)
  • 2 onions, very finely diced
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce

How to make Smoky Pork Belly Tacos with Charred Pineapple and Drunken Salsa

  1. Toast the chillies for both the rub and the salsa in a dry frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant and a little crisp, then split the chillies and remove the seeds and stalks. Grind the chillies for the rub to a powder and set the chillies for the salsa to one side.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the rub (including the ground chillies) and mix well. Rub this all over the belly strips and transfer to the fridge to marinate overnight, or for as long as you can. lTo make the drunken salsa, first combine the dried whole chillies with the IPA and set aside for 20 minutes. Cut a cross in the base of the tomatoes and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 5–10 minutes until the skins start to peel back. Drain and skin the tomatoes.
  3. In a pestle and mortar or small blender, crush or whizz the tomatoes, onion and garlic to a coarse mixture. Add the chillies and IPA and pulse or crush until just combined. Pour the salsa into a bowl and mix in the pineapple or orange juice and salt.
  4. Combine the ingredients for the guacamole by destoning, peeling and mashing the avocados and seasoning really well with salt and lime juice – seasoning generously is the key to a good guac. Add the coriander (cilantro) and mix to combine.
  5. Prepare a barbecue for two-zone cooking as described on page 12. When it’s ready, place the pork belly strips on the cooler side, away from the coals. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid closed and bottom and top vents three-quarters closed, turning the strips occasionally to ensure they cook evenly.
  6. Once the pork is cooked, briefly char the pineapple wedges over direct heat – a couple of minutes on each side should do it.
  7. Slice the pork belly strips really thinly width ways and pile all the meat onto a platter. Serve with the accompaniments and let everyone build their own tacos.
  8. To cook indoors: Cook the pork strips under a medium-hot grill, taking care not to burn them. It’s better to have the pork on a slightly lower shelf here than to have it spitting and burning before it’s tender. They’ll take about 30 minutes, turning them once. Cook the pineapple wedges in a hot griddle pan until charred – a few minutes on each side.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Shop the Recipe


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Latest Articles & Recipes

  • Bulgar Wheat & Vermicelli Noodles (Pourgouri) Recipes

    Bulgar Wheat & Vermicelli Noodles (Pourgouri) Recipes

  • Cypriot Lamb Shanks in Sticky Sauce (Arnisio Kotsi Me Saltsa) Recipe

    Cypriot Lamb Shanks in Sticky Sauce (Arnisio Kotsi Me Saltsa) Recipe

  • Giant Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce (Gigantes Plaki) Recipe

    Giant Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce (Gigantes Plaki) Recipe