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Chef John's Yucatan-Style Grilled Pork

Rated as 4.88 out of 5 Stars

"This may not be an authentic Yucatan peninsula recipe, but it's 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."
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4 h 23 m servings 242
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  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.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • I garnished mine with cilantro and pickled onions. To make your own, thinly slice some red onions and cover them with red or white wine vinegar. Leave to soak for 4 hours or overnight, and that's it!
  • I think this easy marinade would work on all kinds of pork cuts, but the tenderloin is very user-friendly, and its mild flavor really takes to these ingredients.
  • Once grilled, you have so many options for enjoying these tenderloin chunks. Sandwiches, salads, and tacos are all wonderful choices, and I've also heard from a reliable source that diced, they make for an epic pan of nachos.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 242 calories; 9.9 12.1 28.1 84 1021 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 25
  1. 32 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

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!!!!

Most helpful critical review

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

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Most positive
Least positive

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!!!!

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...

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 ...

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 didn't have any ...

I used tumeric rather than annatto but otherwise followed the ingredient list. I was using a new BBQ grill that didn't leave very good markings, so don't judge this photo of mine too harshly. ...

Made humble pork chops delicious! Didn't have annatto, will need to track this down next time, maybe that will make the recipe EVEN better 'though I don't know how... YUM!

This was amazing and incredibly simple. I made no changes other than ommitting the anneto because I couldn't find any. It was so good that I remade the marinade and tried it with chicken the fol...

Is the best pork meat I’ever ate and is my favorite recipe to invite friends at home and surprise them!

I live here in Yucatán 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!