I adapted this recipe from the classic Mexican dish “Cochinita Pibil” which uses pork instead of venison. I decided to use apple juice instead of the classic lemon juice because I harvested this deer off of an apple orchard. I always like cooking with ingredients that the animal was eating. Here you use banana leaves to wrap the meat, which helps steam and flavor the meat at the same time. You can cook this dish in your oven or on your grill.
· ½ of a 3.5oz package of achiote paste
· ¼ cup – high quality apple juice
· ¼ cup – lime juice
· 3 pounds – boneless venison shoulder
· banana leaves – as needed to completely wrap the meat
· 1 each – red onion (thinly sliced)
· 1 teaspoon - salt
Making the marinade and marinating the meat
1. Pour the lime and apple juice into a bowl along with the achiote paste. Mix until smooth.
2. Place the venison shoulder into gallon freezer bag along with the marinade.
3. Let the meat marinade for at least two hours or overnight.
Cooking the meat
1. Pre-heat your oven or grill to 300 degrees.
2. Overlap your banana leaves in a roasting pan with enough hanging over the edges to completely cover the meat once in.
3. Place the meat, marinade and onions in the pan on top of the banana leaves.
4. Take a few more banana leaves and wrap them over the top of the meat to ensure that it is completely covered. This will allow the meat to steam inside the leaves.
5. Pour 4 cups over water into the pan.
6. Place the pan inside your 300 degree oven or grill.
7. Cook for 4-5 hours.
Serving your Venado Pibil
1. Remove the banana leaves that your wrapped over the top.
2. Gently shred the meat apart with a fork or tongs.
3. Spoon over some of the juices from the pan.
4. Serve with tortilla shells and your favorite taco fixings.
The achiote paste can be found at just about any Mexican grocery store and online at amazon.com.
The banana leaves can be found at Latin and Asian grocery stores