Puerco Pibil

Who’s seen the movie, ‘Once Upon a Time in New Mexico’?

Well, Johnny Depp’s character orders the classic Mexican dish, puerco pibil, and claims that it was so good that after he finishes he will shoot the chef to maintain the balance.

Ha anyway, a buddy and I got our hands on a recipe that was so good that we are lucky no one has come after us yet. It smells AMAZING!

Traditional served over rice but I make them into tacos too.

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  • 5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons annato seeds (also called achiote seeds, can be found at most latin markets)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 2 habanero peppers, fresh with seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 lemons
  • 1 shot of tequila (optional)
  • banana leaves (optional), also can be found frozen or fresh at latin or specialty stores


  1. Grind the annato seeds, cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, and whole allspice in a coffee grinder (works best), spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  2. In a blender, puree the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.
  3. Add the dry spices with the liquid.
  4. Add the juice of 5 lemons and a nice splash of tequila.
  5. Place the cubed pork butt in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Soak 4-6 hours, in refrigerator, turning several times.
  6. Line a large baking pan or Dutch oven with banana leaves. Pour in pork along with the marinade. Cover with Banana leaves and seal the pan with foil. Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 3 hours or until pork is fork tender. Shred lightly if desired.
  7. Serve over rice with lime wedges on the side.