Once Upon a Time in Mexico, against all odds, played a large role in the creation of BwB - my first-ever DVD, its special features showed me that I could one day be a filmmaker *and* a chef. In this 2003 Banderas action-comedy, Johnny Depp inexplicably caps a cook for making this Yucatánian special a bit too perfectly; as director Robert Rodriguez says, make at your own peril.



  • 5 Tbsp annatto seeds

  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tsp cloves

  • 2 tsp cumin seed

  • 8 allspice berries

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

  • 5 lemons, juiced

  • 8 cloves of garlic

  • 2 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped

  • 2 Tbsp salt

  • Splash of quality anejo tequila

  • 5 pounds pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes

  • 2 banana leaves, cut into 16-inch segments

  • Cooked white rice

  • Lime wedges

  • Cilantro

  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds

  • Corn tortillas


Makes 4-6 servings

  1. Toast annatto seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, and allspice in a dry sauté pan for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until fragrant.  Pour into a spice grinder and process into a fine powder, 2-3 minutes.

  2. In a blender, combine orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic cloves, habanero peppers, salt, tequila, and ground spices.  Blend on high speed for 30-60 seconds, until well-combined.  Combine marinade and pork in a large plastic bag, massage until evenly coated, and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.  Line a deep casserole dish with banana leaves, and pour pork into the center.  Wrap banana leaves around the pork, seal tightly with aluminum foil, and roast for 4 hours.

  4. Serve with rice, lime wedges, and cilantro.

  5. To serve with tacos: while pork roasts, combine red onion and mustard seeds in a large heatproof bowl, and cover with boiling apple cider vinegar.  Let steep for 30 minutes, and serve over tacos.