Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil is a popular shredded pork dish from the Yucatan region of Mexico.  The pork is wrapped in banana leaves and slowly cooked in achiote paste, lime juice, and orange juice.  I first saw Cochinita Pibil cooked in an underground oven on an episode of one of Rick Bayless’ cooking show and it looked amazing and knew that I had to try it out.

I tried the recipe during the summer at my live Fantasy Football draft with the boys and recently during Christmas for my family.  It was a hit on both occasions. It is zesty, savory, and fresh all in one bite.   It is also the perfect dish to bring to your next potluck or family gathering. 

Ingredients:
6 Pounds Pork Butt/Shoulder
6 ounces Achiote Paste
12 garlic cloves, smashed
2/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt + more to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
banana leaves

Pickled Red Onions Ingredients:
2-3 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 1/3 cup lime juice, fresh
2/3 cup orange juice, fresh
salt and pepper
Habanero Salsa Ingredients:
3 ounces Habanero chili peppers, halved, and remove stems and half of seeds
3 garlic cloves
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 ounce of water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Extra Ingredients:
corn tortillas
cilantro
queso fresco
lime
Mexican crema
Steps:
Marinate Pork Butt – In a blender, blend achiote paste, garlic cloves, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, oil, salt, soy sauce, and Mexican oregano.  Pour sauce over pork butt and marinate. Securely wrap the pork butt in banana leaves.  Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Pickle Red Onions – In a medium bowl, add lime juice, orange juice, salt, and pepper.  Mix in thinly sliced red onions.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Make Habanero Salsa – In a blender, add habanero chili peppers, garlic cloves, lime juice, agave syrup, water, and vegetable.  Blend for about 10 seconds. Place in tight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Slow Cook Cochinita Pibil – Place banana leaf wrapped pork into slow cooker.  Cook on low for 10 hours or until fork tender.
Serve Cochinita Pibil – Put some meat on the tortilla.  Top with pickled onions and about half teaspoon (or more) of habanero salsa.  Add any additional accompaniments and eat!

Tips:
  • Habanero salsa is HELLA HOT.  Please warn your guests before they burn their mouths.  
  • Use latex gloves when handling habanero chili peppers.
  • Even if you remove all the seeds, the habanero chili peppers will still be really hot.

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