Slow roasted pork butt

Blame it on Salma Hayek’s breasts.

I wanted to see them so bad, I rented “Desperado”. The boobs were nice, the movie was better. So when the sequel came out, I had to see it too. On the DVD special features for “Once Upon a Time In Mexico” there’s a recipe for puerco pibil, which is slow-roasted pork marinated in spices, citrus and vinegar for the acid, and a splash of tequila. I’ve modified it a bit: I leave off the tequila, and if you’re using pre-ground spices you need to use about 25% less than the whole bits. The exact amounts of ingredients is pretty forgiving in this recipe, and substitutions are fine. Leave off the habaneros if you’re especially sensitive to spicy foods, but otherwise it doesn’t add excessive heat.

The only thing that it NOT negotiable is the annatto seed, which gives the pork its signature color. (In a pinch, you can add a couple of packets of Goya sazon.)


  • 4-5 pounds pork butt, chopped into 2-3″ cubes
  • 5 tablespoons annatto seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 cup bitter orange juice (or 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped (wear gloves!!!)
  • 1 shot of tequila (optional)
  • Banana leaves if you can find them.


Grind dry spice ingredients in a coffee grinder until fine. Place all the other ingredients except the pork and banana leaves in a blender, add the dry spice mix to the blender, and blend it on a medium high setting for about two minutes.

Put the pork butt in a large bowl or freezer bag, and pour the blended goodness over the top. Let marinate covered for 4 hours or so, up to overnight.

Line a roasting pan with banana leaves or aluminum foil, add the pork and marinade to the pan and put more banana leaves over the top. Cover tightly with foil, and bake at 325 for 4 hours.

Serve over rice, or in warmed soft tortillas.


One thought on “Slow roasted pork butt

  1. I do a very similar cuban pork in a slow cooker (although a 250F oven would work too). One orange juiced, one lime juiced, dry rubbed pork (the rub here sounds like something I’ll take some inspiration from), and cook it in the slow cooker for about 5-6 hours. Check it after 3 and pull it when the connective tissue had broken down.

    Now that I think about it, it’s pretty hard to cook pork butt or pork shoulder wrong as long as you have salt and enough time to cook it low and slow.

Dish, gurl!

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