Pressure Cooker Carnitas – Zero Carb & Guilt Free

February 25, 2023
Home ยป Recipes ยป Entree ยป Pressure Cooker Carnitas – Zero Carb & Guilt Free

If you love the Chipotle style pork carnitas and want a simple way of replicating the flavour at home with an Instant Pot, this is our juicy and tender pressure cooker carnitas recipe. This is a zero-carb recipe and we are not using any orange juice or sugar that is traditionally found in other pulled pork and carnitas recipes, we have not found additional sugar necessary to achieve great flavour!

Cooked pressure cooker carnitas on white plate with parsley garnish.

WHY INSTANT POT?


While we love our Instant Pot, there are certain cuts of meat that do not come out of the Instant Pot same way that a slow cooker will. However, pork butt or pork shoulder is one of the meats that do fantastic in the Instant Pot, producing the exact same result in 90 minutes rather than 8 hours.

Instant pot and raw pork shoulder in metal bowl on kitchen counter.


After being in the instant pot for 90 minutes, we sear the pork on the stove top so that it is incredibly crispy on one side – this allows for maximum flavour penetration as the pork becomes crispy but also very juicy. The stove top sear is game changing and definitely not an optional step!

Pressure cooker carnitas being seared in pan on stove top.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THESE PRESSURE COOKER CARNITAS


โœ… Zero carb, with no orange juice or sugars added (like traditional recipes)

โœ… “Dump and go” meal

โœ… Perfect for meal prep since pork shoulders come in large sizes

โœ… Store in the fridge and sear leftovers quickly for a quick snack or meal whenever you like.

Cooked pressure cooker carnitas on white plate with parsley garnish.

MAKING PRESSURE COOKER CARNITAS


STEP 1. PREPARE


Since pork shoulders always come in larger portions (3-6 lbs), we pressure cook the entire shoulder but only sear the portion of meat that we’ll be eating for that meal, and we save the rest in the fridge.

Raw pork shoulder on metal pan.


The recipe also freezes well, just ensure that the meat is fully shredded before putting them into freezer-safe bag

Raw pork shoulder on metal pan with jars of cumin, salt, pepper and oregano in background on top of kitchen counter.

STEP 2: SEASON


Season pork shoulder with salt, black pepper, oregano, and cumin.

Seasoning raw pork shoulder with spice blend. Pork should on metal pan being held up with tongs with cook and kitchen in background.

As we are handling a fairly large piece of meat, be sure that the entire surface area is covered so that the flavour penetrates the meat when cooking

STEP 3. PLACE IN INSTANT POT


Place a small rack into the instant pot that will hold the meat.

Placing wire rack inside instant pot with kitchen and cook in background.

This ensures that the meat is not touching the bottom of the pot directly, which will allow for more even cooking. Place the seasoned pork shoulder onto the rack.

Adding apple cider vinegar to instant pot with cook and kitchen in background.

STEP 4. ADD AROMATICS


Add apple cider vinegar and water to the bottom of the instant pot as the cooking liquid.

Placing chopped onions into pressure cooker with cook and kitchen in background.

Add minced garlic and chopped onions to the instant pot and distribute evenly.

Adding minced garlic into pressure cooker with cook and kitchen in background.


STEP 5. COOK


Seal lid, close vent, and turn on Instant Pot. Once cooked, allow a natural release.

STEP 6. DRAIN


Draining cooking liquids from instant pot into fat separator with cook and kitchen in background.

Drain liquid into fat separator. We will be keeping the liquid and fat to sear the carnitas to get the meat extra crisp.



STEP 7. SHRED


Shred pork with large fork or tongs, the meat should pull apart very easily at this point.

Shredding cooked pork shoulder with fork and tongs inside bowl.

Store as much as you’d like in the fridge or freezer, only keeping the portion that you will be serving immediately.

Shredded cooked pork shoulder inside bowl.

STEP 8. SEAR


Lay a thin layer of pork on a cold pan, adding the fat extracted from previous step back onto the meat.

Searing single layer of cooked pork shoulder in pan with wooden spatula.
Searing single layer of cooked pork shoulder in pan.

By only searing the bottom side, it allows the meat to get extremely crispy on the bottom side, while retaining as much juiciness and moisture in the meat as possible. We have found that doing it this way prevents the meat from drying out.

Adding fat to shredded pork shoulder being seared in pan.

The best part about this recipe is that you can store any pulled pork in the fridge and sear only when you are ready to eat.

Cooked pressure cooker carnitas on white plate.

Pork shoulder is economical, fatty, and a very satiating option for a high fat low carb diet. Pork on carnivore diet is a great way to get variety at a cheaper cost than red meat. Feel free to pair this with a sugar free barbecue sauce (if you are keto) or just eat as-is (if you are more carnivore).

DIET MODIFICATIONS (FOR PRESSURE COOKER CARNITAS)


Single bite of cooked pressure cooker carnitas being held up by work with plate and cutting board in background.

๐Ÿฅ‘ KETO

You can add your favourite low sugar barbecue sauce, mixing together with the meat after you have pulled it apart. Serve with some low carb, keto friendly tortillas for carnita tacos. Alternative you can pair this with low carb/keto dinner rolls, a side salad, or low carb vegetables such as zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, or cauliflower rice.

๐Ÿฅ‘ ๐Ÿฅฉ KETO CARNIVORE (KETOVORE)

This recipe is perfect for the keto carnivore diet and does not require any modifications.

๐Ÿฅฉ CARNIVORE

For a pure carnivore recipe, omit the seasonings (black pepper, oregano, cumin) and aromatics (onion, garlic), and substitute the apple cider vinegar for beef broth.

Cooked pork shoulder inside instant pot.

FAQ


๐Ÿ‘‰ HOW DO YOU STORE THESE CARNITAS?

They can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

๐Ÿ‘‰ CAN I SKIP THE SEAR STEP?

We highly recommend searing. Yes – technically you can skip it and just serve it after it is pulled apart. However, we have found that the sear helps lock in the moisture while adding a crispy crunch. Adding the juices back on the stove top also prevents the meat from drying out.

๐Ÿ‘‰ DO ANY OTHER CUTS OF PORK WORK FOR THIS RECIPE?

Pork shoulder or pork butt are the best cuts for pulled pork for their tenderness, texture, and flavour. You can try other cuts such as pork tenderloin, but it will be leaner and you may need to make adjustments to the cooking time to keep the meat moist.

๐Ÿ‘‰ HOW ARE CARNITAS DIFFERENT FROM PULLED PORK?

They are basically the same thing, a pork shoulder or pork butt that shreds and pulls apart after a slow roasted process. Carnitas are the Mexican version of the dish.

๐Ÿ‘‰ CAN I MAKE THIS RECIPE IN THE SLOW COOKER INSTEAD?

Absolutely! You will not need a rack but all the other steps should be the same. Set the slow cooker on high for 8 hours.

Pressure Cooker Carnitas – Zero Carb & Guilt Free

These pressure cooker carnitas are inspired by the Chipotle style pork carnitas way. The end result is juicy, crispy, and flavours will burst in your mouth.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 7-quart pressure cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pound pork shoulder
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Clean and dry pork shoulder thoroughly
  • Season the pork with salt, black pepper, dried oregano and cumin.
  • Place a small rack on the bottom of the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Place the pork shoulder on top of the rack to allow for air circulation.
  • Add minced garlic and chopped onion and distribute evenly throughout the pressure cooker.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and water to the pressure cooker.
  • Pressure cook on high for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, allow for natural release for 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain liquid into a fat separator.
  • Transfer pork to a large bowl and use tongs or a large fork to pull the meat apart.
  • On the stove top on medium-high heat, lay down pork in a thin layer. Add a few tablespoons of the fat collected from the fat separator and sear one side of the pork until crispy brown.

Video

Keyword pressure cooker carnitas

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Hi! Nice to meet you! We're Alice and Kevin. Together, weโ€™ve experienced a life transformation with a ketogenic and carnivore diet, and our goal is to inspire others to do the same with simple and delicious recipes.

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