These Instant Pot pork carnitas are tender pork shoulder cooked seasoned perfectly and bursting with delicious fruit flavor.
Can I use a different cut of pork for these Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
Yes, you can use any kind of pork roast that you would like. I prefer the shoulder just for the texture. You could use pork tenderloin or boston butt which cut that you can find in your price range at your local store. Just make sure that if you do choose tenderloin that you reduce the cooking time to about 45 minutes as it takes less time to cook then a shoulder or boston butt roast would.
If you are using another cut of meat I would also recommend trimming off some fat you don’t want to bite in the fat. Or just make sure when you are shredding the meat that you pull out and remove the heavy fat pieces. When you are taking a bite of your pork carnitas you really don’t want to bite into a big clump of fat.
Why do I need to remove the bay leaves?
It is commonly believed that bay leaves are toxic. Bay leaves are not actually toxic and can be eaten. However, trust me you don’t want to eat them. Bay leaves are very bitter, and do not lose that bitter taste after being cooked. On top of that they do not soften they maintain their stiff and leathery texture even when cooked for long periods of time. Because of their stiffness it is believed that they could cause harm to your digestive tract if swallowed.
Bay leaves do have a strong earthy flavor when they are dried. Bay leaves get a stronger flavor when they are dried. Leave your bay leaves whole so that you can still get the flavor that they will add to your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas but still be easy to remove when you are finished cooking your meat.
Why do I add fruit peels to the Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
Fruit peels add so much flavor when cooked into a dish. If you add liquid and allow your fruit peels soak and simmer in the liquid it really draws a punch of flavor out of the peels. I added the orange and lime peels to the dish while cooking. So that the citrus flavor really soaks into the meat and takes your flavor up a couple notches. I don’t recommend skipping this step as it really does change the flavor of your dish considerably.
Do I have to put this in the oven?
I added this dish to the oven is that the pork for pork carnitas usually has a little crunch to the meat. Cooking your meat in the instant pot for this recipe keeps your meat tender. It helps to add the crunch by placing your meat in the oven for a few minutes. If you are not seeking that crispy crunch of the meat then you can skip this step.
You may also enjoy these other recipes:
- Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
- 3-4 lbs pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 large onion quartered
- 1 tbsp. garlic minced
- 2 large navel oranges juiced
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. Garlic salt
- 1 tsp. Onion powder
- 1 tsp. Dried parsley
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 2 bay leaf
- Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks (about 3").
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn your Instant Pot to saute’
- Add the pork and brown the chunks in small batches.
- Peel 4-5 strips of rind off the oranges and off the lime and set to the side. .
- Juice the oranges and lime and set to the side.
- Add the onion chunks, citrus juices, fruit peels and spices into the Instant Pot.
- Cook on high for 60 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes before fully releasing the pressure.
- Then remove the lid.
- Discard the bay l;eaves.
- Turn on the oven broiler to high.
- Pull the pork into small chunks by shredding apart with forks.
- Then place the pork in a single layer on a large pan.
- Spoon some of the broth on top of the pork.
- Broil for about 4-5 minutes or or until the edges of the pork begin browning.
- Stir and add a ladle a little bit more broth.
- Broil an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve as is over Spanish rice and sprinkled with chopped cilantro