Pork Carnitas is a simple dish that you can make quickly thanks to today’s modern pressure cookers. In a little over an hour, you can have succulent pork that has been cooked to perfection.
What Are Pork Carnitas?
Carnitas is a Spanish word derived from “carne” – which means meat. With the diminutive ending “-itas” added, it means “little meats.” Traditionally, pork is braised or simmered until tender. With an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker, instead of taking hours to make, pork carnitas can now be on your plate in less than 2 hours from start to finish.
Pork carnitas are great served in corn tortillas and topped with items such as salsa, avocado, guacamole, etc. Serve with rice and beans as side dishes and perhaps some unfried ice cream to finish off the meal.
How To Make Pork Carnitas in a Pressure Cooker
For this pork carnitas recipe, start with a small Boston butt. Boston butts come from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg of a pig and often contain a bone. Buy a boneless version like the one pictured above, if possible. The one above weighed nearly 4 pounds, sans (without) bone, and cost less than $9 at Aldi.
Overall, this recipe for pork carnitas is very mild, making it a blank canvas to add toppings and sauces of your choice. But before cooking it, saute some onion in your pressure cooker to add a little bit of natural seasoning.
To do this, set your pressure cooker to SAUTE. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the pressure cooker bowl. Add about 1 cup of diced onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Stir in some minced garlic.
Meanwhile, cut the Boston butt into chunks that are about 2-inches. Cutting it down in size will help it cook faster. Place the meat into the pressure cooker.
Next, add a cup of water to pressure cooker bowl. Next, add the seasonings. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, select Pressure Cook, and adjust the time to 40 minutes. Be sure that the valve is set to closed/sealing.
Once the pressure cooker is finished, allow it to naturally release for 20 minutes. Now it’s time to open the pressure cooker. Now is the time to drain the meat chunks and shred using two forks.
At this point, the meat is ready to be used.
Pressure Cooked Pork Carnitas
- 1 4 pound Boston butt boneless
- 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
Set pressure cooker to SAUTE. Drizzle olive oil into the pressure cooker bowl. Add diced onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic.
Meanwhile, cut the Boston butt into chunks that are about 2-inches. Place the meat into the pressure cooker.
Add water to pressure cooker bowl and add the seasonings. Stir meat mixture well. .
Place the lid on the pressure cooker, select Pressure Cook, and adjust the time to 40 minutes. Be sure that the valve is set to closed/sealing
Allow pressure cooker to release for 20 minutes. Open the pressure cooker.
Drain the meat chunks and shred using two forks.
To make your pressure cooker pork carnitas awesome, follow the tips from RecipeTin Eats and brown the meat in a skillet. (Read about it here.) If you don’t have a pressure cooker, RecipeTin Eats has a recipe for making pork carnitas in a slow cooker, aka Crock Pot.