Inspired by the flavors and ingredients of Yucatán, Mexico’s iconic dish, Cochinita Pibil, this sauce flavor is uniquely sweet and sour. In honor of National Sauce Month, we’re sharing a little background on the dish and region of inspiration.
What is Pibil?
The term “Pibil” derives from the Mayan word “píib”, which means buried or cooked underground. Traditionally, Pibil is prepared by marinating pork with citrus juices and achiote (a blend of powdered annatto seeds and other spices), wrapping it in banana leaves, and roasting it underground for hours. Once the pork is tender and has a subtle smoky flavor, it is shredded and served in warm tortillas topped with pickled red onions and cilantro to make tacos. The prepared pork is often also served over white rice and beans, garnished with cilantro, pickled red onions, and lime wedges. Although pork is the most popular choice of meat, the Pibil cooking method can also be used to roast chicken or beef.
In the Yucatán region, the Pibil cooking method is used to roast a whole suckling pig, better known as “Cochinita Pibil”. This traditional dish is usually prepared and served at weekend family gatherings, as it serves many. Cochinita Pibil can also be found at taquerias and restaurants across the Yucatán peninsula.
Today, “Cochinita Pibil” is often prepared in a slow cooker or oven using the same mix of spices and citrus. While the preparation methods have variations, the key to Pibil is a slow cooking process that results in a meat that is succulent and a perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Where is Yucatán, Mexico?
Located in south-eastern Mexico, Yucatán is one of the three states that make up the Yucatán peninsula. The region lacks the mountainous terrain that covers most of Mexico and instead is mainly made of limestone rocks and a thin layer of dry soil created from weathered coral rocks. The absence of mountain ranges, results in a climate that is hot and humid with little rainfall. The state is perhaps best known for its beautiful coasts and Mayan ruins (Chichén Itzá), which attract tourism year-round.
Beyond the state of Yucatán and into the Yucatán peninsula, the Mayan agricultural method known as “Milpa” is still practiced by some today. The Milpa is a field that is cleared through the cutting and burning of forest and then used to grow beans, chiles, corn, and squash. The crops rely on the region’s rainfall and sunshine, rather than irrigation. The Milpa cycle calls for two years of cultivation followed by eight years of fallow to allow the field to naturally regenerate.
Yucatecan cuisine is influenced by the ingredients and cooking techniques used by the Maya people, as well as the Europeans who arrived at the peninsula’s ports. This unique combination of influences, resulted in a type of cuisine found in no other part of Mexico. While Cochinita Pibil may be the most popular state-dish, the region is also known for queso relleno (stuffed cheese), panuchos (fried stuffed tortillas), and sopa de lima (lime soup).
How can I use Pibil One Pot Simmer Sauce?
A combination of aromatic spices, bright citrus flavors, and achiote powder come together in SALSAOLOGY Pibil One Pot Simmer Sauce. Cook perfectly tender and flavorful Cochinita Pibil by adding sauce to pork in a pressure cooker, slower cooker, or conventional oven. For a vegetarian and vegan-friendly version of this classic dish, replace pork with shredded jackfruit. Enjoy the prepared filling in tacos topped with pickled onions and cilantro or serve with rice and beans— dinner is served! Click here for recipes.