two racks of pork ribs on baking parchment in a roasting tray with a pot of salsa

Pibil-style pork ribs

  • serves 6
  • Easy

Vibrant achiote paste is key to this recipe: its peppery and earthy flavour is perfect with pork. The marinade and the oven do all the work here, so hands-on time is minimal


Recipe extracted from Ciudad de México: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Mexico City by Edson Diaz-Fuentes (£26, Hardie Grant). Try more Mexican recipes here, and read Edson’s guide to Mexico City here.

Edson says: “Cochinita pibil is the emblematic dish of Yucatán. The whole suckling pig, known as cochinita, is doused in achiote marinade, wrapped in banana leaves and slow-roasted in a pit. Achiote paste, a mix of crushed annatto seeds and spices, has a deep, vibrant red colour and unique peppery, musky flavour that pairs beautifully with pork.”



  • pork ribs 2 x 1kg racks
  • oil for brushing


  • achiote paste 150g, crumbled
  • freshly squeezed orange juice 230ml
  • limes 1-2, juiced to make 3 tbsp
  • garlic cloves 45g, peeled
  • habanero chilli 1, trimmed
  • mexican oregano 1½ tsp


  • Step 1

    Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a blender with ¾ tsp of salt and blitz until smooth. Put the ribs in a large non-reactive dish (glass or porcelain is best), cover with the marinade and chill overnight.

  • Step 2

    Remove the ribs from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 and line a roasting tin with a piece of foil large enough to enclose the ribs. Put a large sheet of baking paper on top of the foil, then put the ribs on top. Scrape over any left-over marinade and pour over 200ml of water. Cover with a second piece of baking paper, wrap the ribs in the paper and foil, and scrunch the edges of the foil to seal.

  • Step 3

    Bake the ribs for 2 hours, then open the foil parcel and check that the meat is cooked through and falling off the bone. Turn up the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 5. Lightly brush the ribs with some oil and bake for 20 minutes more with the parcel open until the top of the meat has a slight crust.

  • Step 4

    Serve the ribs straight from the oven, with black beans and salsa on the side, if you like.

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 410
  • Fat 29.5g
  • Saturates 10g
  • Carbs 13.3g
  • Sugars 3.5g
  • Fibre 0.6g
  • Protein 22.6g
  • Salt 2.7g