Cochinita Pibil—Slow-Roasted Yucatecan Pork


1 T annatto seeds

¼ t oregano

12 peppercorns

3 whole allspice

1/4 t toasted cumin seeds

1/8 t hot paprika

3 cloves garlic, peeled

¼ cup Seville orange juice*

¼ cup quality tequila, such as Patron

1 T salt

3 ½ to 4 ½ lb. pork loin roast

2 large pieces of banana leaf**


Grind the first 6 ingredients in a coffee grinder (used only for spices) to as fine a powder as possible. Puree in a blender or food processor the garlic, orange juice, tequila and salt. Add the powdered mixture and blend to a smooth paste. Score the meat all over and rub the paste over the meat.

If necessary, render the banana leaves more flexible either by passing them over a bare flame or placing them briefly in hot water. Pat dry. Wrap the meat in them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Place a rack in the bottom of a Dutch oven and set the wrapped pork on it. Add ½ cup water and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 2 ½ hours. Baste the meat with juices from the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking for another 2 ½ hours until meat is falling apart.

Shred the meat and pour the juices from the pot over it.

*Seville oranges or bitter oranges are not easy to find but can be mail ordered. A near match for ½ cup is a blend of 1 t finely grated grapefruit rind, 3 T orange juice, 3 T grapefruit juice and 2 T lemon juice. Rice wine vinegar is a good choice for a substitute.

**Fresh banana leaves can be found in the Latin American markets of many cities. They can also be found frozen. They lend a mildly aromatic flavor to the pork.


½ cup finely chopped onion

3 chiles cayenne (or 3 chiles habaneros, seeds and ribs removed, if you can take the heat), finely minced

½ t salt

2/3 cup Seville orange juice*

Mix ingredients together and serve separately to sprinkle on shredded pork.

Inspired by Diana Kennedy and Roberto Rodriguez, Cooking classes