There’s a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in central Phoenix called Honey Bear’s which has the best pulled pork I’ve ever tasted. Here is my southwest rendition. If you don’t have a smoker, no problem. This recipe will come out just as well in your oven or slow cooker.
Control the heat with the chipotle. The achiote paste (recado colorado) marinade with citrus juice is Yucatán-Mayan inspired. They cooked pork wrapped in banana leaves buried in a pit – the dish was called Cochinita Pibil. Unfortunately, I have a devil of a time finding fresh banana leaves here in Wisconsin and don’t feel like digging a hole in my backyard. Enjoy!
for the marinade—
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
4 oz. box of achiote paste (recado colorado), available in most Mexican supermarkets
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs. ground coriander
1 tbs. dried mexican oregano
1 tbs. dry mustard
2 tsp. ground chipotle, (add more if you like it spicy)
1 tbs. ground cumin – toasted from seed
1 tbs. onion powder
1/4 cup pure chimayo chili powder
4 cloves mashed garlic
2 tbs. worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 3-pound bone-in pork butt
2 cups water
Large buns or warm corn tortilla shells for serving
Add the liquid ingredients to a mixing bowl and add 1/2 of the Achiote paste. Using the back of a spoon, break down the paste into a slurry. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Prepare the marinade by mixing all ingredients well, then rubbing generously over the pork. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. 24 is best.
Preheat your oven at 300 degrees. When ready to cook, place the pork butt with the two cups of water in a covered dutch oven or slow cooker set on high. Cook for 3 to 3.5 hours until the meat shreds apart. Internal temperature should be about 180 degrees. Watch the liquid content and adjust accordingly. When the meat is done, shred apart with two forks, discard the bone, mix well and serve on your choice of buns or tortillas.