Roasted Pork in Banana Leaves

Yes, we do live in Oklahoma, not a subtropical climate.  But, the heat and humidity makes it feel like that on most days during our growing season.    A very famous, witty, and wise Oklahoman once said:

“If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”
—Will Rogers

To tie this all together, we grow bananas trees.  We dig up the plants, remove the dirt from the roots, and wrap them in burlap to store in the garage over the winter.   We also try to keep a couple of small ones alive in the green house.   If we are lucky (and feeling a bit like gambling), we will put the trees out around Easter.   Again, if we’re lucky, we can sometimes keep them outside in the ground until late October.  It’s all about the fickle Oklahoma weather.

Our grove on October 7, 2018.

This past summer, we decided to cook using our banana leaves (totally organic—no chemicals are used on them ever).   One day we will do an authentic cochinita pibil, but that might have to wait until next summer.

I didn’t really have a recipe for this dish but gleaned some inspiration from The Chew.    (This recipe too is at least a two day process, but we condensed the recipe down to one afternoon.)

Banana leaves harvested from our trees.

Roasted Pork Shoulder in Banana Leaves


Putting this on the outdoor cooker or grill is a great way to spend a lazy weekend.


  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • 1/2 T. ground cumin
  • 1/2 T. Aleppo pepper (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 T. Kosher salt
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 (4-5 lb.) bone-in, pork shoulder, trimmed
  • olive oil
  • 2 banana leaves
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the coriander, cumin, Aleppo, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. Season the trimmed pork, on both sides with the spice rub. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the grill to 350ºF.
  3. Place 4 long pieces of Butcher’s twine in a double-cross formation (resembling the pound sign) on top of a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil . Strip the stems and veins of the banana leaves and lay them over the string, crisscrossing and overlapping. Place the pork on the banana leaves, fat side up, then drizzle pork with olive oil. Wrap the pork securely in the leaves, folding in all of the sides and overlapping them. Tie with Butcher’s twine tightly to form a tight package. 
  4. Wrap tightly in the foil.
  5. Place on the grill and roast until meat is completely tender, and reaches an internal temperature of 195ºF, about 3 hours.
  6. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for at least 1 hour.
  7. Pull the pork and remove to a platter. Drizzle with drippings.

Serving suggestions:  Serve on Hawaiian buns, in tacos, or in rice bowls.

Yield: 4 sandwiches (+), 4 tacos (+), and numerous rice bowls.

This is what it looks like when we pulled it off the grill.

And, as we opened it up.

And as we ate it.


The meat was moist and I am assuming was kept that way by the banana leaves (and being wrapped in foil).   We will do this again next summer (or maybe this fall if the frost holds 0ff).

Who knows?  These pictures were taken last October when we actually had a bloom and a few bananas.  Alas, we weren’t able to harvest any.   The freeze got them before they were mature enough to pick.

This year we weren’t lucky enough to get any blooms.  🙁

Our garden art peeking out from the bananas. (October 2018)

I am writing this post on October 7 when all was well regarding the weather.

Postscript:  We still haven’t had a freeze so we haven’t dug anything up yet.  Forecast for next week looks good, too.

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