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Pibil-Style Pork Recipe

Pibil-Style Pork Recipe

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  • 1 medium onion, quartered through core
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 4 1/2-to-5-pound bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt)
  • 1 13x9x2-inch disposable aluminum pan
  • Yucantecan Pickled Onions (click for recipe)
  • Habanero-Tomato Salsa (click for recipe)

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to dry skillet and cook until browned in spots on all sides, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes for onion and 4 minutes for garlic. Core and coarsely chop onion. Transfer onion and garlic to blender. Add orange juice and next 7 ingredients to blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to large resealable plastic bag; add pork. Seal bag, releasing excess air; turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day, turning occasionally.

  • For charcoal grill, light 30 briquettes in chimney starter; heat until ash-gray. Remove top rack from grill and place 1 disposable aluminum pan on 1 side of grill. Pour briquettes onto opposite side of grill. Return rack to grill.

  • For 2-burner gas grill, remove rack and place 1 disposable aluminum pan on 1 side of grill. Return rack; light grill (medium heat) on side opposite pan.

  • For 3-burner gas grill, remove rack and place 1 disposable aluminum pan in center of barbecue. Return rack and light grill on both sides of pan (not under pan).

  • For all grills, brush rack with oil. Place pork with some marinade still clinging on rack above pan. Close lid; insert thermometer into hole in lid. Cook pork until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 195°F, about 3 1/2 hours, maintaining grills internal temperature at around 350°F by opening and closing vents, adjusting gas grill's burners, or adding more hot briquettes from chimney starter to charcoal grill.

  • Transfer pork to cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Pull out and discard bone and any large lumps of fat. Using 2 forks or large knife, shred the pork; transfer to platter. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of drippings from aluminum pan in barbecue, if desired.

  • Grill tortillas until slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side. Serve pork with tortillas, Yucatecan Pickled Onions, and Habanero-Tomato Salsa.

Recipe by Steven Raichlen,Reviews Section

For the ultimate Wahaca feast, you can now recreate our famous pork pibil tacos at home. This iconic dish has been on our menu since day one and is one of Thomasina Miers favourite Mexican street food recipes. It takes a little time, so a perfect recipe for a slow day at home (as if you were doing anything else right now?) and needs a few ingredients that may need some searching at the back of your spice rack. Or check out for online deliveries.

Time: 3 ½ – 4 hours + overnight marinating
Serves 5 (and great for freezing)

For the marinade:
1tsp allspice berries
2tsp ground cumin seeds
½tsp cloves
1tsp peppercorns
100g achiote paste
3tbsp cider vinegar
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
large bunch of fresh oregano or 1tsp dried oregano
3 fresh bay leaves
2tbsp sea salt
3tbsp olive oil
juice of 6 oranges (about 450ml)

For the pork:
1.5kg neck of pork, cut into a few large pieces
1 habañero or Scotch bonnet pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
25g butter

To make the marinade, warm the spices in a dry frying pan for a few minutes then grind to a fine powder. Place in a blender with the achiote paste, vinegar, onion, garlic, herbs, salt and olive oil and pulse to start breaking up the achiote. Slowly pour in the orange juice with the motor running to get a smooth paste. Pour about a third of the marinade over the pork, ensuring it is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate overnight. Freeze the remaining marinade or keep it fresh for a week in the fridge (and try it with something else, like barbecued chicken).
When you’re ready to cook., preheat oven to 130C/266F/gas 1. Transfer the pork and its marinade to a large casserole dish and add chopped chilli and butter. Bring to a simmer, cover with foil and a tight-fitting lid and cook slowly for 3-4 hours until the pork is soft and falling apart. Serve chunks of pork in deep bowls with rice or steamed potatoes, lots of sauce and piles of pink pickled onions on top.

What is Cochinita Pibil?

Cochinita means little pig. Pibil is a method of cooking in a large pit underground. Oftentimes, large banana or palm tree leaves are used to cover these pits and hold in the moisture. It is commonly used in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and in other countries like Belize and Guatemala.

Though, you can cook almost any meat &ldquopibil style&rdquo, pork really shines with this method because it holds in the moisture so well. Some people cook the pig whole on a spit, while others butcher the pig and cook it in chunks. In Mexico, they will often use the banana leaves as a natural packet and make items like tamales or a meat pocket (similar to pot pie).

Pollo Pibil

Last December, Daniel and I went to Yucatán. I was swept off my feet by the grandiose nature and history of the old Haciendas, but mostly by the uniqueness of the cuisine. It stands out from the rest of the country with its aromatic, pungent, citrus flavors, charred and toasted ingredients and elements not found anywhere else.

Since at the Institute we established topics for the 2009 program in January and I left Yucatán as a December closing session, by the time class came around I was desperate to share these flavors. What a tortuous self imposed wait!

Of course Pollo Pibil had to be included, as it is one of the most loved dishes of the area. The rest of the menu was built around: Dzotobi-chay tamales, Mexican avocado soup, strained beans, a yellow rice, and old fashioned flan for dessert.

(One of the views inside of Hacienda San José)

Pollo Pibil is made with one of the pillars of Yucatecan cuisine, recado rojo or achiote paste, which can now be found in many stores or online. If you walk into any market in Yucatán, you will see countless stands boasting colorful mountains of the main recados or pastes: black or chilmole, brown or de bistek, green or pepita and red or achiote.

The word Recado translates to message. In a way, each of the recados has a unique combination of ingredients, which makes a distinct bouillon of sorts, that translates a particular message of flavors into the dishes it is being used in.

They will sell you as much as you want...

Or have it ready in previously measured bags…

A couple of things distinguish anything cooked Pibil style…

First is the marinade. With achiote paste as a base, it has a rusty brick-like color and a pungent and sort of permanent flavor. That’s because of the achiote seeds it is made with. Then the paste is mixed with oregano, cumin, allspice, black pepper, salt and charred garlic and diluted with bitter orange, which has a peculiar a flavor, quite different from regular oranges.

Since bitter orange can be hard to come by, many cooks have found substitutes such as a mix of orange juice and vinegar or a mix of different citrus juices. After testing for a while in my kitchen, I found the substitute I like the most to be equal parts of grapefruit, orange and lime juices and white distilled vinegar. The marinade is flavorful and aromatic and, as it has a high acidic content, it tenderizes the meat beautifully.

(A freshly opened bar of achiote paste, posing for my camera so you can take a look)

The second thing that distinguishes a Pibil is the cooking technique, which is what gave it its name. Traditionally, Pibil meats were marinated, wrapped in banana leaves and placed in “Pibs”: roasting pits buried underground layered with stones and pieces of wood. The “Pib” gave the dish a rustic, earthy and ashy feel while the banana leaves infused the meats with a grassy fragrant flavor and kept them moist.

Since it’s not likely that we are going to dig roasting pits on any given workday in our backyards anytime soon, many cooks have tried to find a method that can accomplish similar results. Some wrap the chicken or meat in leaves and cook it in a steam bath in a large covered pot, while others do the same in the oven. However, the dish becomes way too juicy and you are missing that earthy, roasted, ashy flavor. When you cook in an earthen pit, although the chicken is wrapped, the excess moisture escapes through the pit, so the final dish is not that wet.

Here again, restless me, kept testing in the kitchen. And later then, very happy me, found a great and quick method to obtain similar results. First roast the chicken in the oven (detailed recipe below) for that charred earthen flavor with the plus of nice browned skin and a thickening and seasoning of the marinade. Then bundle with banana leaves (if you have them) and/or aluminum foil to give it that final cooking that will make the meat come off the bones.

Chicken Pibil is an absolute hit paired with pickled red onions and a fiery and feisty habanero chile sauce. Yes, its spicy, but it is a welcome shock.

The best places to get Cochinita Pibil are where people with roots in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are the cooks.

And, like in Mexico, you may find some of the best versions of this dish at street markets or small Mexican restaurants. In Los Angeles, they are raving about the Cochinita Pibil in Gilberto Cetina's Chichen Itza in the open market space of Mercado La Paloma at 3655 S. Grand Ave #C-6 (Historic South Central District). The slow roasted pork served at this little restaurant is prepared with achiote and Seville orange, garlic and allspice and clove.

Barrio Queen, with several restaurants in the Phoenix area of Arizona, has also been critically-acclaimed for their Cochinita Pibil recipe. In addition to that signature dish, they have over 20 types of tacos and over 500 tequilas.

In Austin, Texas, Fonda San Miguel has a loyal following of customers who love their Cochinita Pibil. Fonda San Miguel provides a beautifully-decorated backdrop for their upscale version of Cochinita Pibil at an upscale price of $23.50 for the entree.

Cochinita Pibil


  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
  • 1/2 cup lime juice, juice of 4-5 limes
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 3 ounces of red (rojo) achiote paste, available in Latin markets
  • Pickled red onions (optional), for garnish
  • Dry Mexican cheese (queso seco), for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish


The night before or the morning of that you plan to serve this, mix the orange and lime juice with the achiote paste and salt in a blender until combined. Be sure to rinse the blender soon afterwards, as the achiote stains.

Cut the pork into chunks of about 2 inches square. Don’t trim the fat, as you will need it in the braising to come. You can always pick it out later. Put the pork in a non-reactive (glass, stainless steel or plastic) container, then pour over the marinade mixture.

Mix well, cover and keep in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

Cooking this takes 3-4 hours, so plan ahead. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Line a large casserole with a double layer of heavy-duty foil, or a triple layer of regular foil – you want a good seal. (Traditionally, cochinita pibil is wrapped in banana leaves, which add a wonderful flavor to the pibil. So, if banana leaves are available—you may be able to get them at the same store as the achiote paste, or at an Asian market—consider using them. Just heat the leaves first to make them more pliable.)

Pour in the pork and the marinade and close the foil tightly. Put the casserole in the oven and bake at 325°F for at least 3 hours.

You want it pretty much falling apart, so start checking at the three-hour mark.

When the pork is tender, take it out of the oven and open the foil. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl, then shred it with two forks. You don’t have to shred the pork, but I like it this way. Pour enough sauce over the meat to make it wet.

To serve, either use this as taco meat or eat it the way we do: Over rice, garnished with cilantro, lime wedges and queso seco, a Mexican dry cheese a little like Greek feta. Pickled red onions are a traditional garnish, and if you like them, they’re good, too.

Banana leaves are optional, because I haven't found any locally yet. Take it easy on Habanero peppers. HOT!HOT!!HOT. Preground spices can be used in place of the whole spices, but the brilliant flavor of freshly ground spices really makes this dish what it is! (Editor's note: It may be helpful to read the hints left in the reviews of this recipe. Another suggestion, given to us by Dennis from Rawlins, Wyoming, is to add brown sugar to the marinating mix, use limes instead of lemons, and only cook 3 to 3 1/2 hours in aluminum foil.)

I use this to make shredded pork tacos and as the base for pulled pork. The only difference is for pulled pork I do 2 hrs in the oven at 275 and finish it on the pellet smoker for 2 hrs at 225, then mix it with bbq sauce works well with all types, Carolina, Alabama white, or sweet and dpicy!

Great recipe. A few things I’ve learned making it multiple times.
1) Amount of lemons is dependent on how juicy your lemons are and the type. Keep it to less than 3/4 cup. And, sure if you have seville oranges use them instead of lemons and orange juice because that is what you are trying to mimic from the original Mexican.
2) You can buy annatto seeds on Amazon – just do it!
3) I put a banana or two in the blender instead of using banana leaves. Good taste and thickens the sauce.
4) I cut salt back to 2 teaspoons. You can add more later, but, you cannot take it out.
5) To really put it over the top, use Umeboshi vinegar (also known as plum vinegar) for half the vinegar.

I’ve made this several times and really enjoy the process and results. The only adjustment I’ve made it cutting the lemon juice in half the first time I followed the recipe to the letter and felt the meat came out noticeably sour. I most recently made it for a friends-and-family potluck with this is mind and it went over extremely well.

I made this recipe for my vegetarian wife using Tofu. The amount of sauce in the recipe is enough for 2 to 3 10-oz bricks of tofu (get the extra firm type). Slice the tofu into cubes (1/2 inch for small bites is good), then marinate for 3 hours in a ziplock. Line a deep dish glass baking pan (for example, a bread pan) with banana leaf. One big banana leaf cross section will line the bottom of the pan, and also wrap around the top. Pour in the tofu and the marinade, wrap and cover with banana leaf, then cover with a lid or foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350F. Serve from the hot baking dish with a large spoon – the banana adds a nice presentation.

I modified the marinade recipe slightly:
Substitute 1 Red Fresno, 1 Jalepeno, 1 Serrano for 2 Habanero peppers (deseed and remove ribs)
Instead of 5 lemons, use 2 lemons and 3 limes
Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar

For crispy tofu: after baking, remove the tofu cubes to a preheated frying pan with just a bit of the marinade, and fry at high heat for 30 seconds, flip over, and fry for another 30 seconds. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinade in a saucepan, and add a small amount of corn starch to slightly thicken. Serve the tofu with the sauce drizzled over the top.

Serve with barely steamed (just until a slight color change) broccoli florets – the broccoli goes nicely with the pibil spices.

The proper Mayan recipe is known as Cochinta pibil because it uses a whole suckling pig. The version above is based around the recipe given in the film ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico’ where if Johnny Depp liked what he was served he would shoot the chef! I too got the recipe from the film but instantly saw errors why use orange juice and vinegar? Use bitter Seville oranges or mix up fresh oranges with lime juice. I would not add the hot chili –but the annatto (look for achiote) and banana leaves are essential. Annatto is not just a color, as said earlier, and the taste of it and the musty banana leaves adds a unique flavor that is all but destroyed by the hot chili. If you want hot cook another recipe, this one is too good to wreck! The shot of tequila can also be left out.

Long marinating helps, 24 hours is good but here is an idea to get that long cooking time in and save money – a hay box. Cover your pibil in banana leaves then foil, bring it to a boil on the oven, then quickly place it in a box filled with crumpled newspaper (small air pockets are essential) so it is surrounded. Add other insulation around that and leave it for five hours or more. It will slowly cook, no fear of burning and will still be very hot. This also sort of mimics the original idea where the dish was cooked in a pit, hence the name.

This is now my new favorite recipe. Its easy, its fun and it wow’s your friends.

1. Use Rubber Gloves when cutting the peppers. (it makes your hands feel much better

2. Cook some rice to serve it over (probably been said)

3. Saute some green peppers and onions

4. Throw in some pine apple (it is a good contrast to the spicy)

5. I used the extra bannana leaves as a garnish. I put a small section of leaf on each plate and served the dish on that. It made it look very cool.

6. This goes great with a nice Mexican Cerveza.

7. Save the marinade and freeze it, you can make a really good black bean soup with it.

And that’s about it, its a really easy recipe, you can make it in advance and freeze it if you’d like. I’d suggest going all out with bannana leaves, I decorated the entire dining room with the leaves. It looked awesome.

This not the original recipe. I have been making this since the Movie came out. I can’t get Banana leaves. (Only once) So I get Heavy duty Foil and the Tequila is not only for flavor but is also a tenderizer please use it. You don’t need to let it set before you bake. Do let it set for 10 minutes after. My Whole neighborhood knows when I make it. It Smells Fantastico!

The Robert Rodriguez recipe makes an excellent Pureco Cochinita Pibil, and it has been made several times in our home with slight variations with the number of habaneros. The first few times it was prepared in the oven with excellent results. Then it has been prepared using a crock pot, cooking for 8 hours, also just as good. For the latest atttempt, I used a pressure cooker at 15psi for 40 minutes. It came out wonderful, and FAST!! It’s a great and very versatile recipe!

Banana leaves can most commonly be found in the freezer section of asian markets, I’ve found annatto most easily at hispanic stores…though it’s very helpful to be in a urban area with those populations (even the cub foods by my house has these things)

Find the fresh spices. Use the banana leaves. Search the Robert Rodriguez on YouTube to see how simple it is.
I can never make enough. Over rice with Pickled veggies is the right touch.

Here Are Four Easy, Last-Minute Latino Labor Day Recipes

Everyone looks forward for Labor Day weekend which marks the end of summer fun, grilling by the pool, and a celebration of National Work Day. It is time to take a break, relax, and enjoy with family and friends your favorite activity along with simple BBQ recipes. The following picks represent Latin fusion in several American classics traditionally served during this long weekend.

Start with a soothing iced black tea infused with hibiscus and ginger. This dried tropical flower is a great ally for hypertension and fatigue with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Just perfect for this celebration of long hours of work.

Pick up your favorite chorizo sausage at your local butcher or market, a crusty “pan de agua”, a simple bun or the sophisticated baguette and make the Latino version of hot dog- the Choripan. Any condiment will do but chimichurri or grilled peppers are delicious with this street food of Latin Americans. Kids love it too!

Tired of beef and chicken on the grill? Try the thick-cut pork chops marinated in a take on the classic Mexican pork recipe — al Pibil. Steak lovers will love them and so will those looking for lean proteins on a tight budget. They also go nicely with any salad including the potato or macaroni, faithful guests of Labor Day picnics.

Finally, if camping in the woods is your activity, the classic Smores make way for Latino style as well. Roast the marshmallows, then layer the sweet fluffy favorite between dark chocolate, María cookie, and dulce de leche. A sweet holiday it is to indulge, enjoy, and have a great break!

Hibiscus Tea with Ginger


  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Black tea bags
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice


  1. In a 6- quart saucepan over medium heat, simmer 4 cups of water with sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat, add black tea bags, hibiscus flowers, cinnamon stick, and ginger slices. Cover and infuse for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pour infusion into a large pitcher using a strainer. Add lime juice, the remaining 4 cups of water, and refrigerate.
  3. Serve over ice and decorate with fresh ginger slices.

Choripan — Grilled Chorizo and Bread


  • 6 Chorizo style- sausages for the grill (Spanish Chistorras, Argentinean or Mexican Chorizo)
  • 2 long baguette-style bread or 12 individual brioche long buns
  • Favorite condiment for sausages (chimichurri, grilled peppers, mustard)


  1. Heat grill to medium high-heat. Add sausages and grill 2-3 minutes on each side depending on thickness.
  2. Slice bread horizontally, add favorite condiment, and place grilled chorizo in the middle. Serve warm.

Easy Grilled Pork Chops- Pibil Style


  • 4 (1-in.) thick bone-in pork chop
  • Easy Marinade Pibil-style:
  • 1 teaspoon Achiote (Annatto) in powder or paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients of the Pibil-style seasoning in a bowl. Place pork chops in a rectangular dish or large plastic food bag and pour the marinade over the chops making sure they are completely seasoned. Cover with a plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator until ready to use. You may marinate up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high and grill for 5-7 minutes on each side. Serve with your favorite grilled chile or pepper.

Smores with Dulce de Leche


  • One package “María”-style cookies
  • One dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
  • One 10 oz. can Dulce de Leche
  • 16 whole marshmallows
  • Wooden or steel sticks for grilling marshmallows


  1. Spread a thin layer of dulce de leche on one María cookie.
  2. Place a piece of chocolate in the center of another María cookie.
  3. Place marshmallow on a stick and grill until slightly golden. Slide warm marshmallow on top of the chocolate on the María cookie and then place the other cookie with the dulce de leche on top of the marshmallow.

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Jacqueline Kleis is an accomplished chef, creative thinker, business entrepreneur, and innovative product developer. In the Spring of 2016, her versatile experience came together to create Culinary Beet LLC., a food and beverage consulting company where she offers her professional experience to your business table. Her division, "Latin Beet" also offers consulting in Latin cuisines and culinary translations.

Pollo Pibil (Chicken Pibil)

Have you heard of Cochinita Pibil? It is a dish from Yucatán, Mexico made with pork, achiote a mix of annatto seeds, spices, bitter orange and other ingredients, it is a delicious recipe that you have to try to make because you will wow your family, it is call cochinita because it is make with pork, but you can use achiote to cook other lovely recipes, like this recipe made with chicken.

I bought an organic chicken at my local butcher because I believe in good and conscious farming and also I think the flavour is better. The recipe has the same ingredients as the pork pibil, but it takes less time.

Serves 4
Prep 15 min plus 2 hrs marinate or over night


  • 1 whole organic chicken 1.5 kg
  • 3 tbsp achiote paste
  • Juice of 3 mandarins
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small white onion julienne
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch oregano
  • 1 cup water

In a blender put the achiote paste, Orange juice, lemon and oregano to blend until the achiote has dissolve. Set the achiote mix aside.

On a casserole dish (Dutch oven) place the sliced onion on the bottom together with the mince garlic.

Then place the whole chicken inside the casserole dish (Dutch oven), add salt and pepper and the achiote mix and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven 15 min to 180 degrees C. Add a cup of water to the chicken, before place it into the oven (this will prevent the chicken to get dry and it will make a lovely achiote broth) put the lid on and place in the oven.

Cook for an hour and a half. Checking half way, if the chicken is not dry. If it needs more water add 1/2 cup.

Take the chicken out. Cut it in to pieces and serve it with corn tortillas, pickled onion, spicy salsa and some guacamole!

How to make red pickled onion
Cut a red onion in julienne, wash through with cold water, put it in a bowl, add some salt, leave it for 10 min.

How To : Cook puerco pibil or roast pork with Robert Rodriguez

How to cook Puerco Pibil by Robert Rodriguez. This is an excellent spicy breakfast. This is the slow roasted pork as seen is his film Once Upon a Time in Mexico. 5T whole annato seeds 2t whole cumin seeds
1T peppercorns
8 whole allspice seeds
1/2t whole cloves

Grind the above in a spice mill/coffee grinder.

2 habanero chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
2T salt
8 cloves garlic

Combine the above with the spice mix in a blender, and puree.

Juice of 5 lemons splash tequila 5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes Combine all ingredients in a zip-top bag and mix well. Line a 9x13 pan with banana leaves add the pork mixture fold over the leaves to cover, then cover tightly with foil. Bake 4 hours at 325 serve over rice.

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