Are you looking for an easy recipe that is mouth-watering and keto-friendly? A recipe that blends delicious spices with succulent pork shoulder? This carnitas pork bites recipe is exactly what you are looking for!
This easy pork bites recipe doesn’t require a ton of prep, the pressure cooker does most of the work. But you will get all the credit for creating a delicious and satisfying dish. These carnitas pork bites can be served as a low carb appetizer or served as the main dish at a family meal or large gathering.
This recipe is a Dined and Dashed Level 3 Recipe which means it takes 45 minutes or less to prepare and starts to push the boundaries for many busy people to prepare on an average weekday. With some smart planning and pre-prep, however, these recipes can often be tackled successfully in less time.
What kind of pork is used for carnitas?
Pork shoulder is traditionally used to make carnitas, but in a pinch any cheap, fatty cut of pork will work. Some people use pork loin or pork butt as well.
What is the difference between pulled pork and carnitas?
In general, the difference between pulled pork and carnitas has to do with which seasoning you use, but the meat is also cut differently as well. Pulled pork has more of a stringy, pulled apart texture, where carnitas is more like small pork pieces or chunks. Carnitas are also browned and crispier than pulled pork style.
Should you sear carnitas before cooking?
For the best results, you should sear carnitas before cooking. The searing is what gives them that crispy texture and really is the best way to prepare this recipe. You don’t have to, but you will have a more authentic, enjoyable meal full of delicious flavor if you do.
What you need to make this carnitas pork bites recipe
This recipe doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but a pressure cooker or instant pot is required.
- pressure cooker or Instant Pot
- large skillet or flat top grill
- large bowl
- pork shoulder
- olive oil
- various seasonings
- beef broth
How to make this carnitas pork bites recipe
If you have a bit of time, this can be a weeknight meal, but as a level 3 recipe, the cooking process isn’t a great fit for a busy night unless you skip the step of the marinade and searing the pork. The cooking time in the Instant Pot isn’t too long, but the marinade and sear steps do probably take up too much time for most weekday meals. However, if you do decide to take some time one evening and make these for a weekday dinner, the best part is that it makes a lot and you may have leftover pork bites for lunch the next day.
- The first step in this recipe is to mix the olive oil and all of the seasonings in a large bowl to create a marinade.
- Next, you will cut the pork shoulder into bite-sized pieces roughly 1/2″ each and then add them to the marinade.
- After at least an hour minimum in the marinade, heat up the skillet or grill to medium-high heat and add some olive oil to the surface.
- Once the surface is smoking lightly, add the bite size pieces of pork to the bottom of the pan or grill in a single layer.
- Let them caramelize, then turn to get them seared on all sides.
- Once the bites are golden brown on all sides, cover with a lid until they are fully cooked (turn heat down to medium heat if need be).
- Repeat as required until all of the pork bites are seared and cooked.
- Add the seared pork cubes and browned bits to a pressure cooker with beef broth and cook until fall-apart tender.
Note: if your pork shoulder (or whatever cut you chose) has a fat cap on it, you will want to trim it. The video below explains how to trim the fat cap off a pork shoulder.
Carnitas Pork Bites Recipe
- Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot 4 qt minimum
2 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1/2” cubes
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Chipotle
- 1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 2 cloves roughly chopped Garlic
- 2 cups beef broth
- Mix all ingredients in bowl and let marinade for 1 hour.
- Heat Skillet or flat top grill to high heat.
- Use another Tablespoon of olive oil in skillet or on flat top grill and when lightly smoking.
- Add pork in one layer. Let pork carmelize and then turn or toss pork bites.
- Cook until bites are browned on all sides, cover pan and let finish cooking until juices run clear.
- Add browned pork to a pressure cooker and add 2 cups of beef broth.
- Follow instructions on pressure cooker or insta pot.
- Bites will be falling apart tender after 20 to 25 minutes.
This carnitas pork bites recipe is the perfect dinner for the whole family if you have the time to make it. They go great with just about any side dish, and aren’t overly complicated for even the most inexperienced of home cooks. If you cook them as described, they have tons of flavor and are a great way to serve a low carb meal for your family.
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