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Pork Pibil

This is easy and makes a nice change from traditional (traditional US style anyway) smoked pork. Serve on flour tortillias with hot sauce and lime wedges and other condiments of choice; cheese, sour cream, salsa. Corn salsa is really good on these, and our Latino friends would also serve with radishes and pickled veggies. This is really good folks.

·1 pork butt- 7lb +/-
·1 package frozen banana leaves- you could use foil, but the leaves really do add flavor and they smell great when it's smoking
·1 brick achiote paste(~2oz)- any latin grocery will have this for less than $1. Good bet a well stocked grocery store will have it too. Comes in a small box like a small bar of soap.
·12 peeled garlic cloves, or 3 tbsp jarred minced garlic
·1 medium white onion- coarsely chopped
·2 tbsp coarse grind black pepper
·2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
·2 tbsp kosher salt
·¼ cup orange juice
·¼ cup lime juice
·¼ cup cider vinegar
·¼ cup vegetable oil

Deeply score the butt all over a good ½" deep. Place butt in large Ziploc bag. Place all other ingredients, except for banana leaves, into blender and pulse to combine and break up achiote paste. Pour over butt and massage to coat. Let marinate overnight. Next day, line disposable aluminum pan using banana leaves heated over stove flame to make flexible. Place butt in center and wrap well. Tie with string so it will remain wrapped, then smoke at 225* until meat reaches 195-200* internal temp. Pull from smoker and let rest for 30 minutes, then open, and pull to make soft tacos. Some people have been known to drink beer with this, as well as an occasional margarita.

Watch out for the marinade. Achiote is used to make tattoo pigment, and it will do quite a job on just about any floor or other material it touches.

NOTE: I edited the amount for achiote paste to indicate weight. In the past the store where I buy it carried a small package(2-3oz) and a larger 15oz jumbo brick. Now they only carry the jumbo version. I didn't want someone to buy the larger brick and use the whole thing.
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I know I'm way out of line, almost to the point of talking crazy, but you can also do this in a crockpot. Just line the crockpot with banana leaves, drop in the butt and pour over the marinade. Cover and go to bed or work, or go do something that takes about eight hours. I'm not saying it's as good as the smoked, but I bet you'll like the way your house smells.

Also, once you taste the achiote, you'll start using it on everything. Works great on fish when mixed with butter and brushed on while grilling, and chicken, pork loins, and pork chops can benefit too.
Todd. A Spanish friend of mine just brought me a bar of the achiote past so I made up the recipe just like you listed it, and a small pork butt(only 5 lbs) is marinating right now. I'm meeting some friends for lunch so I'm heading to a couple places to look for banana leaves. If I can't find the leaves, I'll still smoke it like we always do in the Cookshack. Seems like it should be a rather easy task to find banana leaves in California with our large Mexican contingent.

I'm going to take it over to another friend's for dinner tomorrow as a surprise experiment. He'll have smoked lamb off his grill. Don't laugh. He does a fine job with it. Cooks it low and indirectly with an aluminium pouch of wood pellets.
So Pags. How was the pibil?

Cochinita Pibil has been one of my favorite dishes since I first encountered it 30+ years ago while wasting away a few weeks in the Yucatan. Back then, it was commonly made by cooking a baby or suckling pig (Cochinita) on hot rocks in a hole in the ground (Pibil). The pig was wrapped in banana leaves then covered with dirt until done. The stuff was, and still is, addictive.

I prepare it in a manner somewhat similar to Todd, except that I make my own achiote. I then cut the pork into 2"-3" cubes, and smoke them for a couple of hours. Following that, I bag the meat with the marinade for a day or two. I then put the meat, wrapped in banana leaves, in a roasting pan, tightly sealed with foil, and cook it at 200F until done.

I serve it with tortillas, pickled red onions, habanero salsa, and plenty of good Mexican beer.
I didn't use the banana leaves, but followed Todd's recipe to the letter otherwise. Took it over to my friends, and everyone loved it. Very savory and tender. Left some at home, and it was gone when we got back. The kids and grandkids loved it.

Care to share the achiote recipe? Sounds like it could become a regular dish around here.
I put the pork butt in at 11 pm and set the smoker temp at 200*. Since it was only a 5 lb pork butt I didn't want it finishing before I got up. Well. It didn't. At 7 am it was sitting at 154*. Turned the smoker to 225*. At 1 pm it was still in the plateau so I kicked the smoker to 250*. Pulled it at 4:15 when the Maverick hit 193* with the temp confirmed several times with the Thermapen.

That was one stubborn pig. Almost 3 hrs/lb. Even at only 193*, it was a tad dry. Normally, when I pull a PB, I'll throw away a couple pieces of fat. Not this one. No fat left. Zilch. No fear. A little of Smokin's finishing sauce, and it was delicious.

Followed the recipe exactly. Did not poke holes in disposable pan since it was not mentioned by Todd originally.

Let marinate for 12 hours. Put in smoker at 225 and let it go. Internal temp reached 196 in 19 hrs. Removed, let set for 30 minutes. Removed the banana leaves and pulled.

End product was very tasty without adding any apple juice or other flavor enhancers. Very tender and juicy. I would recommend this to everyone. Thanks Todd
Originally posted by Pags:

Care to share the achiote recipe? Sounds like it could become a regular dish around here.

Sure, here you go:

Achiote Recado For Pork / Chicken:

2 ½ C bitter orange juice, or 1 ½ C lime juice, 1 C regular orange juice, and ¼ C cider vinegar
5 T annatto seeds, ground
2 T salt
1 T black peppercorns, ground
8 allspice berries, ground
2 t coriander, ground
2 t cumin seed, ground
2 t Mexican oregano, ground
1 1/2 T cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela, ground
½ t cloves, ground
1 white onion, minced
16 cloves garlic, minced
3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
1 T tequila

Add all ingredients to a blender, and puree to a paste. If time allows, prepare the recado 12 to 24 hours ahead and refrigerate. Reblend just prior to use.
Originally posted by Pags:
Thank you dls.

Pags – You’re welcome. Hope you like it. As Todd mentioned, use caution with this stuff. It can produce stains that are irreversible.

I noticed in an earlier post you mentioned that the meat was very dry after you smoked it. I’ve made this dish many times and “Dry” is a word that you would never associate with it. You also mentioned that you did not wrap it in banana leaves. Did you wrap it in anything else, such as foil? If you didn’t, that was probably your problem rather than lean pork.

The dish is most commonly prepared by roasting and steaming it using the following basic steps:

1. Cut pork into large cubes and put on a large ziplock bag.
2. Pour prepared marinade over the pork, shake well, and refrigerate for 24+ hours.
3. Line a roasting pan with banana leaves with a 6” overhang. Pour the pork and marinade into the pan so that the cubes are in a single layer. Cover the pork with the overhanging banana leaves then wrap the pan with foil.
4. Roast in pork in a conventional oven until done.

I supplement the basic procedure by smoking the pork for 2 hours or so before roasting. Sometimes I’ll smoke the pork cubes before marinating them. Other times, I remove the pork from the marinade, shake off and reserve the excess, then smoke it. Either way works perfectly and produces a great dish with a nice smoky flavor.

BTW, in the movie "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", cochnita or puerco pibil is a favorite dish of a CIA agent played by Johnny Depp. The character is so obsessed with the dish, and feels so strongly about it, that he kills any cook who makes it too well in order to "maintain balance" in the country. The director, Robert Rodriguez, provided instructions on how to prepare the dish which are on this YouTube video. As a warning, the language gets a little "colorful" at a point so those with sensitive hearing may want to move on to the next thread.
Last edited by dls
dls. Thanks. But the pork pibil was delicious. It took 3 hrs/lb to cook so I called it stubborn. It also had the fat totally rendered, but not real dry. I think your technique or the banana leaves like Todd recommends will add to the results.

I guess I better seal the counter tops before I try the homemade achiote paste. Don't think the little woman would be happy with stained counter tops. Smiler

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