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  • Puerco Pibil

    June 01, 2020 2 min read 4 Comments

    Puerco Pibil

    This recipe is one we make a lot. It’s a slow-cooked pork dish from Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Easy, spicy and full of unusual flavours. It’s basically like a Mexican pulled pork: you can serve it on rice or make sandwiches out of it. This particular recipe is adapted somewhat from one by director Robert Rodriguez, who loves this dish so much that it featured prominently in his movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

    The finished dish definitely has some heat to it, but it's a nice well-balanced heat. It really evokes the hot climate of Mexico and is great for long summer days. Of course, you can always ease up on the heat by using less habanero. And grab a nice cold beer to go with it.

    Puerco Pibil


    4-5 lbs pork butt (this is a shoulder roast, available from any good butcher)
    5 tbsp annatto seeds
    1 tbsp black peppercorns
    2 tsp cumin seeds
    ½ tsp whole cloves
    8 allspice berries
    3 dried habanero chiles
    8 cloves garlic
    2 tbsp salt
    ½ cup orange juice
    ½ cup white vinegar
    Juice of 2 lemons and 3 limes
    2 ounces tequila


    Grind spices and chiles to a powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Whiz together spices, salt, garlic and liquids in a blender.

    Two Cautions:

    1. Annatto is a natural dye, so don’t get any on your clothes and wipe up any spills quickly.
    2. Be very careful when working with habanero chiles. Don’t touch them any more than you have to. And then wash your hands. Seriously.

    Cut the pork into rough 3” cubes and put it in a large zip-lock bag. Pour in the marinade. Marinate at least 4 hours (overnight is best). Put the whole lot in a slow cooker and cook for 8-10 hours on low. When cooked, remove the pork to a large plate and shred with 2 forks, removing any remaining fat.

    Pour liquid into a saucepan and reduce on the stove by about half. Add shredded pork, stir and heat through. Serve on Mexican rice with sliced raw onions and peppers.

    Note: If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use the oven. Line a large glass baking pan with foil. Pour in meat and liquid and seal the whole pan with foil. Bake for 4 hours at 325°F. Line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch any drips.

    4 Responses


    November 29, 2019

    I made this recipe in my Instant Pot using the same quantities as they are listed, and I didn’t find it to be overly acidic or sour (I actually used pretty large lemons and limes, so maybe even more juice than normal). I cooked it on high pressure for 1 hour, and allowed for 30 minutes of slow pressure release. The results were amazing! Really fantastic over rice and in tacos. I’ll definitely be making it again.

    Tara Dixon
    Tara Dixon

    November 22, 2019

    I made the recipe in an instant pot with achiote mix and used lime x2, lemon x1, and just splash of vinegar. I agree with earlier comment about too sour. If I make again I will only use lime x2 and leave out lemon and vinegar. Perhaps recipe should head lemon OR LIME.


    August 23, 2019

    Thanks Steve, I will try this, I have an IP but no slow cooker and I need to become more adventurous with it, your comment is really helpful.

    Steve Blanchard
    Steve Blanchard

    June 17, 2019

    I made this for the first time today and am impressed with the recipe (and the spice mix). Being fundamentally lazy, I used the Achiote spice mix rather than making my own mix and I used an Instant Pot instead of the slow cooker ( the I.P. isn’t easier, just faster). I uses 10 tbsp of the achiote seasoning in place of the spices, 6 tsp of minced garlic in place of the 8 cloves, and the rest as per the ingredients in the recipe. I cooked the pork with the marinade at high pressure for 28 mins. It came out delicious, though my wife found the pork a bit too sour for her taste. Next time I make it, I’ll try using about 25% less of the lemon juice, lime juice and vinegar.

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