Puerco Pibil ~ Slow Roasted Pork

A Puerco Pibil Recipe That's So Good, Johny Depp Will Shoot the Cook to Keep It a Secret

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Puerco Pibil ~ Slow Roasted Pork
Puerco Pibil ~ Slow Roasted Pork
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Puerco Pibil, also known as Cochinita Pibil or Cochinita con Achiote, is a traditional Mexican recipe of slow-roasted pork. This Puerco Pibil or Slow Roasted Pork dish is from the Yucatán Peninsula and involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, adding annatto seed, and roasting the pork while it is wrapped in a banana leaf.

Puerco Pibil ~ Slow Roasted Pork

Puerco Pibil

David Taylor
This dish is very strong in flavor, and some people might want to dilute it a bit. Ideal candidates are white rice and pico de gallo. Shred the pork and mix into or serve on top of white rice and pico.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Marinating Time 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican

Equipment

  • Coffee grinder
  • Large Baking dish or Roasting Pan
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Blender
  • Banana leaves (optional)

Ingredients
  

Achiote Paste

  • 5 tbs Annato Seed note
  • 2 tsp Cummin Seed
  • 1 tbs Peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 8 whole Allspice
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1-3 habanero chiles note
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 5 lemons
  • Splash of the finest tequila you can find note

Pork

  • 5 lbs Pork Butt

Instructions
 

Preparation:

  • Using the coffee ginder, grind Annato, Cumin Seed, Cloves, Allspice, and Peppercorns into a fine powder.
  • Remove seeds and inner membrane from habanero.
  • Add vinegar, orange juice, habanero, salt, garlic, and spice powder to blender. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds.
  • Add juice of five lemons and Tequila and blend for another 30-60 seconds. Congratulations, you've just made achiote paste.
  • Cut pork into 2 inch cubes and place in a large ziplock bag; pour achiote paste over pork. Seal bag and mush bag around to spread the paste over the pork. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Cooking:

  • Line the baking pan with banana leaves (or foil if you don’t have leaves).
  • Pour pork and achiote paste into pan.
  • Cover with more banana leaves and then foil. Crimp foil around pan to make sure steam doesn’t escape.
  • Bake in the oven at 325° F for 4 hours.
  • And bam, a dish so good you might just get whacked for making it.

Notes

Annato seed is often available in grocery stores in small plastic packets. A one-ounce packet holds about 2.5 tbs, so two packets should do the trick.
Habanero is the hottest chile in the world, so you might want to “wimp it down a bit.” Here are some tips: 1) use less habanero or even a half or a quarter of one; instead of blending the habanero, just slice into strips and place them whole in the ziplock bag; make sure you don’t get the seeds or membrane into the dish.
Don’t touch your eyes or contacts for two days after handling the inside of Habanero (or just wear gloves while cutting it).
It doesn’t really matter what kind of Tequila you use as long as it’s real Tequila. This means it should say 100% agave, and no Cuervo Gold or any other “gold” Tequila. For me a “splash” means a 1/4 cup.
The achiote paste is a marinade, so it will not really tenderize or penetrate the meat. 
The slow moist cooking over low heat, however, will tenderize the pork. The pork will be very tender and is easily “pulled.”
Keyword annatto

What is Achiote?

The Achiote seed comes from the Bixa Orellana shrub native to a region between Mexico, Centeral and northern South America. The tree is best known as the source of annatto, a natural orange-red condiment. The ground seeds are widely used in traditional dishes in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, such as Bistec Encebollado, Pollos Rellenos and Sopa de Queso con Donas de Masa. North, Central, and South American natives originally used the seeds to make red body paint and lipstick, as well as a spice. For this reason, the Bixa Orellana is sometimes called the Lipstick Tree.

  • Bixa Orellana Tree
  • Achiote flower
  • Achiote Flower to Fruit
  • Bixa Orellana Seeds

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Cochinita pibil is a recurring element of the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico directed by Robert Rodriguez, where it is the favorite food of a CIA agent played by Johnny Depp, who orders this dish every time he enters a Mexican restaurant and urges every person he has lunch with to taste it. He will go as far as killing a cook because his puerco pibil is “too good”.

Rodriguez also included this recipe for puerco pibil and demonstrated how to prepare it in the special features section of the DVD.

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