This Pork Carnitas recipe is a leaner flavorful variation of the traditional recipe that can be made at home quickly in the pressure cooker.
Carnitas are traditionally cooked in lard over 3 or 4 hours to produce a tender juicy meat with crispy edges.
This method takes a little over an hour (mostly hands off) in the pressure cooker. A quick broil at the end gives you the classic crispy exterior.
Or skip that step and save yourself some time. The tender pork and juice is still delicious. At least according to my teen who complemented me without prompting the last time I made it.
What kind of Pressure Cooker Should I Use?
I have an Instant Pot and stove top pressure cooker. I love both and will not chose between them.
But, I do a lot of canning and despite what some electric models claim, the USDA does not recommend using electric models to process low acid foods because the temperature cannot be verified.
How to Serve Pressure Cooker Carnitas
Serve the carnitas meat over rice or in burritos, tacos, lettuce wraps, etc. Add some chopped cilantro, homemade salsa and guacamole on the side for extra authenticity.
Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas
- ¾ cup chicken broth (preferably organic)
- ¾ cup fresh orange juice (approximately 2 large oranges)
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2-3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 3½ - 4 pounds pork shoulder roast (trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks)
- 1 medium red onion (diced)
- 1 medium jalapeno (diced)
- 2-3 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth, fresh orange juice, and lime juice with the chili powder, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, and ground cumin. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside.
- Add one tablespoon olive to the pressure cooker and heat to medium (press "saute" button for electric cookers). Brown half of the pork pieces at a time, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Once browned, transfer seared pork to a plate and repeat with additional olive oil and the rest of pork. Remove browned pork from the pressure cooker and set aside.
- Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion, jalapeno, and fresh garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Add browned pork back to the pot and pour chicken broth/orange juice mixture over top. Add lid and seal.
- Cook for 30 minutes on HIGH pressure. Allow 20 minutes for a “natural release” of the steam inside the pressure cooker. Do a quick release to vent any remaining pressure.
- A few minutes before the steam is fully released, preheat oven broiler to high and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Transfer pork to the prepared baking sheet and gently shred with two forks. Drizzle with ¼ cup juices from the Instant Pot and toss to combine before spreading into a thin, even layer.
- Broil for 4-5 minutes, then remove from oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Broil for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is crispy on the edges.
- While the pork is broiling reduce the cooking liquid by one half by cooking over medium high heat ("saute" in an electric pressure cooker).
- Serve the carnitas with the reduced cooking liquid as a sauce.