The Muk-bil Chicken, (Muk-bil Pollo)

The Mukbil chicken is a traditional mayan recipe, part of Pixan Hanal or the food that is offered to the dead at the occasion of the Day of the Dead, in the Yucatan peninsula. This dish can be seen as a combination of tamale dough, filled with stewed chicken and pork with spices in a thick corn broth. This dish is cooked in a typical pit oven, at the bottom of which a base made of limestone rocks is placed, which are first heated with a wood fire, then the wrapped Chicken Mukbil packs are placed over which is then covered with banana tree leaves. The heat arising from the ashes and the stones and trapped in the ground is what will cook the dish. Do not worry, this recipe for Chicken Mukbil presented here is explained as made using a modern oven... Naturally connoisseurs will disagree, but it isn’t everybody that has the possibility to use a pit oven!

How to make Mukbil Chicken

* 3 lb. corn masa dough
* Some corn flour
* Enough softened lard
* 2 lb. Chicken
* 1 lb. pork
* 1 cup Xpelón (cooked black eyed beans)
* Achiote paste, to taste
* Salt, to taste
* 3 Red tomatoes
* 1 large onion
* 1 sprig epazote
* Habanero peppers, to taste
* 1 package banana leaves


1) We begin by cooking the meats: using a roasting pan put in the pork first, with a little bit of water and cook in the oven at 300 ˚F for 30 minutes. Add the chicken to the roasting pan and more water if needed; cook in the oven for 30 minutes. In that order, since pork takes more time to cook; the meat will not be completely finished cooking. Once this step is over, reserve the meat and chicken and save separately the broth.

2) After, pour the broth in a skillet; we need four cups, depending on how big the final dish will be (fill in with water if necessary). Dissolve the achiote paste in the broth and add a touch of salt; and then add some corn flour to the broth, enough to make it a thick sauce; this will be the mayan Kol that the meat and chicken will finish cooking in.

3) Then mix the masa with the lard, and salt to taste, the beans and use the achiote paste to give its special color to the dough.

4) Now let’s prepare the final dish: line the bottom of a roasting pan with the banana leaves, place some masa on the banana leaves, giving it the shape of the pan; keep some masa for the masa that will be used to cover.

5) Place the meat over the masa then pour the kol sauce over, to finally add slices of onion, tomato, chiles and epazote leaves.

6) Over the sauce put a lid of masa dough on top, wrap with the banana leaves sticking out, preheat the oven to 300 ˚F and bake for an hour and a half… Then that’s it, your Mukbil Chicken is ready!


The "kol" into which the chicken-pork is cooked must have the ideal degree of thickness, determined by the amount of corn flour that is dissolved with the annatto and the broth that is obtained by first cooking the pieces of meat. The size of the chunks of meat should not exceed one inch, so that the mucbil chicken outer crust does not break apart when handled. Finally, do not forget to set aside a slice of Mukbil Chicken for the altar of the Day of the Dead!

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