Friday, May 27, 2016

Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork – Surrounded on Three Sides by Flavor

If the early feedback from the YouTube channel is any indication, this may not actually be “Yucatan-style,” and I couldn’t be less surprised.  I did no real research into the traditional foods of the Yucatan peninsula, and based the name of this dish solely on a pork chop I once enjoyed at a sports bar.

They called it “Yucatan-style,” and it featured vibrant citrus/chile flavors, as well as a beautiful orange hue, which I figured out was from ground annatto. This is the signature ingredient in the famous braised pork dish, cochonita pibil, and can be found at any Latin market, or your larger, fancier grocery stores.

As I mention in the video, I think this easy marinade would work on all kinds of pork cuts, but the tenderloin is very user-friendly, and it’s mild flavor really takes to these ingredients. I think 4 to 6 hours is plenty of time to marinade the meat, but I’m guessing that overnight would probably be fine as well.

Once grilled, you have so many options for enjoying these. Sandwiches, salads, and tacos are all wonderful choices, and I’ve also heard from a reliable source that diced, they make for an epic pan of nachos. This weekend is the official start of summer grilling season, and what better way to kick it off than this tasty, possibly Yucatanian treat? I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 to 6 portions:
2 whole pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 oranges
2 or 3 lemons
2 or 3 limes
6 cloves minced garlic
1 rounded teaspoon annatto powder, plus more to sprinkle on before grilling
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil before grilling

- I garnished with cilantro, and pickled onions. To make your own, thinly slice some red onions, and cover them with red or white wine vinegar. Leave to soak for 4 hours or overnight, and that's it


Luccien Fitzpatric said...


Bone Saw said...

It's true- this is not particularly 'authentic' at all. That said, grilled pork marinated in citrus, chili, and annatto will always be delicious, so no big deal. I would hesitate to attach the term "Yucatan style" to it though.

Conveniently enough, seriouseats posted a more 'authentic' version of cochinita pibil/Yucatan grilled pork today too, not to mention there are quite a few other versions of the dish floating around online.

Carlos Kattan said...

Although the recipe uses non traditional ingredients, this is a poc chuc.
If you're ever in Los Angeles, check out Chichen Itza and try their amazing Yucatan food.

Steve Kennedy said...

You should consider a pellet grill. They adjust from 180 to 500 and they hold temp better than my oven. You have a small local family so a Lil Trager or a Mini Rec-Tec would fit your needs. I am having a love affair with mine. Stuff as simple as a hamburger can be put on the thing at 180 degrees where it produces a ton of smoke. Give it 30 min. then pull them off and punch the heat up to 450 which produces no smoke, or only a trace, and grill them to perfection. You would be pleased with the flavor.
I made some sausage gravy the other day, flattened out a pound of breakfast sausage, gave it 40 minutes of smoke at 180, then brought it in the house, browned it and and made gravy. Best I ever tasted.
You should check them out, its a push button smoker and a push button grill. They will hold a Boston butt at 225 all night long and you can sleep while you produce pulled pork. You should check them out. This recipe looks like it could use a touch of smoke.

Beto Reyes said...

Chef, with all due respect, your missing a key ingredient from the Yucatan peninsula on this recipe: chile habanero. I'd recommend to put some sliced habanero along with the purple onions in the garnish.

oiacob said...

Chef John, do you still sell your Barbecue Sauce? I remember you were working on getting it in stores.

Mea Culpa said...

Where is that recipe for pickled red onions ? You do mention it in video and also tell us that you "will go over there on the blog, there is only two ingredients". Yet I can't find it.

Unknown said...

looks pretty authentic to me. use butt/shoulder instead, shred it up, and it's cochinita pibil.

PickledGinger said...

i know this has already been said, but - cochinita pibil!

Thomas Boyer said...

chef john,, love your site, recipes and the way you make your recipes fun to watch!
do you have a cook book? and where can i buy it.
thanks tom boyer

Chef John said...

Red onion info is under the ingredients! :)

Michele Manfredi said...


Hi there! I'm John's wife, and yes, we still sell our sauce. Here's a link! Enjoy!

Daryl said...

Chef John, another amazing recipe, but why can't I print out your cooking instructions? Hey, you know, my computer doesn't fit on my kitchen cabinet. And it's pretty dang hard to remember everything in your video post. Maybe I am missing the print instructions somewhere? Please let me know. Thank you.

Michele Cryan said...

Am I correct in thinking this is the FIRST time we've seen both hands in the same frame?

Greg Miranda said...

@mea culpa:

From the pork chile verde recipe:

"...regarding the pickled red onions I used on top of my chili: I was going to save this for a video, but it’s so ultra simple that I’ll just tell you right now. Slice some red onions, add a pinch of salt, and cover with red wine vinegar. Leave this overnight in your fridge, and the next day you’ll be looking at one of the most gorgeous garnishes ever."

Alvis Floyd said...

HI Chef John. We have been fans of yours for about two years. one of your recipes calls for a freakishly small wooden spoon. we went out and got one. one day while using a whisk, My wife wondered if we could find a freakishly small whisk. We were able to find one. so if you wanted feature a freakishly small whisk to your repertoire we would be honored. Thank you for all the fun recipes

Alina said...

Thinly slice the red onion.
Thinly slice some habanero.
Use a bit of the citrus mix, or if you can get a hold of the authentic ingredinet (bitter orange), use it.
Add salt to taste, and a little bit of Mexican oregano, and a little bit of black pepper.

Voila! That's what I recommend you accompany this close-enough-for-me adpatation :D

Seriously, will you try it? It should look like the picture in this page: (which I googled just to find you a pic).

Alina said...

Also, you can cover it with avocado leaves and remove them afterward. It adds to the taste.

Angie M. said...

Who cares what Chef called this recipe!! My husband and I made this tonight and it's DELICIOUS. Tender pork, great flavors and the pickled onions were a perfect pairing. Thanks Chef John for another amazing recipe. You inspire us!

Jason Williams said...

Could anything be done with the leftover marinade i.e. thicken it into a sauce, as it would be such a waste to discard it?

I was thinking more in line eating it alongside a mashed potato and green veg combo.

Alex Mojcher said...

Chef John, could you tell the story about your Le Creuset gear all being white? I'm curious, did you get your first white one as a gift and then just keep it going with ones you purchased so they all match, or is it your favorite color? Either way, they look beautiful!

Jeremy said...

We tried this recipe without the Annatto (I couldn't find it at the grocery store) for Memorial Day as our first non-hamburgers and hot dogs grilled meal. It turned out excellent. I followed the directions in the video and in the recipe as best I could and everyone love it. This one goes in the summer grilling rotation for sure. Thank you!

Frank said...

Made this last night and it was nothing short of fantastic.
The bad part was I couldn't find annatto in powered form.
Wow, like trying to grind granite. Did it though.
Thanks for another good one, Chef.

Mary said...

Made this tonight for the family Sunday supper. The favors are beautiful and delicious, thank you once again. No anno available so I used paprika for color.

Patrick said...

Hey Steve Kennedy - thanks for the tip. The tabletop Trager is on my radar - it looks like the perfect combo smoker and grill for my household of two!

Chuckwagon524 said...

Could you take the marinade and make a glaze out of it, or would it be too salty? Also, what if you marinated over night?

Maryann said...

Made this yesterday and served it taco style with your puffy taco shells and spicy spanish tomato rice, just delicious. I can't thank you enough, you teach as well as you cook, amazing.

Cliff and Sherri said...

This is the most AMAZING PORK I have ever eaten not named "Bacon"!!! The flavors are INCREDIBLE! Thank you so much! This one is my favorite grill recipe along with the Beef Satay!

jhacker51 said...

Hey Chef John,

Nice recipe, looks delicious. The addition of achiote paste (the red kind, made from annatto seed), very common in the Yucatan, would be more authentic and can be purchased at any Mexican grocery store and many larger grocery stores. I buy a large amount whenever I go to Mexico. Wrapped tightly (a zip lock works well) it will last in the frig for months, maybe as much as a year.