Cochinita Pibil (Yucatán-Style Barbecued Lamb Belly)



Lamb Belly


20 pounds American Lamb Belly (ribs)

2 banana leaves (toasted)

Braising Liquid (per hotel pan)

30 grams black pepper

20 grams coriander

10 grams cassia

30 grams liquid smoke

1 pint manteca

12 grams avocado leaf

30 grams Mexican oregano

130 grams charred black roasted garlic

130 grams chicken bouillon

3 quarts water

2 pieces brûléed onion

2 halved sour oranges (naranja agria)

1 cup recado rojo

5 bay leaves

2 halved jalapeños

Achiote Marinade

6 tablespoons achiote powder or ground annatto seeds

2 tablespoons dried oregano or marjoram

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons kosher salt

14 large garlic cloves

2 teaspoons ground allspice

Pickled Red Onions/Cherries

2 medium-sized red onions or white onions (or substitute 1 pint pitted Bing      cherries)

1 cup sour orange juice

2 cups lime juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Finely grated orange zest to taste

4 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano


Prepare the Marinade

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the marinade over the American Lamb belly, ensuring it is fully coated. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the meat in the marinade every hour or two.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325°F.

Line a large baking dish with banana leaves, leaving enough hanging over the sides to wrap the lamb belly completely.

Pour any excess marinade over the lamb belly. Wrap the lamb tightly in the banana leaves. Add 2 cups of water to the baking dish. Bake for 3-4 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

Once the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Unwrap the lamb, shred the meat, and season to taste, adding any roasting juices as needed.

Optional: Pressing the Meat

Press the shredded meat into a terrine lined with parchment paper. Place weights on top and refrigerate overnight.

Portion the pressed lamb meat into triangles.

Sear the meat and garnish with the pickled onions or cherries.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.

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