Hailing from the Yucatan region of Mexico, Cochinita Pibil Tacos are the perfect balance of citrus, and garlic, and spices. The meat is cooked low and slow, resulting in tacos that practically melts in your mouth.
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I love love loooooovvve these tacos. I would say that I tried them for the first time when I lived in Mexico, but as we’ve established, I was not an adventurous eater while living there (I was 7). This dish has also been on my list of meals I’ve wanted to try for some time. It’s honestly one of my favorites. I have to try hard to not gorge myself on them, but I fail miserably every time. These are just that delicious!
Tips for Cochinita:
Traditionally, the pork is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit. I usually have neither of those things, so we make due with what we have. I forgo the banana leaves, but cook the meat slowly in a crockpot.
This dish is more commonly prepared with pork shoulder, but I make mine with a bone-in pork butt. It’s a personal preference, so choose whichever you prefer.
If you choose to make this with a pork butt, be sure to place it in the crock-pot fat side up. This allows the fat to render into the meat, keeping it from drying out.
The key to this dish is in the Achiote Paste. I cannot stress this enough, you need to have it. Many times, you can find it at traditional Latin markets or order it from Amazon. I cannot stress this enough, you cannot make cochinita without it.
The same goes for sour orange, or bitter orange as some people call it, is an essential here. It has a unique citrus tang that’s hard to replicate. I’ve attempted using bottled sour orange. It worked but was not nearly as effective as the fresh version. You can also use a combination of fresh orange and lime juice.
So switch up your next Taco Tuesday and give cochinita a try. Enjoy! 🙂
Cochinita Pibil Tacos
- Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker
- Food Processor
- 1 4-6lbs pork butt bone in, trimmed of excess fat
- ½ cup sour orange juice
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp dried oregano
- 5 tbsp achiote paste
- ½ tbsp ground cumin
- 2 serrano peppers
- 1 tsp salt
- corn tortillas to serve
- pickled onion to serve
- Place the sour orange juice, yellow onion, garlic, dried oregano, achiote paste, ground cumin, serrano peppers, and salt in a food processor. Pulse on high until a smooth paste forms.
- Soon 3 tablespoons of the paste into the bottom of the crock-pot. Place the pork butt into the crock-pot and sprinkle generously with salt. Pour the remaining paste over the top of the pork. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
- Transfer the pork to a bowl. Using two forks shred the pork removing any excess fat and the bone. Return the pork the crockpot. Serve on grilled corn tortillas and top with pickled red onions.