4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Adventures in Adobada: An introduction

If you like bacon, you'll love its sophisticated, eccentric uncle, adobada.

While glistening towers of adobada are ubiquitous in the streets of Tijuana, San Diego’s bouquet of badass ‘bada is limited.

Adobada (“marinated”) is better known beyond borderland as al pastor (“shepherd style”), a nod to its roots with lamb shawarma, which was brought to Mexico City by Lebanese immigrants over 100 years ago.

Thin cuts of pork shoulder are first marinated in adobo, a descendant of Spanish and Portuguese cuisine that combines puréed red chili and cider vinegar with seasonings such as oregano, garlic, cumin, citrus juice, salt, and any number of abuelitas’ secrets.

Ground achiote (or annatto) lends vague notes of pepper and nutmeg and, moreover, works with paprika to give adobada its various shades of red.

The marinated pork is then stacked about two feet high on a trompo (“spinning top”), crowned with a pineapple and onion, and manually rotated until crisp.

The result is a true bruja’s brew.

The natural antibacterial properties of vinegar, garlic, and paprika help preserve the meatstack as it is singed and trimmed with a long blade over the next several days.

Pineapple juices ooze over the perspiring flesh-tower, tenderizing it with an enzyme called bromelain.

Paprika also enables rolling beads of lard to permeate the meat, impregnating each bite with sizzling, flavorful fat.

At its mightiest, the adobada taco finds well-crisped shavings cut directly from the pork-column onto a small, fresh-pressed corn tortilla and topped with diced onion, cilantro, and lime.

At its flimsiest, adobada is trimmed before its time, lacking in basting, and heated to order on the plancha. Adding insult to injury, the tortilla may even be premade, stale, and under-heated.

So, off we go, my fellow swinehounds, to explore everything from the 5 peso (40 cent) taco on the streets of TJ to the elusive adobada alcoves of sunny SD.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Last of the summer surfers

“Maybe if you keep your hands straight ahead and your head down, you won’t look like a sheep giving birth.”
Next Article

Dennis Martinez leads the swap of guns for skateboards

The re-hab Training Center gets shotguns, .22s, .38s, .45s, and the occasional AR

While glistening towers of adobada are ubiquitous in the streets of Tijuana, San Diego’s bouquet of badass ‘bada is limited.

Adobada (“marinated”) is better known beyond borderland as al pastor (“shepherd style”), a nod to its roots with lamb shawarma, which was brought to Mexico City by Lebanese immigrants over 100 years ago.

Thin cuts of pork shoulder are first marinated in adobo, a descendant of Spanish and Portuguese cuisine that combines puréed red chili and cider vinegar with seasonings such as oregano, garlic, cumin, citrus juice, salt, and any number of abuelitas’ secrets.

Ground achiote (or annatto) lends vague notes of pepper and nutmeg and, moreover, works with paprika to give adobada its various shades of red.

The marinated pork is then stacked about two feet high on a trompo (“spinning top”), crowned with a pineapple and onion, and manually rotated until crisp.

The result is a true bruja’s brew.

The natural antibacterial properties of vinegar, garlic, and paprika help preserve the meatstack as it is singed and trimmed with a long blade over the next several days.

Pineapple juices ooze over the perspiring flesh-tower, tenderizing it with an enzyme called bromelain.

Paprika also enables rolling beads of lard to permeate the meat, impregnating each bite with sizzling, flavorful fat.

At its mightiest, the adobada taco finds well-crisped shavings cut directly from the pork-column onto a small, fresh-pressed corn tortilla and topped with diced onion, cilantro, and lime.

At its flimsiest, adobada is trimmed before its time, lacking in basting, and heated to order on the plancha. Adding insult to injury, the tortilla may even be premade, stale, and under-heated.

So, off we go, my fellow swinehounds, to explore everything from the 5 peso (40 cent) taco on the streets of TJ to the elusive adobada alcoves of sunny SD.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

What Lefty’s Cheesesteaks gets right

It’s not local, and it’s not Lefty’s Chicago. But it is ribeye…
Next Article

Irish coffee meets mezcal at Metl Bar Creamery & Cafe

“Warning to the public — be careful when sipping!”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close