Smoked Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita pibil, or barbecued pork, is tender, delicious, and perfect for serving in a tortilla. Smoking the meat gives this spicy recipe even more delicious flavors.

Smoked Cochinita Pibil with vegetable toppings
Photo: Andy Lyons Cameraworks LTD
Prep Time:
35 mins
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Grill Time:
4 hrs
Stand Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
35 mins


  • 1 3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed of fat

  • 1 recipe Spice Rub

  • Banana leaves or heavy-duty foil

  • 8 hickory or oak wood chunks

  • Corn tortillas

  • Guacamole, salsa, thinly sliced red onions, radishes, and pickled peppers (optional)

Spice Rub

  • 2 teaspoon ground ancho or pasilla chile pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or oregano, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

  • 2 tablespoon orange juice

  • 1 tablespoon achiote paste

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Using a small knife, make small slits all over the roast. Wearing plastic or rubber gloves, rub the Spice Rub evenly over the roast. Wrap roast in plastic wrap or place it in a resealable plastic bag; place in a shallow dish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. Soak banana leaves (if using) in water at least 1 hour before smoking.

  3. Remove plastic wrap from pork or remove pork from bag. Wrap roast in banana leaves or foil. If using banana leaves, secure leaves with 100-percent-cotton kitchen string and place pork on a sheet of heavy foil; fold up tightly around roast.

  4. In a smoker arrange preheated coals, wood chunks, and water pan according to manufacturer's directions. Pour water into pan. Place wrapped roast on the grill rack over water pan. Cover; smoke at 225°F to 275°F about 4 hours or until very tender, adding additional coals and water as needed to maintain temperature and moisture.

  5. Let wrapped meat stand 30 minutes. Unwrap and shred or chop meat, reserving juices. Skim fat from the reserved cooking juices. Serve meat with tortillas and the reserved cooking juices. If desired, serve with guacamole, salsa, red onions, cilantro, and/or lime wedges.

Spice Rub

  1. In a small bowl combine ancho or pasilla chile pepper, salt, oregano, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir in orange juice, achiote paste, garlic, lime juice, and vegetable oil until a paste forms.

Indirect Grilling Directions

Prepare as drected through Step 3. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals on one side of the grill; arrange a drip pan on the other side of the grill. Test for medium heat above pan. Place the wood chunks on briquettes. Place pork on grill rack over pan. Cover and grill 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is very tender, adding additional wood chunks to the briquettes every 45 minutes. If needed, add additional coals to maintain a steady temperature inside the grill. Remove pork from grill; let stand 10 minutes before serving. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect grilling. Add soaked wood chips to grill according to manufacturer's directions. Place pork in a roasting pan on a rack. Place pan on a rack over the burner that is off. Cover and grill as directed.)

Roasting Directiions

Omit wood chunks. Prepare as directed through Step 3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place wrapped meat on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover with foil. Roast about 4 hours hours or until meat is very tender.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

249 Calories
9g Fat
13g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 249
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 358mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 2.2mg 12%
Potassium 448mg 10%
Folate, total 3.1mcg
Vitamin B-12 1mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.7mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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