Cochinita Pibil.

picture of taco made with Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil is pork that has been cooked in an underground oven (Pibil). Today we'll make it without burring it 😉

  • Author: Zoe Morman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours and 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 4 pounds of pork, with fat, bone, and skin still on.

For Adobo

  • 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

For Service

  • 12 tortillas
  • cotija cheese or queso fresco
  • 1/4 cup of salsa


Day before cooking

  1. Remove pork from packaging and rinse.  
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin of the pork.  But do not cut so deep as to cut down onto the meat.
  3. Picture of the diamond cuts made to the skin of the pig. This will release the fat and self-baste through the cooking process
  4. Puncture holes into the meat for stuffing the marinade into.
  5. Start working on your pickled onions.  Thinly slice the red onion.
  6. 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.
  7. In a blender or deep container and emersion blender, add all the ingredients listed under "for adobo."
  8. Rub the marinade all over the pork and into the punctured holes.  Let rest overnight.

Day of cooking

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Place a portion of the banana leaf on the bottom of the pot.
  3. first banana leaf at the bottom of the crock
  4. 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.
  5. Place the pork inside of the pot and fold the leaves over the pork.
  6. another look at the adobo seasoned pork as it is being covered with banana leaves
  7. Peak at pork under the banana leaves
  8. Pork fully covered with banana leaves inside of the crock
  9. Place the pot into the preheated oven and cook for about 6 hours.
  10. After six hours, the meat should be fork-tender and easy to shred.
  11. Meat being pulled from the bone of the pork after cooking is complete
  12. close up of the crispy pork skin after cooking
  13. peak at pork under the baked banana leaves an image of the pork as it is removed from the oven with the dried out banana leaves still covering it a view of the pork once the banana leaf is removedshredded Cochinita in the pot

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.

closeup of the Cochinita taco. Taco has culantro, cheese, pickled onions, and salsa in a yellow corn tortilla



On ingredients: 

  1. If you do not have Ancho Pepper, use a chipotle powder.  Ancho is sweeter and milder than Chipotle, but both are smokey and earthy.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

On Cooking:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?


Keywords: Cochinita Pibil, Pork, Pork tacos, Cochinita Pibil tacos

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