Puerco Pibil – Slow Roasted Pork

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Craving slow roasted pork with a ton of flavor? I have your back with this week’s recipe, Puerco Pibil – Slow Roasted Pork! Puerco is the spanish word for pig or pork. Pibil is a cooking technique that involves wrapping meat in banana leaves marinated in a sour orange and achiote sauce that’s baked in a hand-dug barbecue pit in the ground for several hours.

I first saw this recipe years ago after watching Robert Rodriguez’s Once Upon A Time In Mexico. The special features on the DVD had an excerpt entitled 10 Minute Cooking School: Puerco Pibil. I was curious to attempt the recipe years ago, but never got around to it.

Fast forward this week and I finally put the recipe together. Puerco Pibil is a simple recipe to make, yet complicated enough to impress your friends and family. The best part? You don’t need to dig a hole in your backyard to make this dish, you can use your oven to slow roast the pork instead. 🙂

Finding the ingredients is the most challenging part of this recipe. Kieran and I scoured 3 local grocery chains but couldn’t find the annato seeds and banana leaves. Kieran immediately found them at a Mexican grocery store near our house. You may find these ingredients where you shop for groceries, if not Google Mexican grocery stores in your area, they are sure to have what you’re looking for!

If you can’t find banana leaves anywhere, don’t stress. You’ll end up covering the pork with tin foil anyway so even though the banana leaves are cool, you can get by without them. However, steaming pork inside banana leaves imparts a subtle sweet flavor and aroma to the dish. So, if you can find banana leaves, use them!

Puerco Pibil calls for whole seeds like cumin, peppercorn, allspice, and cloves. This shit can be expensive if you buy all the spices in the spice aisle. I HIGHLY recommend searching for the spices in your grocery’s store bulk section first, and only buying what you need. Whole cloves can be $3 or more in the spice aisle, when I bought the whole cloves in bulk section, that shit cost me a few cents!

You’ll need a way to pulverize the spices into a fine dust. If you have an old coffee bean or spice grinder lying around, use that. If you do a half assed job grinding the spices, the dish will be gritty and annato seeds will get stuck in your teeth. Gross. Make sure the spices are finely ground.

The other gadget you’ll need to make this recipe is a blender. You might be able to get away with using a food processor if you’re sans blender, but I can’t confirm the processor will work. If you use a food processor, tell me your results!

Sorry I didn’t take a picture of the uncooked pork in the pan covered in banana leaves so you could see what it looks like. Selling my condo has been stressful. The buyer has everything they need to move forward with the sale but is threatening to back out because the condo board refuses to answer ONE question. A question they know the answer to. I broke down sobbing this morning due to the stress. I ended up leaving a tearful voice message on the building’s management company’s voicemail BEGGING them to answer the question. If this buyer backs out there’s no telling how long I’ll have to float 2 mortgage payments. I’m at the end of my rope folks. The Puerco Pibill ingredients call for tequila, let’s just say after this stressful week, I was surprised I had any tequila left over to make the recipe!

Due to the stress, it’s hard to focus so I’ve been slacking on pictures. If you watch 10 Minute Cooking School: Puerco Pibil on Youtube, Robert gives step by step video instructions.

Robert Rodriguez is the director some of my favorite movies like: Sin City (1&2), Grindhouse, Machete, and Desperado. The idea to make Puerco Pibil spawned when I re-watched Sin City. I suddenly remembered the cooking video he did as a special feature on the Once Upon A Time In Mexico DVD. I did a YouTube search for Robert Rodriguez and cooking school and found the Puerco Pibil recipe right away.

I decided to share the original recipe rather than adapt it. I have no knowledge of what annatto seeds taste like and didn’t feel like fucking up 35 dollars worth of pork by guessing which other ingredients pair well with them. I’ve been looking forward to making Puerco Pibil and wanted to share my thoughts on how the recipe turned out.

Puerco Pibil (Slow Roasted Pork)

The result? Puerco Pibil is unusual tasting but not in a bad way. Kieran loved it, but I was on the fence. Mostly because I can’t describe the taste other than it’s different than anything I’ve tried before. I eat Mexican food each week but I’m not used to flavors that derive from the Yucatan Peninsula. The experience with this particular food reminds me of my first experience with sushi. I wasn’t sure I liked sushi the first time I tried it, then suddenly my tastebuds grew accustom and then I began to crave it. That’s how I feel about Puerco Pibil if I eat enough of it, I’ll start craving it all the time.

If you enjoy slow roasted pork but want to add new flavors, it was fun trying something new, I recommend giving this recipe a try!

Thanks for stopping by,


Puerco Pibil - Slow Roasted Pork

Puerco Pibil (Slow Roasted Pork)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 5 tablespoons of whole annatto seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoons of peppercorns
  • 8 whole allspice seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of whole cloves
  • 2 habanero chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • Juice from 5 lemons
  • Splash of good tequila (optional)
  • 4 lbs of pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubesV
  • Banana leaves (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Pulverize the 5 spices (annantto, cumin, peppercorns, allspice, and cloves) into a fine powder using a spice grinder.
  • In a blender goes the chilies, orange juice, vinegar, salt, and spice powder. Blend well, the smoother the better. Now add the juice of 5 lemons and tequila to the blender. Pulse once then set aside.
  • Grab a large zip lock bag (a large bowl works too) and stuff the bag with the cubes of pork. Pour the contents from the blender over the pork. Seal up the bag and give the ingredients a good mix. Be sure the pork is well coated.
  • Line a 9×13 baking dish with banana leaves. Dump the pork on top of the leaves, then cover the pork with more banana leaves. Now wrap the top of the pan with tin foil. You don't want any steam escaping the pan, it's how the pork will be cooked!
  • Put the baking dish into the oven and slow cook for 4 hours. The meat should be extremely tender. So tender you can shred the meat with the back of a spoon. If the meat seems kind of tough, continue roasting it in the oven. Once the meat is tender shred it using two forks.
  • Serve over rice, or even in tacos!


Do not use your coffee bean grinder for the spices. Use a grinder dedicated for spices only.
Check your grocery store’s bulk section for the spices you need in this recipe, it will save you money.
Banana leaves impart a subtle flavor to this recipe, however, if you can’t find them, you can do without.
Everyone’s oven is different. If your meat is not fork tender after 4 hours, keep roasting it. The meat should be so tender you can shred it with the back of a spoon.

Calorie Breakdown:

5 tablespoons of whole annatto seeds
2 teaspoons of whole cumin seeds
1 tablespoons of peppercorns
8 whole allspice seeds
1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves
*I can’t find accurate calorie counts on the spices. I’m assuming it’s because the calorie count is minuscule on those items so I’m leaving them out.

2 habanero chiles – 15
1/2 cup orange juice – 56
1/2 cup white vinegar – 21
2 tablespoons of salt – 0
8 cloves garlic – 36
Juice from 5 lemons – 60
Splash of good tequila – 69 (per shot)
5 lbs of pork butt – 6,083

Total Calories – 6,340
6 portions – 1,057
8 portions – 792.50
10 portions – 634

*Note, I am not a nutritionist, nor am I pretending to be. I found the calorie counts by reading the nutrition labels on the food I purchased, searching Google, and using my Lose It! app on my phone.

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