Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil, Yucatan © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

Cochinita Pibil is a popular dish found in restaurants and in homes all over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cochinita means pork and Pibil is a Mayan word that means buried or cooked underground.  

You can substitute the pork with chicken or even fish. It is served with corn tortillas and Pickled red onions.

Food is an important aspect of the culture and popular traditions of México, for this reason and others, traditional Mexican cuisine was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Ingredients (8 servings)

2 pieces of banana leaf passed by the flame to soften
3 lb of pork leg
1 lb of pork loin with rib
200 grams of achiote paste
1/2 cup sweet orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 pieces whole ground pepper
2 cloves garlic squeezed
1/2 teaspoon chili piquín
1 teaspoon salt
125 grams of melted lard


Cut the meat into pieces about 2 inches and place in a bowl.

Dilute the achiote in the orange juice and vinegar.

Add spices, salt and garlic. Empty this liquid on the meat, cover with a cloth and marinate in the fridge for at least 5 hours. (Preferably overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Hold the banana leaves directly over the fire for a few minutes until they soften. Line a tray (or container) with the banana leaves, leaving them to protrude to wrap the pig.

Place the meat, the marinade on the leaves and bathe with the melted pork lard. Fold the ends of the sheets so they do not burn. Cover with foil.

Bake for 2 hours or until it is so soft it almost collapses. If it is not tender enough, return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Pickled Red Onions

8 pieces of radish very finely chopped
1 sliced onion
4 pieces finely chopped habanero chile (very spicy adequate to taste)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup of vinegar
Salt to taste


Peel and thinly slice the onion into approximately 1/4-inch moons. Add the orange juice and vinegar. Season with salt. Finely chop the habanero chiles and add to the onion.  Let it marinate along with the horseradish for about 3 hours and serve with the cochinita pibil.