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Recipe: Chef John's YucatanStyle Grilled Pork

This may not be an authentic Yucatan peninsula recipe, but its just like a similarly named dish I had at a sports bar. It has vibrant citrus/chile flavors and a beautiful orange hue from ground annatto.

Chef John's Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork Ingredients

  • 2 oranges, juiced

  • 2 lemons, juiced, or more to taste

  • 2 limes, juiced, or more to taste

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon annatto powder, or more to taste, plus more to sprinkle on before grilling

  • 1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • teaspoon dried oregano

  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to Make Chef John's Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork

  1. Place orange juice, lemon juice, and lime juice in a bowl. Add garlic, kosher salt, annatto powder, chipotle powder, ground cumin, cayenne, oregano, and black pepper. Whisk until well blended.

  2. Cut the tenderloins in half crosswise; cut each piece in half lengthwise. Place pieces in marinade and thoroughly coat with the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap with the wrap touching the surface of the meat and marinade. (Or transfer mixture to a resealable plastic bag.) Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.

  3. Transfer pieces of pork from marinade to a paper-towel-lined bowl to absorb most of the moisture. Discard paper towels. Drizzle vegetable oil and a bit more annatto powder on the pork.

  4. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

  5. Place pieces evenly spaced on a hot grill. Allow meat to sear onto the grate until pieces can be easily turned, 4 or 5 minutes. Turn and grill on the other side another 4 or 5 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 135 to 140 degrees F (63 degrees C). Transfer onto a serving platter and allow meat to rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Chef John's Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork Nutritions

  • Calories: 241.5 calories

  • Carbohydrate: 12.1 g

  • Cholesterol: 84.3 mg

  • Fat: 9.9 g

  • Fiber: 3.3 g

  • Protein: 28.1 g

  • SaturatedFat: 3 g

  • ServingSize:

  • Sodium: 1021.5 mg

  • Sugar: 5.3 g

  • TransFat:

  • UnsaturatedFat:

Chef John's Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork Reviews

  • This is by far the BEST PORK I have ever had in my life not named "Bacon" Just AMAZING FLAVOR I think I have a man-crush on Chef John

  • I live here in Yucatn owner of my own dinner and this recipe is almost exactly as mine Only difference we do is in change of the orange juice we use sour orange

  • This was different and really good on the grill. We had with rice and a salad tonight. Tomorrow I will shred the left overs for tacos. I did add a tablespoon of sugar because my juices tasted too sour for me. But I think a little more would have been fine. I will go with 2 tablespoons in the future, depending on the sweetness of my juices. Otherwise, I made it according to directions. A cilantro sprinkling was a great idea. I didnt go with the cabbage, but will try it next time. Thanks for a unique flavor, Chef John

  • Absolutely delicious Tangy, spicy, juicy, awesome Kept with the recipe except for cayenne and substituted 2 tsp adobo sauce and onions (from a can of chilies in adobo) since I didnt have any dried chipotle peppers. The only problem I had was getting it to cook through since i rarely bbq pork. I overcooked it and it was still amazing Will perfect and make a part of my regular dinner arsenal

  • Followed recipe very closely except used frozen OJ and about 2x the annatto. I made this for three people and cooked it on a river rafting trip. The pork marinaded longer 8-36 hours (cooked it twice) and it was great both times. Grilled it on a gas grill once and a grill pan on the stove top the other. Both were excellent.

  • Definitely making again.

  • I used tumeric rather than annatto but otherwise followed the ingredient list. I was using a new BBQ grill that didnt leave very good markings, so dont judge this photo of mine too harshly. This recipe is a keeper Thanks once again, Chef John

  • This was amazing and incredibly simple. I made no changes other than ommitting the anneto because I couldnt find any. It was so good that I remade the marinade and tried it with chicken the following night and it too was fantastic. Bravo, sir.

  • Made humble pork chops delicious Didnt have annatto, will need to track this down next time, maybe that will make the recipe EVEN better though I dont know how... YUM

  • Excellent, huge hit with the family. Leftovers good for tacos

  • I followed the recipe except I added more cayanne by accident. I got my ground annetto from This recipe was really good. You should try this soon. I may try this with a large top round steak for fajitas.

  • It needed to marinade longer than the 4 hours but i was short on time. Very good Just watch the cooking time as not to over cook it. I did cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit as i dont like thinks that are too spicey, but i think next time i may make it unmodified and marinade overnight. I would make it again for sure

  • Is the best pork meat Iever ate and is my favorite recipe to invite friends at home and surprise them

  • We loved this one. The flavors rocked The Grilling instructions were helpful too. I served it with mango salsa and made tacos with it. It was delicious and husband was impressed with my grilling too. I will make this again.

  • Yummy as is. I made tacos with the leftover meat. They were delicious too.

  • It was fantastic. My husband loved it. I didnt have pork tenderloin, so I substituted boneless chicken thighs

  • Made pork tacos, was amazing. I saved out a half pint of marinade and cooked it down with some brown sugar and glazed the meat on the grill. Then after slicing we stirred the rest of the glaze into the meat.

  • Did not change a thing Wonderful. Served with finally sliced cabbage, mango pineapple salsa, and couscous with a kick. Fabulous meal

  • I used this recipe for the flavor profile. I did an ingredient search for pork and oranges, having leftover pork roast and oranges to use up. I made the marinade, poured it over the pork roast in a skillet, and warmed the roast up slowly, covered. Served it atop a veggie-forward pasta primavera. Yum

  • Okay--Ill be back to edit later but just want to say that so far, the marinade tastes delicious. I cant wait to try this Didnt have Annatto on hand but will be finding some for the future.

  • This recipe was wonderful Sliced the meat very thin for use as pork tacos and topped individually with Grilled Pineapple Salsa and Pico de Gallo (both recipes from this site). The only changes made was substituting annatto with smoked paprika and reduced the cayenne by half. Flavors of the pork really came through and reminded us of being back in Mexico. Topped with pineapple salsa made us think of the Al Pastor we used to get. Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe, Chef John

  • Dfdgd

  • This is an excellent recipe. I had to search high and low for annotto powder, but I finally found the seeds at a spice specialty shop, and the owner graciously ground it into a powder. Well worth it, since the flavor was unique. Reminded me of the excellent pork dishes Ive had in Cabo and Puerto Vallarta.

  • I made this for my sons class when he was given achiote / annatto as his spice. I made the recipe as is except I didnt have chipotle and used paprika. I added a bit more annatto powder, since that was the intent of the project. I also made the recipe (without cooking) and then had to freeze it (as the date changed for when we had to bring it in to school) and the pork still came out really tender. Hope the kids enjoy it as much as I do

  • I made the marinade as advertised. It was fantastic. I did not have any pork tenderloins so I used chicken breasts instead. They worked perfect. Thank you.

  • Loved this marinade I thought I had chipotle powder but I didnt so I had to sub with regular chili powder, but it was still fabulous Also, I halved the recipe and used pork chops because thats what I had on hand. I grilled them for 4 minutes per side and they were perfect Totally making this again.

  • This was past simple and past delicious I didnt have oranges so I used orange, and it was good. I plan to make it again in the near future

  • Super flavorful recipe We ended up using pork chops and cooking this on the stove (seared the meat and then simmered in the marinade). Definitely going to try this on the grill, might save the marinade and boil it to make a sauce on the side. Great recipe and easy too Would work well with chicken or fish too

  • I went to my local farmers market and got a whole bunch of different citrus for this reciepe and loved it the pickled onions are a total win to go on top

  • This was good; my guests said they liked it. I just felt it was fairly average.

  • Im not a big pork fan unless its bacon. This was fantastic I followed the instructions and wouldnt change anything.

  • We dont like spicy food so I cut out the chipotle and cayenne pepper. I did not have any annotto powder. It was too cold to Grill so I cut the recipe amounts in half and put my pork in the crock pot. Came out really well. Next time Ill leave out the cumin as well but will try this recipe again.

  • This is the BEST grilled pork recipe I have ever made My parents were my test audience for it and they raved about it. I added the juice from 1 grapefruit to add more zip to the marinate. Additionally, I reserved the marinate and boiled it to a slightly thickened consistency and used it as a sauce for the top of the sliced pork... super delicious add

  • It has become a go to recipe for grilling.I substituted paprika for annato powder. I do not use cayenne pepper or chipotle chile powder. I also use bottled orange, lime and lemon juices and it still tastes south of the border. Remember to marinate for 4 - 6 hours.

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