In my life, Taco Tuesdays started when I was in university at this bar called Ethel’s Lounge.
They would serve four tacos for $2 and it. was. pandemonium. Seriously, getting in there on a Tuesday was about as likely as me actually reading every single thing on my class syllabi.
The tacos were akin to those made from a taco kit you get in a grocery store so, flavour-wise, they weren’t anything special but COME ON! FOUR tacos for only $2?! As a broke university student, it was the only place I could confidently ask for another round without checking my wallet first.
While those basic shredded lettuce/grated cheese/chopped tomato/ground beef (or veggie ground round for me) numbers on a crunchy shell still hold a special place in my heart, these pork carnitas are the new go-to filling in my house.
They are perfect for a games night, so good on nachos, and just what your Taco Tuesday needs!
Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas
2.25kg pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into roughly 2-inch cubes
2–3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dry oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1–2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
2 oranges, halved
1 lime, halved
1 cup water
Corn tortillas and taco toppings such as avocado, feta cheese, red onion, sour cream, and cilantro, for serving
Set out the pork shoulder and trim off the large fat-cap that sits along the top. Cut the shoulder into roughly 2-inch cubes (feel free to trim around the bone to about 1-inch of meat on each side; I find the bone adds flavour to the end product) and set aside in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, dry oregano, and brown sugar until well combined. Sprinkle this mixture over the pork, making sure that the meat is evenly coated with the spices. Place the seasoned pork into the bottom of your electric pressure cooker followed by the chipotle pepper(s), garlic cloves, and red onion. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and lime onto the pork followed by the water, then place the juiced halves pulp-side up into the pressure cooker.
Set the electric pressure cooker to “pressure cook” at the highest pressure setting and set the timer for 40 minutes then close and lock the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker should start preheating and pressurizing once you lock it – this should take around 10 to 20 minutes depending on how cold your ingredients were going into the pot.
When the cooking time is up, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for 15 minutes. To naturally depressurize, just don’t touch the pot. It will slowly release some of that built up pressure and finish off any cooking that needs to be done. After 15 minutes, do a quick release of the pressure by turning the vent or pressing the “quick release” button. Wait until all pressure is released before removing the lid (this takes about 1 to 2 minutes on my pressure cooker).
Discard the citrus and remove the pork pieces and cooked down onions to a dish to cool slightly then shred with two forks, ladle over some of the cooking liquid, and serve with corn tortillas and all of your favourite taco toppings!
*If you’d like the carnitas to be a little crispy, place the shredded pork onto a rimmed baking sheet and place under a high broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp. Serve with a little more of the cooking liquid as above.