Since we got our pressure cooker for Christmas, I’ve sadly only used it a handful of times. We don’t cook much for dinner anymore, since usually all we want after an evening gym work-out is a protein shake with lots of fruit. It’s kind of hard to stand up for 30 minutes – an hour when you’re feeling ravenous and your legs are also feeling like jello. So, usually our big meals are on weekends. When my husband came home from a conference, I decided to surprise him with some carnitas. I saw this recipe a while back on Table for Two and thought it would be nice to give this recipe a try in the pressure cooker, rather than cooking in the oven for a couple of hours. In the summer, this is so awesome, because you aren’t heating up your house for 2 hours. In Louisiana, the less the A/C has to work, the better.
This recipe came out beautifully, and I’m still so shocked at how perfect the meat cooked up in 20-ish minutes (once it reached pressure). I ended up freezing this in 1 lb. portions, because there was no way my husband and I were going to eat this much pork within a few days. However, for a party (maybe a taco bar?), this would be perfect!
Just to note: I’m going to type out the directions that I used for the electric pressure cooker (this is the one we own), however, for the conventional method, feel free to check out Table for Two’s post.
Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas
Source: directions adapted from Table for Two, originally from Cooks Illustrated
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves
- Place all of the ingredients in the electric pressure cooker (including the spent halves of the orange) and set the cooker to the “simmer” setting.
- Once the mixture has come to a simmer, cover the pressure cooker and seal it. Set the pressure cooker to the “high pressure” setting, and set the timer for 20 minutes. (Note: do not use a kitchen timer…it’s crucial to use the timer on your appliance since the timer starts when it reaches the desired pressure to cook.)
- Once the pressure cooker is done, allow the cooker to naturally release pressure before attempting to open the pressure cooker, and then uncover.
- Turn your oven on to the broil setting, and line a jelly roll pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the cooked pork and place it on the foil lined pan. You can discard everything else (vegetables/aromatics) at this time, except for the cooking liquid. Turn the pressure cooker to the “brown” setting, which is high heat, and boil the liquid until it’s thick and syrupy (about 20 minutes).
- While the liquid mixture is heating, use two forks to shred the pork (and discard fatty pieces). Once the liquid mixture has thickened, add the pork back into the liquid and gently mix the pork into the liquid, to avoid breaking up the pork further.
- Using a slotted spoon, place the pork back on the lined pan, and place the pan in the oven under the broiler for 5-8 minutes. After that’s done, flip the pork and allow it to brown on the other side for another 5-8 minutes. Be sure to watch the pork carefully to ensure that the pork doesn’t burn.
- Serve immediately. You can also refrigerate (for up to 5 days) or freeze the leftovers.