Few realize that Cochinita Pibil is actually a Mayan dish. It’s quite common now all over Mexico, especially in the Yucatán where it originated. Cochinita refers to a whole slow roasted baby pig, while pibil means buried in Mayan. While the traditional recipe calls for burying a whole pig, pork shoulder cooked on a grill or in the oven is more common in restaurants and home kitchens.
The signature spice in cochinita pibil is achiote, sometimes called annato, the orangish-red seeds that give off an earthy flavor and add color to the meat. Achiote is used habitually in Mayan cooking in Mexico and Belize and is found in countless traditional recipes.