Cochinita Pibil Tacos

June 28, 2017

cochinita pibil tacos

Watch your back, carnitas: cochinita pibil is about to take over the world as the greatest pig-based taco filling around. OK, OK—we still love you, carnitas (and chorizo, and all the rest of you). But cochinita pibil is our favorite taco filling to cook; an overnight marinade in rich achiote paste, citrus juices and vinegar makes for a tangy, deeply spiced flavor profile. It also gives the pork a vivid red color, thanks to annatto seeds, which form the base of the achiote paste. After marinating the pork shoulder, we cook it low and slow in the oven. The best part is that, come party time, all you need to do is shred the meat and serve alongside quick-pickled red onions. Upgrade your taco game with the recipe from our book, Host.

Cochinita Pibil Tacos
Makes 10 servings

For The Marinade
2 tablespoons achiote paste
1 cup fresh orange juice
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. In a large nonreactive bowl or container (large enough to fit the pork), combine the achiote paste, orange and lime juices, garlic, oregano and cumin.
  2. Whisk until blended.
For The Pork
2 to 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 medium yellow onions, quartered
1⁄2 cup water
  1. Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the pork in the container with the marinade and rotate, coating every side. Massage the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  4. On the bottom of a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, scatter the onion segments in a single layer.
  5. Place the pork on top of the onions, add the water and leftover marinade and cover.
  6. Place the pot in the oven and braise the pork until tender and easy to shred with a fork, about 3 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and shred the meat in the Dutch oven.
For The Picked Onions
11⁄2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  1. While the pork is braising, make the onions.
  2. In a small pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour mixture over sliced onions in a heat-proof container, cover and refrigerate until well chilled (these can be made the night before).

Serve the pork in its pan juices with the onions, tortillas, salsas and fresh herbs on the side.

pork tacos