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Pit Cooking, Sacred and Smoky
Cooking in underground pits is an elemental part of Yucatecan cooking. In fact, it's downright sacred, as seen during the preparation of mucbil pollo at an intimate candlelit Hanal Pixan ceremony (think of it as the Yucatan's version of Dias de Los Muertos.) Rick heads to Yaxunah to see the entire process of making cochinita pibil, from the digging of the pit to the garnishing of the tacos. Rick also visits the smoky ovens in Temozon, a village known throughout Yucatan for its purveyors of smoked meats. Then, he places a big order at Momocoa, a Southern-American- slash-Yucatecan barbecue joint in Merida run by chef Paloma Ponce. All of the smoke stokes Rick's inner pit master, so back in Chicago he makes short ribs with ancho BBQ sauce and pollo pibil.
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