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Carne Asada, Pollo, or Al Pastor: Which One Should You Choose?

Mexican cuisine is known for dishes with flavorful traditional meats. You can find tacos with pork (al pastor), beef (carne asada), chicken (pollo), or a combination of the three. Mexican food truck catering features an array of foods and often offers one or more of these three options.

Locals and travelers alike are always eager to try out carne asada, pollo, and al pastor. These meats are full of bold and unique flavor, thanks to the traditional spices and ingredients.

Do you want to sample Mexican cuisine? Here’s a complete guide to help you distinguish carne asada, pollo, and al pastor.

Mexican Food Truck Catering: Different Meats to Consider

Carne Asada

Carne asada is a marinated and grilled steak. The beef comes in strips, seasoned with spices, such as thyme, cider vinegar, and garlic. Salt and lime juice brings out the tanginess in this meat that truly marks it as a Mexican original. The steak used for carne asada is usually cut from the rib or sirloin for tenderness.

You can eat carne asada as the main dish, but it is most popularly served inside tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. If you enjoy a more hot or peppery beef, carne asada is an excellent choice. This meat has a deep and smoky flavor due to charcoal grilling—the meat pairs well with rice and black beans.


Pollo is grilled and marinated chicken. The meat is cut into small pieces for easy cooking. If you prefer more mild flavors, many traditional pollo recipes use less spice than carne asada. Ground cumin, orange juice, smoked paprika, and lime juice are some flavorings you can expect in your meat.

Achiote powder gives your chicken a red-orange color, making it an authentic signature dish. The chicken strips go into tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and tortillas. Every bite of pollo is succulent and tasty. You can also eat shredded chicken with rice and beans.

Al Pastor

Al pastor has its roots in Lebanese immigrants who introduced the dish to Mexico in the 1940s. The meat is roasted pork, marinated overnight to infuse flavors. Some of the spices used include chillis, cinnamon, achiote paste, garlic, cloves, and charred onions. Al pastor cooks perfectly under a low gas flame or charcoal.

Pineapple can be used as a topping to highlight the sweetness in pork. Caramelization brings out a brown color and rich flavor in al pastor. The meat makes a great base for tacos and burritos. Refried beans can pair with pork for a hearty meal.

Which One Suits You?

Carne asada, pollo, and al pastor all have tasty and memorable flavors. Carne Asada may be favored by those who like a more pronounced spice, al pastor is a favorite for those who enjoy a little sweetness, and pollo is great for those who prefer a more subtle flavor. You can even combine all three types of meat to enjoy a truly unique flavor creation.

Mexican Food Truck Catering Services

Mexican food truck catering offers you many different choices to enjoy at your next big event. At Los Chilangos, we have carne asada, pollo, and al pastor and more on our menu. We can customize your plate with authentic dishes to meet your expectations. Visit us to explore our catering services for parties and events today.

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