Crispy Pork Carnitas – Two Ways!

Well folks, I drank the Kool Aid.  On black friday, I purchased an Instant Pot.  Have you heard of it?  This pot is ALL THE RAGE right now.  It’s an electric pressure cooker getting a lot of attention for it’s ability to take normal meals and make them in a fraction of the time with less babysitting and less cleanup.  Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? But it really is true!  The fun part is setting the pot to cook and then not having to look at it again until it’s done.  You walk back into the kitchen a bit later to food that was magically prepared for you.  Yes, magically.  It’s kind of neat.  The first few times I used it though, I literally felt weird about the set and forget aspect.  I didn’t know what to do with myself!  I’m not used to actually sitting down in the hour before dinner time.  What is this? Do I read a magazine?  It was weird.  Weird like those times you’re in a social situation and you don’t know what to do with your hands. You’re awkwardly trying to fold them or stick them in your pockets.  Then you realize you don’t have pockets and you also don’t have your purse or a kid to hold, so you just try to leave them hanging ‘naturally’ by your side but you feel like you’re in a straight jacket.  You know, that kind of weird.

Aside from it’s magic, the Instant Pot has many functions.  The two most notable for me were rice cooker and slow cooker.  You all know how I hate cooking rice and I have to say it is so easy in the instant pot!  There are people out there that use the Instant Pot for everything, I mean they bake bread and cheesecakes in it!  I haven’t gotten that nuts with it… yet, although I’ll keep you posted on my status if it changes!  I have found it does make a pretty easy hard boiled egg, mashed potatoes with virtually no mess, great soups, dried beans, and some pretty succulent meat!

…Such as these carnitas!  Have you ever made pork carnitas?  If you haven’t, you must try them!  They’re pretty delicious and a nice change from the usual beef or chicken taco!  They have a very mild flavor with a hint of… orange!  May sound a bit odd but it’s so good!!!  My family loves these and the scent wafting from the pot all day is very enticing!  If you don’t have an Instant Pot, these are just as fantastic in the slow cooker.  I will share both methods below!

This is the deliciously moist pork just after it was shredded.  It would be good just like this!  But if you want authentic carnitas you need to…

make them crispy!  You pop them under the broiler and then they kind of fry in their own fat and become crispy, delicious, and irresistible!!  I crisp up just enough for what we will eat at that time.  Then refrigerate any leftovers.  To reheat, just pop the next batch under the broiler.  You could even change up the leftovers by adding bbq sauce and eat them as a pulled pork sandwich!

I topped our carnitas with red onion, tomatillo salsa, and queso fresco.  A little chopped cilantro would have been an authentic topping as well.  I always serve them in white corn tortillas.  ¡Fantastico!

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Crispy Pork Carnitas - Two Ways!

Switch up your taco night with these delicious Pork Carnitas!  Sure to impress and that aroma... ah-mazing!

Author Katie

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4 lb Pork Butt Roast bone-in
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 navel orange cut in half, with rind
  • 2 bay leaves

Dry Rub

  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp corriander ground
  • 1 tsp oregano

Instructions

Slow Cooker Method

  1. Mix together the dry rub ingredients.  Liberally season the pork roast with the dry rub.  Heat the olive oil In a skillet over med-high heat.  Brown the roast on all sides.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

  2. Slice the onion and smash the garlic, cut the orange in half.  Put the onion and garlic into the slow cooker insert.  Squeeze the orange juice in and place the squeezed halves into the slow cooker as well.  Add in the water and bay leaves.  Place the roast on top.  Sprinkle with any remaining dry rub and drizzle the sweetened condensed milk on top.  

  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  It is done when the meat is tender and falling apart.  Remove and shred the meat with two forks.  Strain the cooking liquid, reserving half of the strained liquid.  Place the meat and reserved liquid back into the slow cooker and keep on warm until ready to serve.

  4. Before serving, turn the broiler to HIGH.  Spread some of the shredded pork onto a broiler-safe pan.  Crisp the pork under the broiler, tossing every few minutes until it reaches your desired crispness. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Mix together the dry rub ingredients. Liberally season the pork roast with the dry rub. Warm up the Instant Pot on SAUTÉ mode until HOT, add the olive oil and then the roast. Brown the roast on all sides. Remove and set the roast aside. Hit CANCEL on the Instant Pot.

  2. Slice the onion and smash the garlic, cut the orange in half. Put the onion and garlic into the Instant Pot. Squeeze the orange juice in and place the squeezed halves into the Instant Pot as well. Add in the water and bay leaves. Place the roast on top. Sprinkle with any remaining dry rub and drizzle the sweetened condensed milk on top.  

  3. Place the cover on the Instant Pot and turn the vent to SEALING. Press MANUAL and set to 90 min. When the time is up, allow the roast to naturally release pressure.  Release the valve and open the lid. If the meat is tender and falling apart, it is done. Remove and shred the meat with two forks. Strain the cooking liquid, reserving half of the strained liquid. Place the meat and reserved liquid back into the Instant Pot and keep on warm until ready to serve.

  4. Before serving, turn the broiler to HIGH. Spread some of the shredded pork onto a broiler-safe pan. Crisp the pork under the broiler, tossing every few minutes until it reaches your desired crispness. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

*If you want the Instant Pot method to be even faster, cut the roast into two-inch chunks before browning and cook on manual for 45 min.  

*The key with either method is to continue to cook until the meat is falling apart and tender.  If it's not shredding with little to no effort, increase the cooking time.

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