Recipe courtesy of Mateo's Cocina Latina

Cochinita Pibil

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 6 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 4 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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7 ounces annatto seed paste

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar


1 small package banana leaves, enough to wrap the shoulder

4 pounds pork shoulder, bone in and skin on

2 cloves fresh garlic 

1 medium yellow onion, julienned

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

Cured Red Onions, recipe follows

Handmade Tortillas, recipe follows

Cured Red Onions:

2 large red onions

3 cups distilled vinegar

3 tablespoons salt

2 cinnamon sticks

Handmade Tortillas:

12 ounces masa fina

4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Start with the annatto seed paste and dilute it with 3 cups water, the vinegar and a bit of salt to taste. Strain the sauce through a double strainer. In a roasting pan, place the banana leaves with enough left out of the pan to wrap the pork shoulder. Then place the shoulder in the pan and pour the sauce over it. Toss in the garlic, onions and cinnamon stick and wrap the leaves over the shoulder. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 4 1/2 hours. To serve, pull the meat and let it soak up with the juices. Plate up with Cured Red Onions and Handmade Tortillas.

Cured Red Onions:

  1. Peel the onions, julienne them and then place them in a bowl. Mix the vinegar with the salt and then pour over the onions. Add the cinnamon sticks to cure. Place in the refrigerator to cure for 6 hours.

Handmade Tortillas:

  1. Place the masa in a large bowl and fold in the olive oil and salt by hand. Form into twelve 1-ounce balls and flatten with a tortilla press. Grill on the flat top or in a nonstick skillet until the tortilla raises.