Recipe courtesy of Guisados

Guisados Cochinita Pibil Tacos

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 40 min (includes pickling time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 20 to 25 generous servings
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2 large banana leaves, defrosted if frozen

2 cups bitter orange juice, such as Goya Bitter Orange, or 1 cup orange juice mixed with 1 cup grapefruit juice 

1 cup achiote paste (see Cook's Note)

1 tablespoon ground pepper 


3 pounds boneless pork loin or pork shoulder, cut in pieces 

1/2 cup olive oil or lard 

1 large red onion, sliced 

3 to 4 bay leaves 

1 tablespoon dried marjoram 

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme 

20 to 25 corn tortillas, warmed for serving

Habanero sauce, for serving

Pickled Onions:

3/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon sugar 

2 firm red onions 


Special equipment:
a turkey-size oven bag or foil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the pork: Roast the banana leaves over a medium-high stovetop flame until the color changes and the leaves become shinier and just pliable. Do not let them burn.
  3. In a blender, mix the bitter orange juice with the Achiote paste and pepper. Add a palm of salt.
  4. Place the pork on the leaves, put the leaves in the oven bag and place in a roasting pan. Alternatively, place the pork in foil in a roasting pan. Pour the achiote mixture into the bag, dispersing it over all the meat. Add the oil or lard to add flavor. Add the onion, bay leaves, marjoram, oregano and thyme. Fold the banana leaves over the pork. Close the oven bag and cut 3 to 4 holes. If using foil, wrap tightly. Add 1 1/2 cups water to the roasting pan to create a steaming effect. Bake 2 1/2 hours, adding more water to the pan if needed.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and uncover the meat: It should be tender. If it isn't, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
  6. For the onions: Meanwhile, bring 2 to 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a sealable container and stir to dissolve.
  7. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Place the onions in a strainer in the sink. Slowly pour the boiling water over the onions and let them drain. Add the onions to the container and stir, or shake if sealed, to evenly distribute the flavorings. The onions will be ready in about 30 minutes, but are better after a few hours.
  8. To serve, shred the pork and serve with the warm tortillas, pickled onions and habanero sauce.

Cook’s Note

Achiote paste is made from a blend of spices and is popular in regional Mexican cuisine. You can find it in many carnicerias or the Latin aisle of the supermarket.