Cochinita Pibil is the most popular recipe out of the Yucatan Peninsula. This pulled pork recipe in an achiote paste is a fantastic and one of the most delicious dishes in Mexican gastronomy. Learn how to make it and enjoy it at home, like if you were in Mexico.
1.75 oz Achiote Paste(50 grams, half stick of achiote paste)
2cupsbitter orange juice or a mix of orange juice with white vinegar(other options are orange juice mixed with lime or grapefruit juice)
½teaspoonground black pepper
3Poundsof boneless pork butt or pork shoulder cut into pieces 2-½ IN Cubes.
1large red onionsliced (optional)
1tsp.dried Mexican oregano
1Large size oven bagOptional
Salt to taste
Prepared you banana leaves
Roast the banana leaf, if you bought it from the frozen section of the supermarket, wait until it is completely defrosted.
To roast the banana leaf, place it directly over a medium-high heat of your stove, it will start changing color and getting shiny when it gets in contact with the fire. Make sure not to burn the leaves; we just want them to be pliable.
Line your roasting pan with the oven bag and arrange the banana leaves overlapping and leaving some of the leaves hanging. You can also use aluminum foil instead of the oven bag.
The banana leaves give a lot of flavor to the dish, but if you can't find them use aluminum foil instead of the banana leaves or use an oven bag.
Achiote Sauce Marinade
In your blender, mix the Achiote (annatto) paste seasoning,garlic, black ground pepper, bitter orange juice or vinegar, cumin, and salt toseason.
Mix sauce and pork
Cut the pork meat into medium size pieces (about 2 ½ to 3inches). Place pork meat on the leaves, then pour the Achiote mixture over it. And add the lard to give it more flavor. Marinade for 2-4 hours or overnight.
Add the sliced onion, oregano, & Allspice. Fold the ends of the banana leaves over the pork. Wrap tightly with the banana leaves and cover with the roasting pan lid. SEE NOTES above if using alummium foild or an oven bag.
Bake and serve:
Bake for 2 ½ hours in a preheated oven at 350 degrees.
Remove roasting pan from oven and uncover the meat. The meat should be tender. If it isn’t ready, cover it again and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
To serve shred the meat and cover with the released juices, some warm tortillas and habanero sauce.
The meat can be placed in a large bowl with the achiote marinade and stored overnight to absorb more flavor.
Other cooking Methods are using an Instant Pot or Stove Pressure cooker, placing the banana leaves at the bottom of the pot, arranging the meat and achiote sauce on top of them, cover with the banana leaves, and cook for one hour. If using a regular pot over your stove, it will be the same process and will take about 2-½ hours to cook.
Most of the time, this dish is prepared with pork butt or pork shoulder, but it can be made with other parts of the pork like pork lion.
You can also substitute the bitter orange juice by making a mix of ¾ cup of orange juice and adding 4 tablespoons of lime juice.
The use of bay leaves and red onions is not very common but it adds an extra flavor. Thyme & marjoram are not commonly used.
Another spice that is added to the achiote sauce to make the marinate is cinnamon, but if you are buying the commercial Achiote paste. Most of the time it is included in the paste.