Carnitas (Mexican pulled pork) with Rice and Beans

For this recipe, I utilized the Instant Pot pressure cooker quite often. Slow cooker would help but it would take a much longer time to produce the tender succulent pork. The total preparation time takes less than 30 minutes, with lots of waiting time as the total cooking time can vary between 3 to 4 hours. I divide the recipe to three sections of cooking and assembling the meal.

Ingredients (Yields 6 to 8 servings):

First section: 3.5 lbs pork shoulder, 1 orange, 1 onion, 6 garlic cloves, 1 serrano pepper, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cumin powder and 1 cup of water.

Second section, if you are planning to cook the dried black beans. You can skip this step if you wish to use canned black beans: 1 cup of dried black beans, 1 cup of dried brown rice and salt to taste.

Rinse and soak the dried black beans in cold water, overnight preferably. If you forget to soak prior to cooking, like I did, you can increase the cooking time of the black beans.

Third section: 6 to 8 tortillas, 1 bell pepper, 1 onion, 3 scallions, and cheddar cheese, olive oil, pepper and salt to taste.

Suggested toppings and fixings: shredded cheese, shredded cabbage, salsa, cubed tomatoes, sliced avocado, cilantro, lime slices and hot sauce. Taco shells if you desire.


First section:

  1. Remove fat from the pork shoulder and cut to large chunks.

  2. Peel onion and cut to quarters. Peel garlic. Slice serrano pepper.

  3. Add pork chunks, onion quarters, garlic, serrano pepper slices, bay leaves, cumin powder, water and the juice of an orange in the Instant pot. Set the Instant Pot to "Meat" and "60 minutes" and ensure the valve is set to "Seal". Let the Instant Pot do its magic while you occupy yourself doing other things.

  4. Once the cooking in the Instant Pot is completed, you can either wait for 10 minutes and vent the steam (be careful not to burn yourself) or let the Instant Pot naturally release the steam, which takes about 30 minutes.

  5. Open the lid, remove the bay leaves and skim off the liquid fat and solid fats. Set aside the remaining cooking liquid for the second section of the cooking.

  6. At this point, the meat falls off the bone because it is so tender. With a pair of tongs, shred/ pull the pork and meld the onion and garlic together. Place the pulled pork in a large serving bowl.

  7. Wipe down the pot for the next section.

Second section if using dried black beans:

  1. Drain the soaked beans. In the Instant pot, add the reserved liquid from the first section and soaked black beans. Add water so that the total liquid comes up to 3 cups of liquids. Set the Instant Pot to "Bean" and "35 minutes" and ensure the valve is set to "Seal". Let the Instant Pot do its magic.

  2. When the steam is released naturally or manually released, check if the black beans are cooked through to your liking (Mine came out al dente, and needed a few more minutes of cooking).

  3. Rinse the brown rice until it is cleaned. Add the brown rice and mix it with the black beans (from the previous step) into the Instant Pot. Add a pinch of salt. Add water, if needed, so that the total liquid comes up to 1.5 cups of liquids. Set the Instant Pot to "Rice" and "15 minutes" and ensure the valve is set to "Seal". Let the Instant Pot do its magic.

  4. Once the cooking is completed, release the steam, open the lid, and fluff the beans and rice. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Third section:

  1. 30 minutes before serving, slice the pepper and onion to strips, and scallions at a bias. Over low heat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the pepper and onion until the onion is caramelized. Add the scallions, fry till slightly golden and season the veggies with ground black pepper and salt to taste. Remove the veggies onto a serving dish.

  2. Crisp up the pulled pork in the pan with some olive oil over medium heat. Remove the slightly crispy pork onto another serving dish.

  3. Butter the pan and toast both sides of the tortillas. You can melt some shredded cheddar cheese on the tortilla. Remove them onto individual plates.

Assembling the burrito, taco or rice bowl:

  1. Prepare your toppings and fixings in serving dishes.

  2. For a burrito, spread some crispy pulled pork, cooked rice and beans on the toasted tortilla. Top the filling with your desired toppings and fixings and roll the tortilla into a burrito. Enjoy munching the delicious carnitas burrito!

  3. For a rice bowl, scoop a serving of cooked rice and beans into a bowl. Add the cripsy pulled pork and top with your desired toppings and fixings. Enjoy eating the satisfying rice bowl!

  4. For a taco, heat your taco to your liking and fill it crispy pork, toppings and fixings. Enjoy biting the delicious carnitas taco!

Check out more pictures on my Instagram: