Latin Recipe of the Week: Puerco Pibil

Puerco pibil, or cochinita pibil, is a slow-roasted pork dish. Cochinita (small pig) pibil (to bury) literally translates to ‘buried whole suckling pig’. Traditionally, you should marinate the pork in the same manner as described but cook the whole pig wrapped in banana leaves underground with fire wood and hot stones for hours until tender. Recipe courtesy of Flavors of Belize: The Cookbook and Chef Sean Kuylen.

Puerco Pibil
Flavors of Belize: The Cookbook
Country of Origin

5 pound pork shoulder or pork leg, bone in

1 head garlic

1½ tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1½ teaspoons allspice

1½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons red recado, diluted to form paste

½ cup sour orange juice

2 medium onions, quartered

2 medium green bell peppers, quartered

¼ cup cilantro, minced

Smoked banana leaves


Preheat oven to 325°F. Pierce pork with knife and insert garlic cloves all around.

Mix all dry ingredients; combine with recado, diluted in orange juice and coat pork. Marinate overnight. Place pork in large roasting pan lined with banana leaves.  

Add  onion,  sweet   pepper and  place  cilantro  on  top. Pour remaining marinade liquid and add more water to pan to approximately 1 inch high. Cover with banana leaves and seal tightly with foil. Bake for 5 hours or until meat is very tender and starts to release from the bone.

Shred pork and serve on warm corn tortillas topped with pickled red onions or habanero salsa.

Can also be cooked in a slow cooker, on low, for 12 hours, or on high for 6 hours.