December 13, 2009

Cochinita Pibil

So hear we are a few days before Christmas and I was waiting for some butter to soften when I thought... "You haven't posted anything in a while."  Partly because I haven't cooked outside much and partly because people have been ready to eat when the meal was done.  So I looked back at the photos and realized that I had taken some pics of the Pibil style pork I made this summer and never added them to the blog.  Might as well add them now.

Cochinita Pibil is a Yucatan peninsula specialty and fits right in with my love of Mexican style foods.  I took some to the waiter at our favorite place and he said it was good.  Although he added it was "Gringo Style."  I am not sure what that means, but I will live with it either way.  :)  

This dish starts with pork butt so how bad could it be.  Instead of a dry rub like barbecue it is a wet marinade made with orange juice, lime juice, onion's, garlic, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, and achiote paste.  Achiote paste is made from ground annato seeds and, trust me on this, buy it ground.  I tried to grind them in a mortar and pestle and it was much like trying to grind ball bearings.  You can find a nice brick at the Mexican grocery and it is perfect.  Roast the onions and garlic a bit and then use the blender to get it all together, put it in plastic bags with the pork, and toss in the fridge overnight.

Looks something like this...

Traditionally this pork is done in the ground, in what is called a pib,  without any smoke. It's odd for me to throw something on the smoker and not use smoke, but in this case that's what I did.  Wrapping the pork in banana leaves or aluminum foil will hold in the juices during cooking.  I suppose with all that wrapping an oven would work too.  Just like pulled pork we are looking for an internal temp of about 190 to 195. 

Here is what it looked like before it went on the cooker...

I grilled some cilantro lime butter corn on the cob...

Add tortillas, grilled onions, fresh salsa, and the wife's fresh guacamole...

... and something called Mexican chocolate pie.  I don't know why it was Mexican, but it was very tasty!

You know... the turkey at Thanksgiving was great and the ham I will prepare in a week or so will be tasty too... but I am ready for this bit of spring and summer to come back around.


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