Puerco Pibil: Recipe

I’m not one for blogging recipes, but I made one of the best meals from a great film (Once Upon A Time In Mexico) on Sunday and have since had seven different friends message me asking how to do it, as they’ve seen the film and always wanted to try it. Robert Rodriguez did add this as a DVD extra, but some of the ingredients are tricky.

El, you really must try this because it’s puerco pibil. It’s a slow-roasted pork, nothing fancy. It just happens to be my favorite, and I order it with a tequila and lime in every dive I go to in this country. And honestly, that is the best it’s ever been anywhere. In fact, it’s too good. It’s so good that when I’m finished, I’ll pay my check, walk straight into the kitchen and shoot the cook. – Agent Sands (Johnny Depp) Once Upon A Time In Mexico

Thankfully, after much scouring the depths of Google, I found substitutions for some of them and it tastes almost exactly like the real thing. As it is a bit tricky and, as I had to change the main recipe up a little, I thought I’d blog the easy peasy recipe.​Also included is a recipe for home made chunky guacamole (thanks to my brother for this one)

Ingredients: Puerco Pibil

I’ve listed the full recipe a la Rodriguez but have listed substitutions where required!
Substitutions are in bold

  • ​5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
    (I used shoulder, but that’s because that was all the shop had!)
  • 5 tablespoons annato seeds
    (substitution is 2.5tsp Paprika and 2.5tsp Turmeric)
    You can buy Annato seeds from Amazon as paprika/turmeric isn’t the exact same taste, but it’s fairly similar!
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
    (approx 1.5tsp ground allspice)
  • 2 habanero Peppers, fresh or dried, cleaned and minced (optional)
    I used habanero flakes and red chili peppers as, again, the shop didn’t have this,
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 lemons/limes
  • 1 shot of tequila
  • banana leaves (optional)
    I cooked mine in a slow cooker and (oddly) Asda didn’t sell banana leaves! 

Preparation: Puerco Pibil

  1. Grind the annato seeds, cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, and whole allspice in a mortar and pestle.
    If you’ve used substitution powdered spice, just grind the peppercorns, cloves and cumin seeds and mix together with Paprike and Turmeric.
  2. Blend the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.
    If you use habanero flakes, as above, just add these in.
  3. Mix the dry spices with the liquid.
  4. Add the juice of 5 lemons (or limes) and a nice splash of tequila.
  5. Place the cubed pork in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Soak 4-6 hours, in  a refrigerator, turning several times.
  6. Line (8×13) baking pan 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 4 hours.
    For this last stage I literally threw it all in the slow cooker and put it on low for 4 hours. Pork was so soft it all fell apart when eating. Perfect.
Below, I’ve added the video of Robert Rodriguez making this dish from the DVD Extra’s.

Ingredients: Chunky Guacamole

  • 2 Ripe avocados
  • 1 Lime (juice)
  • 1 Onion
  • Salt
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Chili Peppers – As many as you want to add for spice.
    I added one as the dish it’s accompanying was very spicy on its own.

Preparation: Chunky Guacamole

  1. Finely chop the onion, tomatoes and chili peppers and place in a bowl
  2. Juice a lime and add this to the bowl
  3. Scoop out the avocados and add them to the bowl.
  4. I like to use a wide potato masher as it keeps big chunks in there, but if you don’t want chunky guac then blend it 🙂
  5. Add salt to your taste whilst mashing/blending.
  6. Serve!

¡Ya está!

And there it is, a recipe that takes a bit of prep, but is easy to make and worth the wait. It’s one of my favourites, and if you like spicy Mexican food, you’re in for a treat. I’ll leave you with this photo of Johnny Depp eating the dish from the film, because, well… it’s Johnny Depp.
NB: Nobody was seriously hurt during the making of this recipe & no chefs were shot. I did get chili in my eye though.
Would you like to try this recipe? Have you made it before?