5.0 from 7 votes

Carnitas Recipe

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Carnitas is a popular recipe that originated in the state of Michoacán, Mexico and means “little meat.” The pork meat is slow cooked in lard until melt in your mouth tender. In this recipe we use an instant pot which works wonders. Pressure cooking drastically reduces the time it takes to cook them and infuses the meat with a TON of flavor. Also, we will be rendering our own fat, such a sensational dish! no wonder its become extremely popular. 

Carnitas cooked in Instant pot
Carnitas cooked in instat pot

Carnitas recipe and Tacos

When making this carnitas recipe, it immediately makes you think about tacos, or at least it does for me! And to make it even better, could you just imagine enjoying them with freshly homemade corn tortillas? It is a dream and it will definitely give you a similar experience just as if you were in Michoacan, Mexico.

Recipe Video Tutorial

Below is my easy to follow video tutorial on how to make this Carnitas Recipe.

It will give you an additional in-depth knowledge and the visuals of the step-by-step process to enhance your understanding. You will also find the video down in the recipe card. 

YOUTUBE FULL video tutorial on how to make carnitas in an instant pot.

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Carnitas Recipe (instant pot)

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 7 votes
Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

10

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

25

minutes

Carnitas originated in the state of Michoacán, Mexico and means “little meat.” The pork meat is slow cooked in lard until melt in your mouth tender. In this recipe we use an instant pot which does wonders. Pressure cooking drastically reduces the time it takes to cook them and infuses the meat with a TON of flavor.

Ingredients

  • For the pork
  • 3 lbs pork belly, skin on

  • 5 lbs pork shoulder boston butt roast – bone in

  • 2 TBSP avocado oil

  • Seasoning Liquid
  • 1/2 medium white onion, roughly diced  

  • 1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano, dry

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, whole

  • 4 cloves, whole 

  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme

  • 1/2 cup orange juice (2 large oranges)

  • 1 cup water 

  • 2 TBSP kosher salt

  • 2 orange skin halves

  • 1 head garlic, slice end off 

  • 3 bay leaves

  • For tacos 
  • Chopped cilantro

  • Chopped onion white

  • Limes

  • Mexican salsa and corn tortillas 

Directions

  • Seasoning liquid : Blend (cup for blender)all the ingredients listed with only 1/2 cup of the water until completely smooth and broken down. Set aside until needed. Reserve 2 juiceless halves from an orange. 
  • The Pork: Start with the pork shoulder, cut into large pieces. You will need to cut around the bone but don’t throw it away, we are using it. Now, with the knife remove  the skin part from the pork belly and cut into large squares. Don’t leave them to small. Cut the remainder of the belly, into the same size and shape as the skin. Set aside momentarily. 
  • Instant pot, 8 qt : First step is to brown the meat, set your instant pot on HIGH SAUTE mode. Ill set it to 15 MINUTES, you can add more time later, if needed. Go ahead and START it. Once done preheating, pour in the avocado oil and brown each side of the meat, starting with the pork shoulder. Don’t over crowd the pot, be patient and do it in batches. Transfer the pork pieces into a large dish as they become ready. Brown the bone as well. Up next, our final batch, the pork belly. We are not browning the pork skin. 
  • When all the pork is ready, press CANCEL. Place all the pork back into the pot including the skin and pour in the seasoned blended mix. Pour the other 1/2 cup of water into the blender cup, swirl and pour into the pot. Also add the head of garlic, bay leaves and the two leftover orange halves we set aside earlier.
  • COVER, secure the lid and cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 40 MINUTES, with a 10 MINUTE  NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE. After the natural pressure release is done, QUICK RELEASE the remaining pressure. Finally, press CANCEL and remove the lid.The carnitas should be super tender. 
  • Transfer all the carnitas on to a sheet pan and evenly spread them. Don’t shred them at this point to prevent them from drying out. Place the sheet pan inside the oven, use oven mitts because the sheet pan can get really hot. Set the BROILER to HI. Allow them to brown and crisp up a bit, about 5-10 minutes. Be careful if you hear the occasional grease popping, it may happen. TURN OFF the broiler as soon as the carnitas look ready. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, shred them apart and ENJOY in TACOS or as you desire. 
  • For tacos: Place the shredded carnitas in the middle of a hot corn tortilla, top with chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, Mexican salsa and a squeeze of lime juice. 

Recipe Video

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