Mexico /Feb 22, 2024

Cochinita Pibil

If you’re visiting Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on holiday, have even a passing interest in local cuisine and eat meat, then Cochinita Pibil should be right at the top of your wish-list.

Cochinita Pibil

This delicious, slow-cook pork dish is a traditional Mayan recipe that pre-dates the arrival of the Spanish.

Cochinita means baby-pig so a truly authentic Cochinita Pibil requires a whole suckling pig. In many restaurants however, this is substituted for a more practical pork shoulder or pork loin.

The Pibil part of the dish refers to the Piib (in Mayan) or Pib (in Spanish), a traditional earth oven in which a hole is dug in the ground. The hole is filled with stones and wood before being lit and then, after the meat is added (generally wrapped in banana leaf), covered with more soil. The meat is then left to cook very slowly.

Again, this isn’t entirely practical for the vast majority of restaurants so, in many cases, what you see advertised as Cochinita Pibil is in fact pork shoulder cooked slowly in a commercial oven!

Aside from the meat and cooking method, the recipe also calls for the pork to be marinated in citrus juice, which helps to tenderise it. Also added is annatto seed (aka achiote) which is what gives the dish its distinctive colour as well as contributing to its taste.

As with many traditional Yucatan dishes, Cochinita Pibil is typically served with tortillas, refried black beans and chilies.

Traditional Yucatan Cuisine

Where to find the best Cochinita Pibil

So, you ask, where are the best places to sample the authentic dish? A few suggestions for towns which you are likely to visit on holiday include…..

MeridaMUGY (the Museum of Yucatan Gastronomy), La Tradicion, Taquería La Lupita & K’u’uk.

Izamal – Kinich El Sabor de Izamal, El Toro.

Valladolid – Atrio del Mayab, Ix Cat Ik.

To discuss your plans for a tailor made holiday to Mexico, simply give us a call during the day on 01580 764796 or drop us an email via


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