Layer 1, Lettuce & Layer 2, Carnitas

Hello, and welcome.  I hope you’re here because of yesterday’s blog.

The first layer, lettuce, is your lettuce of choice.  Chipotle uses hearts of romaine.  I chose to use shredded iceberg lettuce in my salad.  Sister used the leafy end of the romaine leaf for her salad.

Once you get your lettuce nestled comfy in your salad bowl you are ready to add the carnitas.  If you’ve been reading the blog, you know that making mayonnaise and cooking a plantain were intimidating to me.  Carnitas was a big step forward.

Some recipes use Boston butt and some use pork shoulder.  I can’t eat Boston butt because it makes me dizzy and our little grocer didn’t have any pork shoulder in stock so we got a tenderloin.

Whichever cut you decide to use you will need 3 – 4 pounds of meat.  If you look closely you can see we came up a little short.  No matter, we got what was available.

The part I dreaded most was the dry rub.  I didn’t want to touch the meat.  I used to be vegan and I’m still squeamish about some aspects of cooking.  I lived through it just fine.  I also had spices all over my hands and forgot to take a picture of finished product but it looked just like something on TV.  I felt kind of fancy about that.

The pork was then placed in the instant pot, fat side up, a cup of water was added, the pot sealed and set to manual for 70 minutes.

That was it.  I started working on the recipes for the other layers.  By the time the carnitas had finished cooking the fajita veggies, salsa and guac were finished.

When the timer on the Instant Pot went off I let the pressure release naturally for 18 minutes (too impatient for 20) and released the rest of the pressure manually.   There was quite a bit of liquid in the pot so I removed the meat to a platter to shred and turned the pot back on to manual to reduce the broth.

The meat shredded easily with two forks.   

It was my intent to return the shredded meat to the instant pot once the liquid was reduced but we were hungry and dug in immediately.  The leftovers were added back to the pot and the reduction seasoned the already delicious pork wonderfully.

Learning to cook carnitas, NSV (non-scale victory) ching, ching, ching.

Instant Pot Carnitas

Easy and delicious


  • 3 - 4 pounds pork loin, pork shoulder or Boston butt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup water


  • Mix all spices together thoroughly.
  • Rub spice mixture on entire surface of the pork.
  • Place the pork, fat side up, in the Instant Pot and add water.
  • Secure the lid and set on manual for 70 - 90 minutes.
  • Let the Instant release pressure naturally for 20 minutes.  Manually release any remaining pressure.
  • Remove pork to a platter to be shredded.
  • Turn the instant pot back on manual and let the liquid boil until it is reduced by half.
  • Return shredded pork to the Instant Pot and stir until well-coated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *