Cochinita Pibil: Slow-roasted Yucatan Pork

We had banana leaves left over from the Steamed Salmon recipe, and I happened to stumble across this tasty-looking pork dish a couple of days before a PEPS potluck, so it was a no-brainer to make it our contribution.  I’m still partial to the Carnitas that we’ve made a few times previously, but this recipe is easier, and actually tasted better the next day as leftovers.

Chris says:

I love finds like this, that come out of trying to use up something we bought for a different recipe — banana leaves!

Lisa says:

I love recipes that list 20 cloves of garlic in the ingredients list.

Chris says:

That too — between the garlic, citrus, and achiote paste, the pork has a pretty distinctive flavor. I really like it, it’s different.

Lisa says:

You’re right, it’s different and it’s delicious — so what’s the deal with the ‘real’ recipe?

Chris says:

Oh, so traditionally you’re supposed to roast a whole suckling pig in a hole in the ground.

Lisa says:


Chris says:

Yeah, I thought you’d be fine with pork shoulder.


Cochinita Pibil
1 3.5-oz package of El Yucateco Achiote Red Paste
20 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup of freshly-squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice
5-6 lbs boneless pork butt
1 package of banana leaves, defrosted

Combine the achiote paste, garlic, lime juice, and lemon juice in a blender, and puree until smooth. Cut pork into large square portions, leaving much of the fat (you can always remove any fatty pieces after it’s cooked) cover with the paste mixture, and marinate in refrigerator overnight, 12-24 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line a roasting pan with overlapping banana leaves, letting them hang over the sides. Put the pork and marinade inside, wrap the leaves over the top, then top more overlapping leaves on top to create a sealed package. You should also then line the roasting pan with foil to prevent steam from escaping.
Cook 3.5-4 hours, until pork shreds easily with a fork.
Serve in tacos with pickled onions (recipe here), guacamole, and a *very* spicy hot sauce.

8 Servings


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