Photo: Oxmoor House 
Hands-on Time
35 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 15 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 3 ounces pork and 1/2 cup onion mixture)

You could, if you wanted to, dig a large pit in a yard, build a bed of coals, and bury some banana leaf-wrapped pork in the ground. But this recipe is quicker. Indirect heat helps to gently cook the pork tenderloin, a cut that's easy to overcook. Smoke from the coals seeps in while the foil packet traps the spices, chiles, and juices in this (steamed/smoked) interpretation of the Yucatán classic.

How to Make It

Step 1

Set up a charcoal grill to cook indirectly. Build up a good medium-high heat coal bed on one side, and leave the other side with little to no coal bed. Try to maintain a temperature of about 300° to 325°.

Step 2


Step 3

Combine the white pepper, the oregano, the cumin, 1/2 cup orange juice, the lime juice, 1 tablespoon vinegar, the achiote, and the garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Blend well by squeezing the outside of the bag.

Step 4

Add the pork to the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Step 5

In a medium bowl, combine the red onion, the habanero, the sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and toss to combine.

Step 6

Leave the onions at room temperature, covered, to quick-pickle.

Step 7


Step 8

Remove the pork from the marinade, and discard the marinade.

Step 9

Sprinkle the pork with 3/8 teaspoon salt. Wrap the pork in a foil packet (or banana leaves if you're feeling adventurous) and seal well, with the seam on top.

Step 10

Poke 3 (1-inch) slits in the packet near the seam. Make them large enough for steam to sneak out and for smoke to invade.

Step 11

Cook, covered, for 25 minutes, on the unheated side of the grill.

Step 12


Step 13

Remove the packet from the grill and allow to rest, about 10 minutes, before slicing or pulling. It's your call to slice or pull. I pull.

Step 14

Place the pork and juices on a serving platter and drape with the quick-pickled onions.

Step 15

Serve with hot sauce and cilantro. Tortillas optional.

Cooking Light Mad Delicious

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