4 pounds of pork, with fat, bone, and skin still on.
6 to 8 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of ground ancho pepper
1 teaspoon of chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
6 culantro leaves, reserve 4 for service
1 red onion, reserve half for pickling
1/4 cup of orange juice
2 sweet chili peppers
2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice
To cook pork
about a foot of banana leaves
cotija cheese or queso fresco
1/4 cup of salsa
Day before cooking
Remove pork from packaging and rinse.
Using a sharp knife, cut the skin of the pork. But do not cut so deep as to cut down onto the meat.
Puncture holes into the meat for stuffing the marinade into.
Start working on your pickled onions. Thinly slice the red onion.
Place in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve with tacos.
In a blender or deep container and emersion blender, add all the ingredients listed under "for adobo."
Rub the marinade all over the pork and into the punctured holes. Let rest overnight.
Day of cooking
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Place a portion of the banana leaf on the bottom of the pot.
While the oven preheats, line the pot with the rest of the banana leaf so that the leaf hangs over the edge of the pot.
Place the pork inside of the pot and fold the leaves over the pork.
Place the pot into the preheated oven and cook for about 6 hours.
After six hours, the meat should be fork-tender and easy to shred.
Serve with tortillas, crumbled cotija or queso fresco, pickled onions, and chopped cilantro or culantro. The meat will be tender, flavorful with a medium to high spice level. I prefer my tacos with ice-cold lemonade, but chilled Sangrias work as well.
If you do not have Ancho Pepper, use a chipotle powder. Ancho is sweeter and milder than Chipotle, but both are smokey and earthy.
If you do not find CULANTRO use cilantro. If you do not like cilantro, use parsley. Oregano could also be used, but I am not sure if it will work well as a topping.
If banana leaves cannot be found, substitute with corn husks, or go without. I actually made this recipe without the banana leaves before, and it is just as tasty.
Salsa. I have become a great fan of Frontera salsa. Then again, I am a great fan of Rick Bayles' cooking. Your choice of salsa will work great!
The onions do not need to be pickled this early in the process. You can certainly wait at least 30 minutes before service. The extended time the onions sit in the lemon softens them and renders their sweetness.
This is one of those recipes that you set and forget. So do not be intimidated by the six-hour cooking time. The first time I made this, I set the oven at six in the morning, went to work, and came home at two in the afternoon to a house brimming with delicious aromas. Who needs candles when you can roast pork?