DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Slow Cooker Cochinita Pibil

Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 9 hrs | Total: 1 day | Servings:8

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I have a weird fascination with Cochinita Pibil (Buried Baby Pig). This is a near ancient dish, harking from the Mayan people in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. If you've never had it, stop what you're doing, start making some calls and track down the ingredients. There are only two truly odd ones (achiote paste and banana leaves), with only one being an absolute must (the achiote).

If I had to compare it to something, it most closely resembles BBQ Pork from the Eastern part of North Carolina. It's a somewhat spicy and tart flavor. Recipes vary, but it's usually a shredded pork, with sour orange, and achiote pasta (a paste made from the annatto seed). It's easily one of my favorite things on this planet.


Pork was introduced to the Mayans by the Spaniards, hundreds of years ago. They Mayans would take whole baby pigs, marinate them in indigenous herbs, spices, citrus and achiote for a night or a day. Then, they would make a fire at the bottom of a pit, wrap the pork in banana leaves, then bury the whole package underground where it would slowly cook, as the acid from the citrus continued to break down the tough meat.

Seeing as I've lived about 25% of my life in Mexico, I like to be culturally sensitive, as often as possible. This mind blowing and historic Mexican recipe can only be described as "El Yummo!" ;)

Y es chingon, también!

Note: We're going to substitute a crock pot for a hole in the ground. We're also going to substitute a pork shoulder (Boston Butt) for a suckling pig. Finally, if you cannot find banana leaves (often found in both Latin and/or Asian markets), you can go without, but the achiote paste is a must!

Photo Note: Final photo taken with pickled onions and cheddar taco shells.
Slow Cooker Cochinita PibilSlow Cooker Cochinita PibilSlow Cooker Cochinita Pibil

IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1 each (140g)  orange6900183015
1 3.5 oz box (about 1/3 cup) (100g)  achiote paste (Buy Now) 1852.553513.13021.87
2 each (26.66g)  jalepeno chillies, seeds removed8.16.361.58.7400.84
2 tsp (4g)  cumin seed, ground15.8801.76.4401.32
1 tsp (2g)  coriander seed, ground5.
1 tsp (2g)  cinnamon, ground4.
1/2 tsp (1g)  cloves, ground3.
1/2 bunch (50g)  cilantro, washed and stems removed11.
12 each (36g)  garlic cloves, sliced into 1/8th inch thick "chips"4800120012
1/2 cup (122g)  lime juice, freshly squeezed30.520.5210.52.52010
1 each (2724g)  pork butt, bone-in (also known as "shoulder" or "boston butt" ... about 5 to 6 lbs)64204924680000
3 each (112g)  banana leaves (optional, but recommended) (Buy Now) 0000000
salt and pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 8 Servings):6801.15496.39g475.35g84.06g21.52g0g62.54g
Per Serving:850.1462.05g59.42g10.51g2.69g0g7.82g *


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  1. With a vegetable peeler, peel 6 nice strips of JUST the outer orange rind, trying not to get any of the white pith. The strips should be about ¾-inch by 3 inches. Set aside. Juice the orange and set aside. Discard the rest of the orange.
  2. In a blender, combine orange juice, rind, achiote paste, lime juice, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
  3. With a paring knife, or a sharpening steel, deeply puncture the pork, repeatedly, making 20 to 30 deep holes around the entire surface of the meat.
  4. In a large bowl or storage container with a lid, liberally rub the achiote mixture from the blender all over the outside of the pork, pushing some into the holes of the pork, as well. Pour any remaining marinade over the top of the pork. Cover and refrigerate over night.
  5. Highly suggested, but optional step: You will want 3 nice clean and un-cracked sections of banana leaves about 1 ½ feet by 3 feet in length. Line the inside of your slow cooker with banana leaves, making sure that large flaps hang over the outside of the crock pot.
  6. Place the pork in the slow cooker, and pour the marinade over the top of the pork. If you used banana leaves, wrap the flaps over the top of the pork, to completely cover it, making a nice tidy little package.
  7. Turn the cooker to low and cook for 8 to 9 hours.
  8. When the meat can be easily shredded with a fork, remove it from the crock pot and shred. Add enough of the remaining juice to keep it nice and moist.
  9. (Optional step: I LOVE the juice at the bottom. Many simply discard it, at this point, but I will put it in a pan and slowly reduce it until it's like a thin BBQ sauce. Then, I drizzle it over the top of my meat. With the pickled onions and some salsa ... it's FANTASTIC!)
  10. Serve!

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Post a Comment

Posted by DJ on Apr 22, 2014, 12:47 PM EST
Outstanding, Defessa! Anyone that stumbles on this little recipe and makes it is really in for a super treat! Using this for a Cinco de Mayo birthday is appropriate, as well! (interestingly my brother's birthday is also May 5th). Tell your husband I said "Feliz Cumpleaños!" :)
Posted by Defessa on Apr 22, 2014, 12:31 PM EST
Thanks for this recipe! My husband gives up meat every year for lent, so for Easter I try to find an interesting way of cooking a pork roast. He said that this one was his favorite one yet, and he's requested it again for his Cinco de Mayo birthday. The flavor is wonderful, the orange flavor and the cinnamon add some interesting notes. Slow cooking renders the meat tender and juicy. Reducing the cooking juices and using the sauce was a nice touch; my teens loved that. I made a couple of changes; the first was to use only one jalapeno--although it was a big one. The second change was to use a slow cooker bag instead of banana leaves; our trees haven't got big enough leaves yet!
Posted by DJ on Apr 08, 2014, 04:57 PM EST
Hi Unknown, I've honestly never used a pressure cooker. My VERY basic understanding is that it's essentially something like a fast slow-cooker. I strongly suspect that this would be a great recipe for such a device, but I couldn't even begin to suggest how it would work. Once you start using it, I'm sure it will become clear how to convert a recipe like this to your needs, but ... because I've never used one, I hesitate to make any comments. Sorry!
Posted by Unknown on Apr 08, 2014, 05:55 AM EST
I am interested in trying this in my new electric pressure cooker when it arrives next week. Your thoughts or concerns? It sounds delish.
Posted by DJ on Oct 29, 2013, 07:41 PM EST
Hi Liese, at its core, it's gluten-free. However, if you're celiac, it might be worth a call to the company to verify that it's processed in a gluten-free factory. Here's some info I got from the company website ... "Yes, it is gluten-free but does contain corn products such as corn flour and corn meal; celiac's with allergies to corn should probably consult their physician before using Achiote. Traditionally, gluten is defined as a cohesive, elastic protein that is left behind after starch is washed away from wheat flour dough. Only wheat is considered to have true gluten; when celiac patients talk about "gluten-free" or a "gluten-free diet," they are actually talking about food or a diet free of the harmful peptides from wheat, rye, barley, and (possibly) oats." I hope this helps!
Posted by Liese on Oct 29, 2013, 06:23 PM EST
Is the Anchiote paste gluten free?
Posted by DJ on Aug 27, 2013, 03:42 PM EST
Hi Jean B! I wouldn’t say I’m putting MOST of my efforts on Facebook. I tried sending daily emails and updates through my email list and people cancelled left and right. People seem to be fussy about their email, whereas Facebook REWARDS constant activity. It’s a vehicle that suits a more constant and fluid interaction than my website does. It’s not that I’m putting most of my efforts there, it’s just that it’s a different aspect of my world, and one in which I feel has a greater impact on the whole. It’s tough to explain! That said, I encourage you to get a Facebook account to see! I personally never signed up for it, because it seemed strange and I didn’t want to get into that whole social networking world, but … now that I’m a part of it, I completely understand why it’s so successful! You can sign up under a fake name and just use that account to sign up for pages like mine that focus on Food. I’m sure there are pages on culinary history, as well! Sign up for those! In that way, you’re just using it in a manner similar to a News Feed, as opposed to TRUE social networking. It’s anonymous and you benefit from the constant daily stream of people trying to post interesting, entertaining, informative and engaging things! Just a thought … Thanks for the kind words, as usual! Finally … if you post your email address in the box, it doesn’t get shared. In fact, it doesn’t even get saved by the system. It just allows me to reply directly to your comment, in this one instance. I remember you fondly! I’m sorry our banter broke down, but you’re correct! Busy busy busy!
Posted by Jean B. on Aug 22, 2013, 08:13 PM EST
First, I am very psyched to see the recipe for conchinita pibil, which I have intended to try cooking for many years. You may even have inspired me to get my unused slow cooker out of its box! Second, as much as I love you and your recipes, I am NOT joining Facebook. I am really bummed that you are putting most of your efforts there. Your recipes rock! I am not sure whether my email address shows up in the comments area, so I am not including that. We have corresponded a bit in the past, but I am a lousy correspondent, and you are increasingly busy.