Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil From 'The Road to Mexico' by Rick Stein

This slow-cooked pork dish with brick-red achiote paste and sour orange juice originates from Mayan Yucatan, where they used to cook it in pits in the ground. Whilst not common practice now, true Pibil aficionados say they can tell the difference; but this recipe is sure to impress even the ancient Mayans.



  1. Rub the pork all over with the salt and set aside.
  2. To make the marinade:
    1. Heat a dry, heavy-based frying pan and roast the garlic cloves.
    2. Once they are browned, set them aside, then toast the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, and cumin seeds.
    3. Grind all the marinade ingredients in a molcajete.
    4. Add the achiote paste, fine salt, chilli powder, oregano, and thyme leaves and mix well with the orange juice.
    5. Roll the pork in the marinade, rubbing it well.
    6. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or ideally overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. Place the pork in a casserole dish with all the marinade on top. Arrange the sliced onion on the meat and put a lid on the casserole dish.
  5. Bake for 3½-4 hours, checking it a couple of times during cooking and adding a little water if the meat looks like its drying out. When cooked, the meat should be very tender and moist.
  6. Pull the meat apart with a couple of forks and mix it with the marinade and juices in the casserole dish.
  7. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, pink pickled onions, and salsa.