Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil is a traditional Mayan dish that is supposed to be cooked wrapped in banana leaves and in a covered pit. I enjoyed this delicious dish at both Los Sombreros Cafe and the Barrio Cafe when I was in Arizona last summer, but don’t see it on the menu very often in the Bay Area (but then again, maybe I haven’t been looking very hard). Since I got the cast iron dutch oven, I have been on the prowl for slow roast recipes and found one for Cochinita Pibil in Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday. It’s simple enough for me and resulted in what Mr. K said was one of the best meals I’ve ever cooked!

I started cooking this Yucatan style slow braised pork dish on Saturday, then let it sit overnight in the fridge, skimmed off the fat and then cooked for another hour or so on Sunday. It was amazingly simple to put together, it just took a long time to cook, 4 hours the first round, then an hour or so the next day… Slow cooking at lower temperature yields the best results. After some trials and errors, I have learned that it’s best not to trim the fat off of the pork shoulder before cooking because the meat stays juicy and succulent. I have to say it was way better than either version I had in the restaurant. The recipe includes pickled red onions as a garnish that really perk the dish up.

Here’s Mr. K’s dish with the Fried Black Beans and Gulf Rice Pilaf from the same cookbook.

Get the recipe for the Cochinita Pibil here. The recipe yielded quite a pile of tender succulent meat that can be used in a variety of ways for leftovers.


  1. yummyme said,

    March 10, 2008 at 9:23 am

    It looks absolutely gorgeous! I love the presentation!



  2. rowena said,

    March 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Ooooooh….yeah! I REMEMBER that post because of all the things you had written on, this pork dish stuck in my mind the most. I found a recipe (forgot from where) and made it several times…happy on each and every occasion. I’m glad that you’ve posted a recipe of your version. I don’t believe that I’ve seen achiote paste so will have to look for a mail-order source. Otherwise, I am able to get achiote seeds/powdered seasoning packets so maybe I could just wing it!

    Dang that looks so good!

  3. March 11, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Wow, looks so fancy. I got a dutch oven late last year too and love slow cooking. Although I still haven’t really tried low temperature. Too impatient still. I might try this one day!

  4. foodhoe said,

    March 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks Rosa!
    Rowena, That achiote paste really simplifies the recipe! Just like the japanese curry blocks for kare raisu… Let me know if you can’t find it, it’s super cheap here, perhaps I’ll send you a care package!
    Singleguy, the slow cooking made it incredibly tender and succulent – definitely worth taking the time. A good way to warm the kitchen on a cold day too!

  5. cookworm said,

    March 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    This looks outrageously good! I just love slow cooked pork.

  6. michelle said,

    March 13, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    that looks outstanding! i just slow-roasted a pork shoulder last night and am going to re-heat and shred it tonight, so i don’t yet know if it turned out as amazingly as yours. keep your fingers crossed for me!

  7. taste tester said,

    March 14, 2008 at 4:00 am

    That pork looks amazing!

  8. March 14, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Great job. I love the brightness of everything. Hmm. I checked out your recipe, the recipe I have uses orange juice for slightly sweet taste.

  9. foodhoe said,

    March 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    cookworm, Thanks, me too (the part about loving slow cooked pork…)!
    michelle, I will check out your post to see how the tacos came out.
    tastetester, yup, it was amazingly easy too.
    WC, Thanks to my new Lowel EGO, things have definitely brightened up in the kitchen… I have read that the traditional recipes use seville oranges which have a slightly bitter taste, others combine oranges and lime.

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