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Mayan Pibil Pork

3 tablespoons achiote powder (ground annatto seeds)
8 bay leaves, crumbled
3 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 t kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 clove chopped garlic
2 T ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
2 t adobo
1 T olive oil
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vinegar
4 pound pork butt

banana leaves
2 white onions, sliced
5 tomatoes, sliced
4 Anaheim chiles

Mix everything but the last 4 items together, rub it into the meat,
and let marinate as long as you can stand it (at least overnight).

BBQ pork over indirect heat, occasionally basting with orange juice,
until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F.

Brown the onions and chiles. Add the tomatoes and cook together
until they are warm.

Line a large dutch oven with one layer of the banana leaves and
put down a layer of the onions, tomatoes, and chile mixture. Put
the meat on top of this and top with the rest of the mixture.
Cover with more banana leaves.

Bake in a 350F oven for 1 1/2-2 hours until the pork is falling
off the bone.

Shred the meat, put the veggies on the side and serve with tortillas
and Negro Modelo.


Bbq'ing is not traditional for this dish. Usually it is either
grilled or done Pibil-style in a stone pit. But I wanted some
smoke flavor and for the meat to develop a "bark" around it.
Bbq'ing "low and slow" did both of these and helped to render out
a lot of the fat. I used lump char wood and a little oak for

The banana leaves give the dish an unique, earthy flavor. They
also hold in a lot of heat and steam, so it's almost like braising
the meat. It was really worth the extra effort to find them and
just finishing the dish in just a regular dutch oven would not have
been as good. I'm sure that you could also wrap the butt in the
leaves and (maybe) foil and continue the cooking right on the Bbq.

The dish needed more garlic, cumin, and salt. I'd say at least 3
cloves of garlic, 1T of cumin and a 1T of salt.

The marinade ended up too thick and tended to burn on the Bbq.
I'd up the orange juice to 2 cups and add 1T of lime juice as well.
With a thinner marinade, I'd also leave the butt on the Bbq a little
longer, maybe 170 or 180 degrees. Not quite to the point where
it's falling off the bone, but close.


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