Recipe courtesy of El Machito

Cabrito El Pastor

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 10 min (includes brining time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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8 bay leaves

3 cinnamon sticks 

2 star anise 

1 tablespoon black peppercorns 

1 1/4 pounds kosher salt 

Zest and juice of 4 oranges

1 teaspoon pink curing salt  

1 whole cabrito (kid goat), cut into 8 pieces (most kid goats weigh between 9 and 10 pounds)


  1. Toast the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and black peppercorns in a large stockpot over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 4 quarts water and the kosher salt and bring to boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest and juice, 8 quarts water and the curing salt. Stir until the curing salt is dissolved. Cool.
  2. Add the cabrito to the brine and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 hours. (Brining longer than 3 hours may result in a salty cabrito.)
  3. Prepare a charcoal grill for direct grilling over high heat (about 425 degrees F.) Remove the goat pieces from the brine. Grill the goat, turning regularly to prevent charring, until a meat thermometer registers 155 degrees F, 1 1/2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the pieces. Cabrito is best served right on the bone; use a meat cleaver to chop the large pieces into smaller serving pieces. 

Cook’s Note

Ask your butcher to cut the goat into 8 pieces.