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Conchinita de Pibil

Conchinita de Pibil

Cochinita Pibil is a traditional Mexican dish originating from the Yucatán Peninsula, known for its succulent, slow-roasted, and well-seasoned pork.

Texture-wise, Cochinita Pibil features tender and juicy pork. The dish involves marinating pork, often pork shoulder or pork butt, in a flavorful blend called “achiote paste.” This paste is made from annatto seeds, vinegar, citrus juices (such as bitter orange or lime), garlic, spices (like cumin, oregano, cloves), and sometimes a splash of vinegar or tequila. The marinade infuses the meat with a vibrant reddish hue and imparts a tangy, smoky, and earthy flavor.

Traditionally, the marinated pork is wrapped in banana leaves, which help keep the meat moist during the slow-roasting process. It’s then cooked low and slow in an underground pit known as a pib or in a conventional oven until it becomes tender and succulent.

The slow cooking process breaks down the collagen in the pork, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth, fork-tender meat with a rich flavor infused from the marinade and banana leaves.

Cochinita Pibil is typically served as a taco filling, accompanied by pickled red onions (habanero onions), fresh cilantro, and warm tortillas. The dish is appreciated for its tender and flavorful pork, complemented by the tangy and aromatic marinade, making it a beloved and iconic part of Yucatecan cuisine.

Key Takeaways

  • Who This Meal Appeals To: Lovers of bold flavors and those intrigued by traditional Mexican cuisine.
  • Estimated Duration: Approximately 4-6 hours (including marinating time and slow cooking).
  • Nutrition Facts: The dish is rich in protein, with a moderate calorie count, owing to the pork and marinade ingredients.

About This Recipe

Conchinita de Pibil is a dish that beautifully marries the zest of citrus with the warmth of traditional spices. It typically involves slow-cooking marinated pork, resulting in succulent, aromatic meat that’s packed with layers of flavor. This recipe showcases the cultural heritage of Mexico, drawing inspiration from the ancient Mayan cooking method called “pibil,” a cooking technique using an earthy, underground pit oven.

Equipment Required

  • Large Bowl for Marinating
  • Ovenproof Dish or Dutch Oven
  • Aluminum Foil or Banana Leaves (for authentic cooking)
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board


  • 2-3 pounds Pork Shoulder (or Pork Butt), cubed
  • 1 cup Sour Orange Juice (or substitute with a mix of orange and lime juice)
  • ⅓ cup White Vinegar
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Achiote Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Banana Leaves or Aluminum Foil for wrapping
  • Sliced Red Onions and Habanero Peppers (for serving)


  1. Prepare the Marinade: In a large bowl, combine sour orange juice, vinegar, minced garlic, achiote paste, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and salt.
  2. Marinate the Pork: Add the cubed pork to the marinade, ensuring it’s well coated. Marinate for at least 2-4 hours, preferably overnight for richer flavors.
  3. Preheat the Oven: Set the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  4. Assemble for Cooking: Line an ovenproof dish or Dutch oven with banana leaves or aluminum foil.
  5. Cooking the Conchinita de Pibil: Place the marinated pork in the dish. Cover it with more banana leaves or aluminum foil and bake for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender and easily pulls apart.
  6. Serve: Serve the succulent pork with sliced red onions, habanero peppers, and warm tortillas.

Side Dishes

  • Traditional sides: Enjoy it with pickled onions, black beans, and rice.
  • Fresh accompaniments: Sliced avocado, tomato, and cilantro.

Storage Options

Conchinita de Pibil can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It also freezes well for longer-term storage.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • If sour orange juice is unavailable, a mix of orange and lime juice can be used.
  • Achiote paste can be substituted with a mix of paprika, vinegar, and a touch of annatto seeds.

Alternatives to This Meal

For a vegetarian alternative, consider using jackfruit or a medley of hearty vegetables marinated and cooked in a similar fashion.


Conchinita de Pibil is not just a dish; it’s a journey through the history and flavors of Mexico. Embrace the culinary adventure, revel in the vibrant colors and aromas, and create this iconic dish that brings the essence of Mexico to your table. With its blend of ancient cooking techniques and modern palates, this meal is a celebration of culture, tradition, and the joy of savoring life’s delicious moments.