Some of my favorite Mexican food comes from the Yucatan peninsula. I’m a huge pork fan and I also love using achiote paste. It has great flavor, it’s a tasty marinade, and it gives the cochinita pibil its distinct color. The bitter orange flavor works really well in this recipe. The pickled onions gives a perfect finish to the dish. Usually served with rice and/or beans on the side or as tacos. Its great either way.

Cochinita Pibil

  • Servings: 4-6
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Slow roasted pork marinated in bitter orange and annato seed

Credit to Rick Bayless


  • 3 Tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1 Tablespoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, preferably whole peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin,
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves, preferably whole
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably the Mexican variety
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sour orange juice, OR 1 cup fresh lime juice plus 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 6 pounds pork shoulder (Boston butt) roasts, cut into smaller pieces.
  • A ½ pound package of banana leaves, defrosted


  1. Take first 9 ingredients and place into a blender and blend well on medium speed for 1 minute.
  2. Take pork shoulder and blended marinade and mix well in a bowl or plastic Ziploc bag. Cover bowl or seal plastic bag and marinate for 3 hours minimum to overnight in the fridge.
  3. Pre heat oven to 300F
  4. Take banana leaves and cut off the hard edge of the leaf. Take a roasting pan and line the bottom with leaves. Place marinated pork on top of leaves and cover with more leaves. Do the best you can to really wrap the pork in the leaves.
  5. Cover roast pan loosely with aluminum foil and slow bake the pork for 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can also place roasting pan on indirect grilling heat if you are cooking outdoors. Keep the temp between 300F and 350F
  6. While pork is roasting, combine red onion, sour orange juice, and white vinegar in a nonmetal bowl and let sit until roast is ready. The longer the onion can sit in the juice the better.
  7. Remove pork from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Check to see if more salt is needed on the pork.
  8. Take pork and cut into small serving pieces. Serve with juice from pan on top and pickled onions.