Category Archives: Marinades

Achiote Pork Tenderloin~ Rojo y Verde

The goal in mind is to utilize as many of the reserved pantry and refrigerator foods on a weekly basis. Quite a while back, my friend Kim was nice enough to bring me back some hard to find Mexican food items. Besides the whole two pounds of these soft and aromatic chile ancho pods, he also brought back a couple  bricks of achiote paste, in both red and green. The red one, popular in the Yucatan,  I am very familiar with and had used it in many recipes, such as cochinita pibil, al pastor and various chicken recipes. It does not have a strong flavor, but is mostly used for it’s distinct bright red color. But the green one, I had never come across.  I finally remembered to bring it out and give it a try. I was looking for something different for these pork tenderloin and I am happy I remembered the achiote. We are still at the beginning of the summer and I have lost count how many times we have fired up that charcoal grill. Lol! Still learning and loving it.

Achiote Pork Tenderloin~ Achiote Verde

Achiote Pork Tenderloin-Red and GreenThe Green Achiote~Ingredients that make up Achiote Verde:  Allspice, black pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, water, salt, vinegar, cornmeal and sodium benzotate (as preservative).

Achiote Pok Tenderloin-Red and GreenThe Red Achiote~Ingredients that make up Achiote Rojo:Ground annatto seeds, spices and tomatoes

For the Brine
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon chile flakes
3 cups water
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of salt or to taste

*You Need, pork tenderloin.The package I purchase comes with two small tenderloin. Each weighing a little more than a pound each.

Pork Tenderloin in a BrineThese were the tenderloins after I took them out of the brine.

Pork Tenderloin-Red and Green AchioteBoth the red and green achiote paste are available through MexGrocer online.

For Red Achiote Marinade
2 tablespoons red achiote paste
1/4 white onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 red fresno peppers, roughly chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons adobo from chipotles
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
3/4 cup grapeseed oil or any mild flavored oil

Achiote Rojo-Red Achiote/Annatto

For Green Achiote Marinade
2 tablespoons gree achiote paste
2 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 serrano peppers, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
3/4 cup grapeseed oil or nay mild flavored oil

Achiote Verde-Green Achiote


1. In a saucepan, add 1 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium. Add garlic, onion, chile flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add water, peppercorns, bayleaves and salt. Heat to medium and cook just to dissolve the salt and infuse the water with flavor of aromatics. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Place tenderloin in a container. Mix the seasoned water with the remaining 3 cups water. Stir to combine and pour over the pork making sure they are covered with water. Cover and refrigerate overnight, if possible leave them for 2 days.

3. Remove pork from the brine and pat dry 30 minutes before you cook it. Prepare your outdoor grill for indirect cooking at moderate heat. Season the tenderloins with fresh cracked pepper. Divide the achiote marinades in half.Then divide them in half again, so you have 4 small bowls. Take one bowl of the red and one of the green and generously brush each tenderloin. Reserve the remaining achiote marinade.

4. Bush grates with oil and place pork on indirect side, the cool side of gril. Close the lid and let cook for 20 to 25 minutes. I like to baste the pork a few more times while it finishes cooking. Take the remaining marinade (red and green) and brush each tenderloin, making sure you keep the lid closed in between. After about 35 minutes, I start checking the temperature of pork in the thickest part. Once the pork reaches about 140 to 143 degrees, I move them over to the direct (hot) side of grill and baste and turn one more time just for a few minutes. Pull from heat onto plate. Tent with foil paper and let rest for 10 minutes. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

For Oven Method: Brine the pork as directed. Season with pepper and using a heavy dutch oven pot, sear the pork on all sides until brown. Baste each one with the achiote marinades. Cover and roast in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Check the temperature after 30 minutes. All ovens vary. When the internal temperature has reach 145 degrees, baste and place under broiler for a few minutes.

Achiote Rojo y Verde

Both these marinades can be frozen for future recipes. They preserve well with the added vinegar.

Achiote Pork Tenderloin-Rojo y Verde

Learning to cook with indirect heat on my charcoal grill works out great for the summer months when it’s too warm to turn on the oven.

Achiote Pork Tenderloin-Red and Green

For a moist tenderloin, I like to pull them off the grill when they have reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. 

Achiote Pork Tenderloin

After tenderloin has chilled overnight, I like to slice it as thin as possible. I then store it in 1/2 pound portions using freezer bags. I will use the pork for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, sandwiches and Asian style noodle soup.

Achiote Pork Tenderloin

On the first night, I served the sliced tenderloin with rice and a chimichurri inspired garnish.

Pork Tenderloin in Salsa Verde

One of the nights, I seared some of the pork tenderloin slices and then braised them in salsa verde.

Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork in Banana Leaves

What to do when it’s raining out and you can’t grill? The next best thing is a low and slow roasted meal that fills your whole house with delicious aromas. On today’s blog post, I prepared a bone in pork shoulder/butt that was almost 10 pounds and taking up way too much room in my freezer. I knew going into this that from start to finish, I was looking at a good 14 hours. But I also knew that it would be worth it in the end.  This dish is most commonly known as cochinita pibil, but is also known as cochinita con achiote or puerco pibil. Made popular in the Yucatan Peninsula with it’s signature flavors of sour/bitter orange and distint color from the achiote. The traditional way is to roast a whole suckling pig, but most commonly prepared by home cooks with a pork shoulder/butt roast. The acidity of the sour orange juice helps break down and tenderize what could be a tough cut of meat. The results are this fall off the bone tender shreds of pork just perfect for those warm corn tortillas.  Sour oranges are not easy to come by, so fortunate for me, a few of the local markets carry a ready made sour orange marinade that can be added to freshly toasted spices and achiote that comes pretty close to the real deal. 


Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork Butt/Sholder in an Achiote-Sour Orange Sauce

Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder/Butt

Cochinita PibilTips~ Instead of the traditional black beans on the side, I chose to serve mine with a roasted beet salad which is delicious when tossed with the rice.


For Marinade
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 teaspoons mexican oregano
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed chile de arbol or piquin
4 to 5 whole cloves
1 inch piece of mexican cinnamon stick

Toasting Spices for Cochinita Pibil


Preparing Marinade for Cochinita Pibil

Ingredients Continued..

1 1/2 cups Badia Sour Orange
1/3 cup olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 oz. achiote paste, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
salt to taste (I added 1 1/2  tsps.)

Tips~ If you cannot find the achiote paste, 3 to 4 tablespoons of achiote powder may be substituted. 

Toasted and Ground Spices for Cochinita  Pibil


Marinade/Sauce for Cochinita Pibil




Cochinita Pibil~Achiote, Sour Orange Marinade

Tips~ The Badia brand sour orange is pretty close to using real sour oranges and less expensive than purchasing fresh oranges, lemons and limes that may not always be very juicy. But if you have the good quality produce available, for every orange squeezed, I add 1 lemon or lime.

You will also need
8 to 10 pounds pork shoulder/butt, I trimmed off some of the fat on top
*I used bone in almost 10 pound shoulder
1 pound package of banana leaves
Foil paper
Large roasting pan with lid

Tips~ Before you start, make sure that the pork is not frozen. Bring to room temperature for at least 40 to 50 minutes before cooking.

Cochinita Pibil~Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder/Butt


1. Combine the first 7 ingredients, dry spices, in a skillet and toast at medium/low heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Stirring now and then so they do not burn. Transfer to grinder(coffee grinder) and process until you have a fine ground. Set aside. I have a coffee grinder that I only use for spices.

2. To the blender, add ground spices, sour orange, olive oil, achiote, garlic, onion and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Taste for salt, set aside. I chose to roast my pork right away instead of marinating overnight. But, that is up to you.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line the bottom of roasting pan with foil paper, fill with about 6 to 7 cups of water. Season the water with 1 to 2 teaspoon of salt. Place a few layers of banana leaves so that they extend outside of pan on all sides. Place pork, fat side up into pan.  Take a sharp knife and cut one inch slits over the top of roast. Pour marinade/sauce evenly over pork and massage into pork.

4. Cover tightly with any remaining banana leaves. Cover with more foil paper. Cover with lid and place on top rack positioned in the center of oven. Imediately reduce temperature to 225 degrees F. Let roast slowly for the next 8 hours. Check for water level halfway through. After the 8th hour, I raised the heat to 325 degrees F. and roasted for another 4 hours or until it was fall off the bone tender.

5. Remove from oven and let rest for a good hour before serving. After removing bone and extra fat, there was about 5 3/4 pounds of meat. I served what I needed and packaged the rest in 1 pound portions in quart size freezer bags. Don’t forget to label and date. Serve with warm corn tortillas, Mexican rice, black beans, habanero-garlic salsa and pickled red onions.

Cocinita Pibil Wrapped in Banana Leaves


Cochinita Pibil


Cochinita Pibil


Cochinita Pibil

It is traditional to serve cochinita pibil with a roased habanero salsa and pickled red onions


Roasted Garlic-Garlic Salsa

Roasted Habanero-Garlic Salsa

6 to 8 habanero, roasted
2 cloves garlic, roasted
Juice of 5 key limes
1/4 to 1/4 cup water
salt to taste

Remove stems from habanero. Leave skins on the garlic. Roast  all on a comal or nonstick skillet at medium heat for 15 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to blender, add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  

Roasted Habanero-Garlic Salsa


Sour Orange Pickled Red Onions

Sour Orange Pickled Red Onions

Tips~ Instead of using more lime, I used some of the leftover sour orange to marinate and quick pickle my onions. I also like adding oregano, chile piquin and fresh green chile. They are all optional. The longer they sit, the more pink in color they will become.

1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 jalapeño, seeded and julienned
1/2 teaspoon chile piquin, crushed
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1/3 to 1/2 cup sour orange (Badia brand leftover)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Let marinate for a few hours, stirring now and then.



Citrus Chile Beef Short Ribs~ Costillas de Res

Again, one of the hot food trends is fusing two food cultures. For today’s delicious grilled recipe I prepared a fresh marinade combining Mexican and Asian flavors. I literally think I would be happy eating any savory foods, Mexican or not in between a warm corn tortilla, lol!  One of the reasons I stopped purchasing store bought marinades was first because of availability. Does it not seem that you find a product at the market and the next time you go to purchase it, they no longer sell it? Happened to me one too many times.  For that reason and because I could control what goes into my marinades, I decided to just prepare my own from now on. I do the same with dressing, salsa and pasta sauce. As long  as you document how you prepared it, then you can always refer to it when you need more. Today’s blog post features a Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Rib. Quick cooking on the grill and great for a starter meal and even better for tacos.


 Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs

Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs


1 1/2 pounds beef short ribs, about 1/3 inch thick

For Marinade
Juice of 1 large orange
Juice of 1 lime
2 serranos, chopped
1 red fresno pepper, chopped(optional)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Maggi sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon  fresh cracked pepper
1/3 teaspoon Chinese five spice
salt to taste

Tips~ You could crush or grind the cumin and coriander seeds using a mortar and pestle. Or you could pop the whole spices into a coffee grinder for a finer finish as I did. I only use the coffee grinder it for spices.

Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs

Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs


Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs


1. Add all of the ingredients for the marinade into the blender or food processor. Pulse to blend for a coarse finish or blend on high for a smoother sauce. Taste for salt.

2. Place beef in a heavy storage bag or in a baking dish. Pour the marinade over the beef to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours.

3. Remove the beef from refrigerator 40 minutes before cooking. Shake off excess marinade and transfer to a plate.   Season with a little more fresh cracked pepper. Prepare outdoor grill and heat to preheat to medium/high.  Brush grates with oil and place ribs on grill. Cook beef ribs for  8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.  Remove from grill, tent lossely and let rest for 5 minutes. Yields 4 servings. Serve over rice with warm corn tortillas, salsa, lime cilantro and onions for making tacos.

Tips~ Ribs can also be cooked under the broiler for the same amount of time.

Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs


Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs


Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs

Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs


Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs

A fresh Pico de Gallo with added red radishes will result in a bright red, pickled salsa.

Citrus Chile Marinated Beef Short Ribs