Is there anything better than perfectly seasoned, tender-yet-crispy shreds of pork stuffed into a blistered taco shell? Few things, my friends, few things. Instant Pot Carnitas are much quicker than the classic method, and yield all of the aforementioned benefits. Citrus juices (orange and lime) add subtle flavor and help tenderize the pork, which is seasoned with plenty of garlic, cumin, and oregano (use Mexican oregano if you have it). This dish is ready in an hour and will easily feed your belly and soul for a week.
Press the “Saute” function and allow the inner pot to head up. When the display reads “Hot” add olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown, 1-2 minutes.
Press the “Cancel” button to turn off the saute function. Add the pork pieces along with the salt, cumin, and oregano. Toss until well combined and pork pieces are evenly coated with seasoning.
Pour the orange juice and lemon juice over the pork.
Seal the pot, ensure the pressure valve is set to “Sealing”, and program to High Pressure for 35 minutes. Allow for a 10-15 minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure naturally.
Remove the pork using tongs or a slotted spoon and set onto a plate or into a wide shallow bowl. Shred the pork using two forks.
Position a rack in the uppermost slot of the oven, then set the oven to broil on “high”. Transfer the pork shreds to a foil lined baking sheet and arrange into an even layer, then pour half the pan juices over the meat. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and broil for five minutes. Remove the baking sheet, stir the pork, then broil 5 minutes more.
Enjoy warm and crispy from the oven stuffed into tortillas and topped with your favorite toppings. We like cilantro, pickled red onions, and crumbled queso fresco.
To remove the fat cap, place the pork shoulder onto a cutting board fatty side up. Using a paring knife, gently slice under one edge of the fat cap to lift the corner. Continuing with the paring knife, gently slice the line where the fat cap meets the muscle to remove the cap in one large piece. Cook Time on High Pressure is applicable for both larger and smaller pork sizes (as few as two pounds, and up to six pounds). Time to pressure will vary, and be sure to scale seasonings. To brown on the stove, heat a heavy bottomed (preferably cast iron) skillet over high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add roughly one-quarter of the pork to the pan, then drizzle in a thin layer of pan juices. Sear undistributed for 3 minutes, then stir, and season another 3 minutes until roughly half of the surface area is crispy. Be careful not to over-brown, or the meat will dry out. Remove the pork to a serving bowl and repeat with the remaining meat in batches. To Refrigerate Leftovers: Store cooked, browned carnitas in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the leftover pan juices in a separate container. Reheat in a heavy bottomed skillet with a splash of olive oil; drizzle with pan juices before serving (meat will dry out a bit in the fridge, and the pan juices help).To Freeze: To freeze, reserve half the shredded pork but do not brown. Place into a freezer-safe container and top with pan juices - a ziplock bag with the air pressed out works very well. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Reheat in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes, then switch to the broiler setting and proceed with Step 6.