Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas – Served on Roasted Sweet Potato Disks


Paleo-ish has been going amazingly so far! We have had a few medical emergencies the past few days, (including my son hitting his head on the 3 inch thick ice outside on Super Bowl Sunday – luckily the football game had everyone preoccupied so the ER was empty) so I haven’t really had a chance to blog some of the new things I have been making. One recipe I am really excited to share is the Loaded Bahn Mi Sweet Potato Bites / Nachos, but that one will come later! Last night I made Instant Pot carnitas out of some frozen pork shoulder (YES it was big frozen CHUNKS of meat when I added it to the instant pot) and they came out so juicy and delicious.


While this recipe does call for using the Instant Pot, I will also add directions for a slow cooker version. Heres the method:


3-4 lb pork shoulder

1/2 lg onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (if you’d like more heat, by all means leave the seeds and ribs in. My kids were going to be eating this too, so I seeded it this time – and by the way, this recipe was kid approved!

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup water

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

fullsizerender-jpg-16If you are using a slow cooker, make sure your meat is thawed. For the Instant pot, add 2 tbs olive oil to your inner liner and then hit sauté. I cubed my 3 1/2 lb pork shoulder into 4 chunks that were a bit soft on the outside, but rock solid on the inside.

fullsizerender-jpg-15Next – make the rub by mixing the salt, cumin, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Generously cover the meat on all sides with the rub.


Once the meat is covered in the rub, sear the meat on all sides until it is a nice golden brown.


Once meat is seared, pour in the orange juice and water.


Top with the onions and jalapeños.


If you are using an instant pot, seal the lid and turn the pot on using the manual function for high pressure for 60 minutes – and walk away!


If you are using a slow cooker, placed the THAWED seasoned seared meat into the slow cooker, top with orange juice, onions and jalapeño, cover and slow cook low for 8-10 hours or on high for 6 hours. 

Once the timer goes off on the Instant Pot, allow the pot to stand for 15 minutes and then CAREFULLY open the quick steam release valve. Heres what it should look like:


The meat was SO tender and so shred-able. I scooped out the meat to shred, and saved the onions and jalapeños in a small bowl.

Shred the pork up and place it on a foil lined baking sheet.

Next, add a few scoops of the reserved cooking juices to the pan. You want enough on the bottom to keep the meat dry, but not too much to cover the meat. You want it to crisp up under the broiler. Place the meat under the broiler until the tops become crispy brown. You CAN skip this step if you want to, but I promise you probably don’t. It adds an extra layer of flavor and texture to the meat – next level!



After the meat and veg is removed from the pot, I strained the juices into a tall jar. I strain it into a tall jar so that the fat is in a more condensed area, and easier to skim off the top.


After skimming the fat, I poured the leftover juices into a pan and reduced it while I got all of the fixings ready. This step is optional, I just wanted to concentrate the flavor a bit more.


To make the sweet potato rounds, I sliced them skin on, coated them in olive oil and salt,  laid them on a baking rack covered pan, and roasted in the oven for 45 mins at 390*. I also flipped them half way through. This time I used orange and white sweet potatoes.


To garnish these bad boys I made a quick homemade pico and guacamole. The pico was simply diced roma tomatoes, cilantro, onions, minced jalapeño, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of cumin, and a dash of olive oil. For the guac I mixed avocado, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cilantro, and a scoop of homemade pico.



After I toped the sweet potatoes with carnitas, guac, and pico – I drizzled a bit of the reduced cooking juices over the top. Here is what they look like assembled:


This dish is so delicious, healthy, and fairly easy!


2 thoughts on “Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas – Served on Roasted Sweet Potato Disks

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