Cooking on Sundays: Puerco Pibil Edition

The inspiration for today’s dish is from the movie “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” starring Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and others.  Johnny Depp’s character orders Puerco Pibil every time he enters a Mexican restaurant and in the extended DVD version, the director Robert Rodriguez includes a 10 minute cooking show on how to make it. You can view the video here on Youtube.

Puerco Pibil, also known as cochinita pibil or cochinita con achiote, is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península of Mayan origin. As described in Wikipedia, the dish is traditionally cooked with a suckling pig, acidic citrus juice, and annatto seed or achiote seed (for colouring), and then roasted while wrapped in a banana leaf. This delicacy is enjoyed in tacos or sandwiches, garnished with pickled onions and the traditional Habanero salsa, one of the hottest peppers in the world.

For the ingredients, we went shopping in Kensington Market since there is a good variety of local shops.

  • Pork butt was bought at the local butcher, Sanagan’s Meat Locker(we also got some thick cut bacon for breakfast. Really, who can resist bacon?!?)
  • Veggies, lemons, and garlic – Augusta Fruit Market (65 Nassau Street)
  • Spices and habenero peppers – Emporium Latino (243 Augusta Avenue)

Since we were walking around, we also picked up some fresh coffee beans at Casa Acoreana (235 Augusta Avenue) and some chorizo arepas and churros for lunch.


Chorizo arepa, doesn’t that look delicious?

I digress. Back to cooking. The prep work wasn’t too hard. I put the BF on pork butt duty and I took care of cutting veggies and mixing the marinade together. Here’s the handsome butcher:

Handsome butcher

We mixed the veggies with oil and the steak spice from a steak taco recipe. As for the pork butt, it was cut into cubes and marinated with:

  • 5 tbsp annatto/achiote powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2 habanero chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • Splash tequila

When mixed with the meat, it looked really bloody but smelled so good! We let it sit in the fridge for an hour before putting it in the oven. Last time we made it, we did wrap it with banana leaves but found no use for the huge package so this time, we’re just cooking it with tin foil.

The pibil was served with brown rice (cooked with some dried cilantro and lime juice) and pan grilled veggies. I’m so happy with the way things turned out this week 🙂

The result

The result

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