Saturday, December 29, 2012

Puerco Pibil

My buddy Joe introduced me to a dish called Puerco Pibil. Ever since the first time I experienced it, I fell in love with it. It is a slow roasted pork that is so succulent and packed full of tastebud tickling flavor! There are a few shortcuts you can take with this dish but I guarantee you, it's worth the effort to make it this way for maximum flavor. It can be served over rice or in tortilla shells. I usually use the latter and top it with cheddar cheese and sour cream. I use and tweak a recipe from The Spice House Website.


  • 5 lbs. Boneless Pork Butt, cut into 1"-2" cubes
  • 5 Tbls. Annato Seeds
  • 2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tbls. Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. Whole Cloves
  • 8 Whole Allspice Berries
  • 2 Fresh Habanero Peppers, cleaned and minced
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1/2 C. White Vinegar
  • 8 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbls. Salt
  • 5 Lemons, juiced (Limes can also be used instead)
  • 1 Shot of Tequila
  • Banana Leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a spice grinder, add Annato, Cumin, Peppercorns, Cloves, and Allspice Berries and grind until very fine. It's important to grind it fine as the Annato Seeds are like tiny rocks and will give it a gritty texture if left too large. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, add Habaneros, Orange Juice, Garlic, Salt, Lemon Juice, Tequila, and ground spices. Blend until smooth.
  4. In a large marinating bag or non-reactive bowl, pour mixture over cubed pork and coat evenly. Secure or cover and place in fridge for 3-4 hours. 
  5. In a 9x13x2 pan, lay banana leaves down one at a time so that it is draped over the pan and enough is leftover to drape back on top. Refer to pictures for details.
  6. Pour Pork and all marinade in the pan on the banana leaves. 
  7. One at a time and alternating leaves, drape them back over the the top of the pork like you are wrapping a package.
  8. Once all leaves are folded back on top, cover with foil. It may help to wrap the entire pan in foil. Place on or above a cookie sheet and put in oven. Roast for 4 hours. 
  9. After 4 hours, take out of oven. Pull the foil off and carefully "unfold" the banana leaves to reveal the pork. With tongs, break up pork so it "shreds". 
  10. Serve over rice or on tortilla shells with Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream!
  • Banana leaves are usually frozen and you can find them in specialty stores. They are not absolutely necessary but it does help add an extra flavor element you can't get without. The leaves are inexpensive and worth using.
  • You can easily turn this into a crockpot meal. Simply add everything to the crockpot and I would cook it on low for 8 hours. 
  • The habaneros are hot. However, by removing the seeds and ribs, it tones them down. The habaneros give the dish extra flavor and don't add that much heat. I am not a fan of "hot" food and I usually add just one and it comes out pretty mild. If you like spicy, add more habaneros.
  • You can use limes instead of lemons. 
Puerco Pibil will make your house smell so wonderful. It is absolutely one of my favorite dishes. Please leave comments! If you have any questions, just ask! 

Pork Butt

All the spices
Habaneros and Garlic
Squeezing the Lemon Juice
Adding the Tequila
Adding the marinade
Banana Leaves
Lining the pan with the leaves
Adding the pork and maninade
Wrapping the pork and marinade with the leaves
All wrapped and ready for foil
Wrapped and ready for oven

"Shredding" the pork

This is my favorite way to eat Puerco Pibil.

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