Pressure Cooker Carnitas

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Shredded pork that is typically used to stuff tortillas, carnitas are traditionally made by slowly braising pork shoulder for hours. By using a stovetop pressure cooker, however, you can make this dish from start to finish in about an hour.


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder roast, 3 to 4 lb. (1.5 to 2 kg), cut into 3 equal pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bottle (12 fl. oz./375 ml) Mexican lager-style beer
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano

  • For serving:
  • Warm corn or flour tortillas
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot or mild salsa
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
Pressure Cooker Carnitas


Season the pork generously with salt and pepper.

In a stovetop pressure cooker over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter and set aside.

Pour off all but a thin layer of fat in the pan. Add the onion and sauté until it softens and begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the beer and deglaze the pressure cooker, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Transfer the pork back to the pressure cooker and add the orange and lime zests and juices and the oregano. Cover the pressure cooker and lock. Bring to pressure over medium-high heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then lower the heat to low. Cook at pressure for 45 minutes.

Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let sit for 20 minutes to naturally release the pressure.

Open the pressure cooker and transfer the pork to a carving board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Using a large, shallow spoon or a ladle, skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the cooking liquid. Using a large, sharp knife and a fork, coarsely cut and shred the pork into small bite-size pieces.

Arrange the meat on a warmed platter or individual plates, moisten it lightly with the cooking juices, and serve immediately with the tortillas, lime wedges, salsa and cilantro. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce and Denis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008)

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