One-Pot Wonders

Cochinita Pibil

February 24, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 6 to 8 with leftovers
Author Notes

20 years ago, before the Costa Maya was even a twinkle in the Mexican tourist industries eye, my husband and I would go to a little restaurant in Cancun called Los Almendros - it was by the bull ring under a giant almond tree. They had real Yucatecan cuisine, panuchos and pavo en kol Indio and, best of all, cochinita pibil - my husband's absolute favorite. We forgo Cancun and head straight to Akumal these days, so I don't know if Los Almendros is still there, but we still make the cochinita now and again ... This dish is made with an inexpensive cut of meat and a few seasonings. Two important points 1) do not trim all of the fat, it adds a ton of flavor and 2) cook it low and slow - really pretty much the longer the better. Round out your meal with black beans and fresh corn tortillas and you have peasant food fit for a king. —aargersi

What You'll Need
  • Cochinita Pibil
  • 1 3-4 pound pork shoulder
  • 1/2 3.5 oz box of achiote paste (available in Latin markets or online)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 5-6 garlic cloves peeled and kind of crushed
  • 1 medium yellow onion - peeled and sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 limes - juice and zest
  • 1 big handful of cilantro
  • Pickled Onions (these are the same ones that go in the beef cheek tacos)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 of a beet
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 part water to 2 parts cider vinegar
  1. Cochinita Pibil
  2. Cut any big giant hunks of fat from the pork shoulder, but leave SOME of it for flavor. Dissolve the achiote paste in water. Marinate the pork shoulder with the achiote, orange juice, cumin and half the garlic - this should marinate for 2-3 hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 250. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat it dry. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, and brown the pork - it will only get just so brown what with the fat melting and the residual marinade - that's OK. Add the onions and brown them a bit too.
  4. Dump the marinade back in and add the broth, lime and cilantro. Braise it low and slow for 3-4 hours - until it is falling apart and you don't even need to think about using a knife.
  5. Serve with refried black beans, additional limes and cilantro, corn tortillas and pickled onions (recipe to follow)
  1. Pickled Onions (these are the same ones that go in the beef cheek tacos)
  2. Slice the onions very thinly and put them in a microwaveable container. Add the beet, cilantro, salt and sugar. Cover everything with 1 part water to 2 parts vingar.
  3. microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for another minute. Cool, then refridgerate overnight.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mrslarkin
  • boulangere
  • gingerroot
  • wssmom
  • Andy

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

20 Reviews

mrslarkin May 14, 2011
holy cow! this looks and sounds amazing. It's a 3 to 4 lb. hunk, right aargersi?
aargersi May 14, 2011
Good Morning Mrs L! Yeah I usually get a hunk ... but it's falling apart by the end anyways so separate chunks will work too
boulangere May 14, 2011
I've a pork shoulder lurking the freezer waiting for something interesting to come along, and I think this is it. And here are those famous pickled onions again. Interesting project for this week at work. Thank you!
aargersi May 14, 2011
And flan for dessert! :-)
gingerroot May 13, 2011
This sounds SO good.
wssmom May 13, 2011
Oh, yum. Yum yum.
Andy November 10, 2010
Excellent recipe! I have served this dish at tailgates and at dinner parties with equal success. I've also received the greatest compliments from my Yucatecan friends. Ever notice how impressed your foreign friends are when you can cook one of their native dishes?
thirschfeld March 30, 2010
I was going to do a recipe I develped that is real similar to this tomorrow. This looks sooo good I think I am going to shift course and go another route.
thirschfeld March 30, 2010
I do the pickled onions too but I just lime pickle them. Squeeze juice of lime over thinly sliced red onions and let the sit for 20 mins or so. Vibrant pink.
aargersi March 30, 2010
You should post yours too - more is better! I will try your pickling method too ... one must have lots of options for everything, yes?
Loves F. March 30, 2010
I love both your ideas for pickled onions, definitely going to try that out!
Loves F. March 29, 2010
I'm so excited about this contest... I'll be the one not submitting a recipe, but lurking on the pages of everyone else's recipes... including this one... can't wait to make it!
dymnyno March 9, 2010
I am making this one very soon...I love all the flavors and I also love the sides. (plus another use for my over abundant orange trees)
aargersi March 18, 2010
I meant to reply to this earlier - I am jealous of your oranges! Let me know what you think if you get a chance to make this!!!
gabrielaskitchen March 2, 2010
Love it, def my style. I'm giving your version atry next time I get my hands on some pork shoulder.
aargersi March 3, 2010
Let me know what you think - you know you could also do a chicken version - shorter cook time probably but that would be good too!
gabrielaskitchen March 3, 2010
Yup, I love how interchangable sauces for "the other white meat" and chicken can be! It makes it easy for me to pass along great recipes to my friends who abstain from eating pork. Yum Yum Yum.
coffeefoodwrite March 2, 2010
This looks very yummy. I wonder if you could add mint to the pickled onions recipe, substitute blood orange juice for the orange juice and work some feta in there somewhere??? (maybe crumbled over the beans...) Might be a mighty delicious addition to this week..=)
aargersi March 3, 2010
That is an EXCELLENT idea! Do it, post it, and then I will try it too! We have these onions in the fridge a good part of the time ...
AmyW February 24, 2010
This his definitely on my 'to do' list! Gorgeous.