Make Ahead · Pork · Recipes

Puerco Pibil (Cochinita Pibil)

My fantastically amazing friend made this for our last pot luck.  The spices in the meat are absolutely to die for.  I’ve never had anything quite like it.

A little bit of history:  Puerco Pibil is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península. Preparation of traditional cochinita or puerco pibil involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, coloring it with annatto seed and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in banana leaf.

The recipe requires a lot of prep work (along with ingredients that are not always readily available [research ahead of time], such as banana leaves and annatto seeds), but the extra effort is well worth it and locating some of the ingredients can be fun and take you to new markets/stores! Additionally, a lot of the spices used can be found in ground/powder form but it is always beneficial to grind the spices yourself.


  • 9×12 baking dish
  • Blender
  • Chef knife
  • Spice grinder
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Measuring spoons/cups
  • Paring knife
  • Ziploc gallon bags

Puerco Pibil (Cochinita Pibil)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yields: 6-8 Servings

Puerco Pibil (Cochinita Pibil)


  • 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or pork rump)
  • banana leaves
  • 2 habanero chiles
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 5 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 5 tablespoons annatto (achiote) seeds
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice


  1. Combine Allspice berries, Annatto seeds, Cumin seeds, Peppercorns and Whole cloves together into a spice grinder. Process until mixture becomes a fine powder.
  2. Cut Habanero pepper removing stems and seeds (careful as pepper and fumes can be hot, gloves can be used).
  3. Cut and hand-squeeze 5 Lemons into blender. Add Garlic cloves, Habanero pepper, Orange juice, Salt and vinegar to blender mix. Liquify until smooth.
  4. Chop 5 pounds of boneless pork into 2-inch chunks. Once complete places meat, powder and liquid mixture in a gallon-size Ziploc bag.
  5. Refrigerate mixture 2-12 hours, flipping every hour (or at least occasionally, for an even coat).
  6. Line 9x12 baking dish with Banana leaves and pour mixture onto leaves, spreading evenly and wrap with excess leaves. Wrap entire dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil, creating a tight seal for the cooking process.
  7. Cook at 325 degrees for 4 hours.
  8. Remove and unwrap the puerco pibil slowly and carefully. Optional additions: choice of rice, beans and favorite beverage (Mexican bottled Coke or a cold cerveza are always good pairings).

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