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Low Carb Pork Carnitas (Instant Pot)

Low Carb Pork Carnitas in the instant pot!  Unbelievably tasty, fall-apart tender, and super-easy!  A paleo, keto, low-carb carnivore’s delight.

Plate full of shredded low carb pork carnitas

Put a twist on taco Tuesday with these instant pot pork carnitas!  Cooked in the IP, then oven-crisped to absolute perfection!

Traditionalists will tell you that “the right way” to cook carnitas is slow-simmering pork in lard over very low heat, then cranking the heat to crisp it up at the very end.

But in today’s day and age, using the instant pot is literally the most tasty and efficient way to make this recipe – without a doubt! 

This recipe only requires 20 minutes of pressure cooking and it’s pot-to-table in about an hour.  It’s a great alternative to slow cooker pulled pork or slow-cooked carnitas.  

Baking sheet full of shredded pork carnitas

How to make low carb pork carnitas:

  • First, buy the biggest cut of pork roast you can! 😊 😊  You can use either a bone-in or boneless pork shoulder (aka pork butt) for this recipe.
  • Cut the carnitas meat into 3-4 inch pieces and trim as much fat as you can.
  • Rub down the meat with our yummy spice combo (below), then sear the meat in some olive oil right in the IP  (you may have to work in batches).  Transfer the meat to a large bowl.
  • Add onions and garlic to the IP and saute, then add chicken stock, the seared meat, the bone if you had one, and pressure cook the carnitas for 20 minutes. 
  • Let the IP release pressure naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure manually.
  • Gently transfer the meat to a plate and shred it.
  • Strain the fat, onions, and garlic out of the IP cooking liquid, pour a bit over the pulled pork, and toss. 
  • At this point it’s ready to serve, or you can broil the meat for 2-3 minutes on a baking sheet for those crispy edges we all love so much! <- do this, it’s sooo worth it!
  • Finally, squeeze fresh lime juice over the meat, and it’s ready to devour!
Very close over top pulled pork carnitas
plate of shredded pork shoulder

Low Carb Pork Carnitas (Instant Pot)

Yield: 16 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 33 minutes
Pressurizing Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

Low Carb Pork Carnitas in the instant pot!  Unbelievably tasty, fall-apart tender, and super-easy!  A paleo, keto, low-carb carnivore’s delight.

Ingredients

  • 4 pound pork butt roast or pork shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper, or regular chili powder if you don’t want a kick
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and rough chopped (or use 1 tsp of garlic powder)
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork shoulder into 4-inch pieces and remove as much fat as you can while doing it.
  2. Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and rub spices all over the meat.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode and let it get hot, add the olive oil and sear the meat for 2 minutes on the two main sides. Depending on how large your pork shoulder is, you may need to do this in two or three batches. Once all the meat is seared, transfer the meat to a plate or bowl.
  4. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and saute for 3 minutes. Add a splash of chicken broth so the brown bits from the meat that are on the bottom of the pot don’t burn.
  5. Add the rest of the stock and all the meat (and bone if you have one) then pressure cook the carnitas meat for 20 minutes on high. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure. (Note that the Instant Pot will take between 15-18 minutes to come to pressure depending on how much meat you’re cooking.)
  6. Next, gently remove the meat from the liquid and place it on a plate to shred. It is so tender it will fall apart effortlessly.
    Strain the fat, onions, and garlic out of the liquid, pour a bit over the pulled pork, and toss. (If you want a thicker sauce, after it's strained, put it back in the Instant Pot and saute it for 5-10 minutes. You can even add a cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it up even quicker.) If you don't use all the cooking liquid be sure to save the rest to use to reheat the meat or in case you want to use it for soup later.
  7. If desired, broil the meat for 2-3 minutes on a baking sheet until the edges are crispy.
  8. Finally, squeeze fresh lime juice onto the meat and serve!

Notes

  • To reheat the meat... use a skillet on the stove top and saute with some of the cooking liquid. Or place the meat on a baking sheet and spoon some of the liquid over it, place it in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes to get it crispy.
  • You can freeze the cooked meat in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to two months.
Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 4 ounces
Amount Per Serving Calories 367Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 106mgSodium 528mgCarbohydrates 4gNet Carbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 29g

This nutrition card uses an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. This estimate is not a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice!

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