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Slow-Cooked Achiote Pork

Prep Time:30 Minutes
Cook Time:4 Hours

Nutritional Information

Based on cochinita pibil this pork shoulder recipe has a lot of flavor.


  • 1.25 oz achiote
  • .75 cup lime juice (divided use)
  • Salt
  • .5 lb. banana leaves, defrosted if frozen (optional)
  • 3 lb. bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • 1 ea white onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 ea red onion, thinly sliced
  • .5 cup hot sauce
  • 48 ea corn tortillas
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • 1. Place the half package of achiote seasoning in a small bowl, pour in ½ cup of the lime juice and 2 teaspoons salt, then use the back of a spoon to work the two together into a smooth, thickish marinade.
  • 2. If you have banana leaves, cut 2 2-foot sections and use them to line a slow-cooker—lay one down the length, the other across the width. Lay in the meat and pour the marinade over and around the roast. Scatter the white onion over the meat.
  • 3. Fold up the banana leaves to roughly cover everything. This can be done the day ahead. Preheat the Egg to 250ºF with platesetter for indirect heat. Place on Egg and cook until internal temperature is 180ºF about 4-5 hours.
  • 4. While the meat is cooking, combine the red onion with the remaining ¼ cup of the lime juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon salt, toss and set aside to marinate, stirring from time to time.
  • 5. Use tongs to transfer the meat and onions to dinner plates. Spoon off any rendered fat that’s floating over the juices. If there is a lot of brothy sauce—two cups or more—tip or ladle it into a saucepan and boil it down to about one cup. Taste the sauce and season with salt if you think it needs it, then spoon it over the meat. Top with the lime-marinated red onions and serve with salsa or hot sauce—and plenty of hot tortillas for making tacos.
  • 6. A Few Riffs on Cochinita Pibil: The most common variation on cochinita pibil in Mexico is with chicken. You can simply replace the pork, pound for pound with chicken thighs; pulling off the skin before cooking will mean less fat to spoon off at the end (the broth won’t be quite as rich, however). The chicken breast version is a little more involved: Marinate bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in the achiote. Brown them in oil in a large skillet over medium-high; remove them to a baking pan lined with the optional banana leaves. Add the optional onion to the skillet and cook quickly until brown but crunchy; strew over the breasts. If using the chile, roast, peel, seed and slice them; strew over the onions. Cover with a more banana leaves if you have them. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees until just cooked through, usually 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Though I love cochinita pibil with black beans, you can easily scatter some quartered small potatoes or cubed sweet potatoes around the meat, to soak in all the delicious flavors.

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Chef JJ’s is a unique, personal and hands-on culinary experience with a focus on kamado style cooking, corporate team building, private events and grilling classes. Indy's large party restaurant. Indianapolis, Indiana 317.602.3828