What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pork Carnitas in the Instant Pot

First I’ll acknowledge that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that I’m not talking about it here. Except to point you to my favorite turkey recipe (salt, pepper, lemon, and rosemary) a fave cranberry relish (that’s a quick as a snap) and also these rolls that are just to die for. I’ll also acknowledge that my heart just isn’t in the traditional dinner this year and so I’ve decided that between now and Christmas I’m going to try to get some people around a table where I prepare a feast of food trying new recipes. Creating a menu, trying new recipes, and seeing it satisfy my people is hugely satisfying and I want to do a holiday dinner.

But… instead of doing that for Thanksgiving this year I’m sharing a new recipe that I am so excited about I could cry. It’s easy, fast, and so tasty. It is not my recipe. I didn’t create it but my friend Whitney shared it on social media several times and this last time she said, “this is the meal that I take to people who are sick or just had a baby.” Usually when someone says that it’s their best, their go-to, show them how it’s done recipe and you can count on it being good.

I made these “No Waste Carnitas” almost exactly as the recipe states, except adapting for the Instant Pot. Including making the delicious tomatillo green salsa. I did cook mine in 30 minutes in the instant pot instead of 3 hours in the stove, I only used one jalapeno instead of two (in the salsa), I used powdered cinnamon since I forgot a cinnamon stick, and I served my tomatillo sauce hot since we were hungry. It was delicious that way! You can totally just make the carnitas meat and top with your favorite toppings. We loved the onion and cilantro mixture. Used feta cheese because it’s what we had on hand (queso fresco would be even better), fresh avocado was perfect – despite the fact that ours was not quite ripe – and the kids just loved it with cheddar cheese. I’d also do fresh pico de gallo or bottle of my favorite salsa verde. The world is your oyster with this deliciously crispy pork shoulder.

I also did not have cinnamon sticks so I just sprinkled a bit of powdered cinnamon and it was perfect.

No Waste Pork Carnitas for the Instant Pot

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print

What you will need:
3 lb pork shoulder, I cut into small chunks
1 medium naval orange, quartered and juiced into your instant pot
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
cinnamon, stick broken into pieces or about 1/2 tsp powder
2-3 bay leaves
a couple of Tablespoons of oil

1. Cut 3lb of pork shoulder into 1-2″ cubes
2. liberally salt the meat
3. Add to instant pot with 4 quarters of the naval orange juiced. Add the peels too. Add in 2-3 bay leaves, cinnamon, garlic, and onion and top with a couple tablespoons of oil.
4. Turn pressure cooker on to high pressure for 30 minutes.
5. Remove meat using a slotted spoon and put in a 9×13 pan, shred with two forks. (You can also remove pieces of fat at this time.)
6. Broil the meat in the oven on high for 4-6 minutes (until it is crispy on the edges)
7. Flip meat and put back in for another 4-6 minutes to brown the other side.
8. Reserve the liquid from instant pot, and spoon off the fat if you want to use them to make the tomatillo sauce.

For the complete recipe and the details on how to make the tomatillo salsa visit this “No Waste Carnitas” recipe. Next time I’m going to remove the meat from the instant pot, skim off the fat from the leftover juices, remove the orange segments, and add the salsa ingredients right into the instant pot (hoping it could be cooked in 5 minutes or less instead of the 10-15 on the stove top.) to cook while the meat browns.

Here are a few shots from my instagram profile where I regularly share what I’m cooking for my family. Follow along there, and be sure to share your go to meals with me! What do you take to folks who just had a baby or are sick. I want to try them!


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