Puerco pibil, cooling in the pan after cooking.
Cochinita pibil (also puerco pibil or cochinita con achiote) is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península of Mayan origin. Preparation of traditional cochinita or puerco pibil involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, coloring it with annatto seed, and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in banana leaf.
Cochinita means baby pig, so true cochinita pibil involves roasting a whole suckling pig. Alternatively, pork shoulder (butt roast), or pork loin is used in many recipes. The high acid content of the marinade and the slow cooking time tenderizes the meat, allowing otherwise tough pieces of meat to be used. The Yucatecan recipes always employ the juice of Seville or bitter oranges for marinating. In areas where bitter oranges are not common, juice of sweet oranges combined with lemons, limes, or vinegar are employed to approximate the effect of the bitter orange on the meat. Another important ingredient in all pibil recipes is achiote (annatto), which gives the meat its characteristic color and adds to flavor.
Traditionally, cochinita pibil was buried in a pit with a fire at the bottom to roast it. The Mayan word pibil means "buried".
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