Pork pibil tastes amazing and is quite easy to prepare too.
Pork pibil, also know as cochinita con achiote and Puerco pibil in Mexico and Mexican restaurants originated in the Yucatan Peninsula. This is a very old recipe that dates back to the Mayans and like all really good recipes, it has never ceased to be popular. Pork pibil is a slow cooked pulled pork that is marinated in citrus, achiote paste, garlic, onion and other delicious spices.
How is pork pibil made?
The pork joint is first marinated in a delicious marinade. For best results, it should be marinated for a day or two but you could get away with 30 minutes marinating time and not be disappointed.
Once you have applied the marinade, the pork is wrapped in banana leaves. This not only protect the pork while cooking but gives the meat a delicious subtle flavour of the banana leaves. Wrapped up tightly, it also steams and becomes mouth wateringly moist and delicious.
The wrapped meat needs to be slowly roasted for 4 hours. When you take it out of the oven, it will be fall apart or pull apart tender.
How was pork pibil originally cooked before ovens?
Originally, pork pibil was cooked in a hole in the ground. A large whole was dug and then hot coals were placed in it.
The banana leaf wrapped meat was then buried in the hole with the hot coals and dug up after a few hours.
I have actually done this with pork pibil and other similar recipes. It worked really well but I’m glad we can use ovens these days.
How is the cooked pork pibil prepared for serving?
If you have every made pulled pork, it’s done the same way. Simply pull the pork apart and shred it with your hands.
This will be really easy to do as the pork pibil is so tender. I recommend wearing heat proof plastic or rubber gloves to do this as the meat will be quite hot when you remove it from the oven.
How is pork pibil served?
Pork pibil can be served in numerous ways. In this recipe, the meat is wrapped into tacos. The tacos are traditionally served with pickled red onions and chillies.
You could serve it simply over rice like the baked Mexican rice here.
It is also delicious served in burritos, on top of nachos or served with salad greens, salsa, refried beans and fried corn or flour tortillas as a taco salad.
Do I have to wrap the pork in banana leaves?
No. This is the traditional way to cook pork pibil. You could wrap it in foil if you don’t have banana leaves. You might also like to try cooking it in a pressure cooker as explained below.
Can pork pibil be cooked in an Instant Pot?
Yes. It only takes 90 minutes. You could place a small piece of banana leaf at the bottom of the pot for flavour but that isn’t essential. Cut the pork into three pieces and place it in you Instant Pot. Place the pork and all the marinade in the pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover.
Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes and then allow to continue naturally cooking for an additional 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, press the pressure release. When the pin drops, you can open the top and proceed with pulling the pork.
Pork pibil in pictures…
Marinating the pork…
Although I normally try to marinate the pork for a day or so, this time I didn’t.
I simply poured the marinade over the pork on the banana leaves. Then wrapped it all up to marinate for about 30 minutes before placing it all in th oven.
If you like pork pibil, you might like to try some of these Mexican style recipes too…
Birria de Res
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Beef Queso Dip
Baked Mexican Rice
- 1kg pork shoulder roast
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 6 cloves
- 1 tsp allspice berries
- 1.75cm (1/2 inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp light olive oil
- 1 onion, quartered
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 250ml (1 cup) orange juice
- 125ml (1/2 cup) lime juice
- 50g achiote paste
- FOR THE OPTIONAL PICKLED ONIONS
- 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 125ml (1/2 cup) lime juice
- 1 tsp salt
- Rub the pork roast all over with the salt. This can be done a day or two before cooking. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and add black peppercorns, cloves and allspice berries and cinnamon. Move these whole spices around in the pan until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking.
- Transfer to a plate to cool some and then grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Set aside.
- Now grease the surface of the pan with the olive oil and toast the garlic and onion until lightly charred on the exterior. This should only take a couple of minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the ground spices. Top this up with the remaining ingredients and blend to a paste.
- Pour the marinade over the pork and rub it deep into the flesh. You could marinate the meat for a couple of days in this marinade or just go straight to cooking.
- When read to cook, preheat your oven to 150c/300f.
- Criss-cross two long pieces of string, long enough to tie the banana leaves around the pork, across a roasting pan. Place a piece of foil over the string to catch any marinade that escapes and then place two or three large banana leaves on top of the foil.
- Put the pork and all the marinade in the centre of the banana leaves and then fold them around the meat, Tie it all up into a parcel tightly with the string.
- Place the tied pork pibil in the oven and cook for 4 hours. After four hours, unwrap the pork. It will be fall apart tender.
- Pull the pork apart into shreds. It is easiest to do this with heat proof gloves as the meat will still be quite hot.
- Wrap this saucy, pulled pork in tortillas and top with pickled onions and/or salsa.
- TO MAKE THE PICKLED ONIONS: Sprinkle the sliced onions with salt in a bowl and then cover with the lime juice. Allow to pickle for at least 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times as they marinate.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 433Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 667mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 30g