Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 4 hrs

This is a Mayan recipe for an incredibly delicious "pulled pork" for tacos. We make this at the restaurant I work at, Ciudad D.F. in Dallas, but I actually like this recipe better. It comes from 'Tacos' The Santa Fe School of Cooking Series cookbook. Achiote paste and Banana leaves can be found in your local Hispanic Market. Trust me on this the Habaneroes only add flavor, there is no heat at all. If you want it spicy add more and leave the seeds in. Roasting them first also adds more spice.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place pork in a freezer bag or other large plastic bag, strong trash bags work well.
  2. Dry toast Mexican oregano & cumin seeds in a hot, heavy skillet one at a time, stirring or shaking the pan to prevent burning. They are done when color has deepen and little wisps of smoke are formed.
  3. Mix all the ingredients, except banana leaves in a blender or food processor (break up the Achiote Paste before adding) Pour in with pork, seal bag, and distribute well to coat meat. Be careful not to get on hands it will stain them red! ( I used a meat injector also).
  4. Marinate at least 2 hours or overnight in frig, overnight is best.
  5. If banana leaves are frozen, thaw and rinse well in cool water. If you can use fresh banana leaves you will need to wilt them over the burner on your stove, be careful not to burn them. Heat them until they are pliable.
  6. Line the bottom of a heavy roasting pan with 2 or 3 banana leaves, long enough to be able to fold over the roast covering it completely. They should over lap the pan on all sides.
  7. Remove pork roast from the bag and reserve marinade.
  8. Place pork fat side up on the banana leaves in the pan, pour marinade over top of the meat.
  9. Place 3 or 4 more banana leaves over the pork and inside the bottom leaves. Pull bottom leaves around meat and tie with cooking string around this package form both directions to secure.
  10. Place either in the grill with lid down or in the oven at 325°F for 3-1/2 to 4 hours until meat is tender. Leaves may be almost black on the outside when finished. When we used the smoker it took close to 8 hours.
  11. Allow to cool for 20 minutes; then slit open banana leaves with knife or scissors, (be careful of the steam) and remove pork.
  12. Serve with fresh corm tortillas, salsa of your choice, red pickled onions, guacamole, chopped cilantro, etc.
Most Helpful

I finally got to make this! I've been hanging on to this recipe for some time now because I couldn't find the banana leaves, and I needed to order some achiote paste. A Mexican girl I work with was nice enough to give me a package of her achiote paste, and I finally located some frozen banana leaves on a random grocery trip. I guess it was authentic enough, since DH and BIL ate almost the entire 4.5 lb pork butt in one night! I only got to try one shred of the meat with some cebollas curtidos because I had to go to work by the time the meat finished cooking, but I really liked the bit I had. I cooked it in the oven, and it made the whole house smell great (I especially liked the smell of the banana leaves). My only complaint was that the toasted oregano leaves made my kitchen smell like a Grateful Dead concert for a while. Other than that, no issues. I used disposable latex gloves while handling the marinade, too, so no orange hands. I also used a big disposable foil roasting pan, so I didn't even have to scrub roasted meat yuck from anything. Definitely a plan-ahead recipe, but with little hands-on time (I spent way more time making guacamole, cebollas curtidos and salsa than I did handling the cochinita pibil). I'm sure I'll be making this again, thanks for posting!

Muffin Goddess May 21, 2008

This recipe was similar to the cochinita pibil I had in the Yucatan. Had to make my own achiote paste, and that was the most time consuming but worth it. Used an electric stove at 165c. Would recommend putting foil on the tray under the banana leaves as it's hard cleaning up the leaves once cooked. I Worked with 2 kilos of pork, but only 1 kilo cooked perfectly, other was undercooked. The cooked part was perfect. Next time I will use charcoal and cook it more authentic.

george s. December 29, 2015

I marinated overnight then put the entire thing in the crock pot on high for about 8 hours. Succulent and juicy and oh so delicious. Thank you!

happy2bme_9_8206787 December 26, 2012