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Puerco Pibil

Puerco Pibil: A Yucatán Delicacy

Journey into the vibrant flavors of Yucatán with Puerco Pibil, a traditional Mexican dish that encapsulates the essence of the region.

This aromatic and savory dish features marinated pork, slow-cooked to perfection, and wrapped in banana leaves for a unique infusion of flavors. Get ready to savor the rich taste of a Yucatecan classic with this Puerco Pibil recipe.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this dish appeals to: Those seeking an authentic taste of Yucatecan cuisine, pork enthusiasts, individuals who appreciate slow-cooked and flavorful meats.
  • Estimated duration: A flavorful adventure that takes approximately 4-6 hours, including marination and slow cooking.
  • Nutrition facts: A protein-packed dish featuring the succulence of slow-cooked pork.

About this Recipe

Puerco Pibil is a dish deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of the Yucatán Peninsula. This recipe provides a step-by-step guide to marinating and slow-cooking pork to perfection, ensuring you capture the distinctive flavors of this regional delicacy.


For the Achiote Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt to taste

For the Puerco Pibil:

  • 2-3 pounds pork butt or shoulder, cut into chunks
  • Banana leaves, for wrapping
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 habanero peppers, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste


Making the Achiote Marinade:

  1. Prepare Achiote Paste:
  • In a blender or mortar and pestle, combine achiote paste, orange juice, white vinegar, minced garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and salt.
  • Blend or grind until you have a smooth, vibrant red marinade.

Marinating the Pork:

  1. Coat Pork in Achiote Marinade:
  • Place the pork chunks in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag.
  • Coat the pork thoroughly with the achiote marinade, ensuring each piece is well covered.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours, preferably overnight.

Preparing Banana Leaves and Assembling:

  1. Soften Banana Leaves:
  • Pass banana leaves briefly over an open flame or hot stove burner to soften them.
  • Cut the leaves into large squares.
  1. Assemble Puerco Pibil Packets:
  • Place a portion of marinated pork, habanero peppers, sliced red onion, and minced garlic on each banana leaf square.
  • Pour orange juice and white vinegar over the pork.
  • Fold the banana leaves to create secure packets, tying with kitchen twine if necessary.

Cooking Puerco Pibil:

  1. Steam or Bake:
  • Steam the banana leaf packets in a steamer or bake them in a preheated oven at 325°F (163°C) for 3-4 hours or until the pork is tender and cooked through.

Serving Puerco Pibil:

  1. Unwrap and Enjoy:
  • Carefully open the banana leaf packets.
  • Serve the Puerco Pibil with your choice of side dishes, such as rice, black beans, or tortillas.

Serving Suggestions

  • Top with pickled red onions or habanero salsa for an extra kick.
  • Serve with a side of guacamole or sliced avocado to balance the richness.
  • Pair with a refreshing agua de jamaica (hibiscus tea) to complement the flavors.

Storage Options

Puerco Pibil can be refrigerated for up to three days, allowing the flavors to meld further. Reheat in the oven or on the stovetop for a delightful encore.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Achiote Paste: If achiote paste is unavailable, substitute with achiote powder mixed with a bit of olive oil.
  • Banana Leaves: If fresh banana leaves are not accessible, parchment paper or aluminum foil can be used as an alternative.

Alternatives to this Dish

Explore variations by using different cuts of pork or experimenting with additional spices and herbs in the marinade for a personalized touch to your Puerco Pibil. Alternatively, you could try these similar dishes:

  • Tamales de Cazuela: Tamales served in a cazuela (pot), typically with a flavorful sauce or broth


Puerco Pibil is a celebration of Yucatecan flavors, bringing together the richness of achiote-marinated pork and the aromatic infusion of banana leaves. As you unwrap the layers of this culinary masterpiece, you’ll discover the depth and complexity that make Puerco Pibil a cherished dish from the heart of the Yucatán. ¡Buen provecho!