These Instant Pot Braised Pork Tacos don’t need a full day to make! They can be done in 1 hour. Just what you need for a busy weeknight. Juicy, moist & packed with flavors! Leftover is great for pulled pork sandwiches too!
It’s National Taco Day! But seriously, I’m sharing a taco recipe not because of National Taco Day. It’s because these tacos were really exceptional. This is a coincidence. And to be honest, I am not a fan of those blah-blah days. It feels like these days are created for companies to sell you specific things. There is no real meaning behind that. So let’s forget about those food days and just cherish the food we have.
Bryan and I have been a bit crazy about hot sauces lately. After watching many episodes of Hot Ones, we bought 4 different bottles from The Heatonist. We’re discovering that good hot sauce is much more than just heat. It should be bringing in other flavors too, like smokiness, sweetness and freshness. To find ways to try out the hot sauces, I discovered this instant pot recipe. Very easy and actually really tasty. We enjoyed it so much that I decided to share the recipe.
The pork I used is pork butt, also called pork shoulder. It’s the piece that has a good amount of fat and meat without bones. Although I hate greasy/oily food, a little of fat is absolutely needed to keep the meat moist. So when you are trimming the fat, make sure to keep some fat on the pork (about 10% – 15% fat). Cut the pork into big cubes. Rub them with a mixed of spices, like garlic salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Last, squeeze orange juice and lime juice over. Leave the peel inside with the pork. Cook for 40 minutes. When the meat is ready, just pull them apart with 2 forks. Season with a little more salt. Reduce the broth on stove top to make a more concentrated sauce. Add some back to the meat. There, you have some flavorful and moist braised pork.
To go along with the pork, we need some toppings. A basic topping is just combine chopped onion with cilantro. It’s what we usually make. But since this is a braised pork one. The flavors are richer and slightly fattier. It’s good to have something acidic to cut the heaviness. Therefore, we have pickled onion. Thinly sliced red onion was marinated in apple cider vinegar, lime juice, salt and sugar. They work great on the tacos. I also like to add fresh radish too. Little freshness is always nice.
Last, but not least, the tortilla. Cook the corn tortilla over open fire until slightly charred. Not only it added flavors, it actually make the tortilla slightly tougher which help to hold the moist braised pork and toppings without breaking.
This recipe makes about 5 – 6 servings. It’s great for a taco party. Even just for Bryan and I, I made the full recipe. The leftover made really good pulled pork sandwiches. Warmed the pulled pork in microwave, then tossed with your favorite BBQ sauce. Put into a brioche bun with some cole slaw. Excellent sandwiches! Now I give you one more reason why you should try this as soon as possible. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Braised Pork Tacos
Yield 5 - 6 servings
- 30 – 36 (4-inch) corn tortillas
- 5 – 6 radishes (thinly sliced)
- 4½ pounds pork butt
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 oranges (cut in half)
- 1 lime (cut in half)
- 1 cup water
- 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1/8 - ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
Cilantro Onion: (optional)
- 1 small white onion (cut into small dices)
- 3 tablespoons cilantro (finely chopped)
- For the pickled onion, add sliced red onion to a medium heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over until fully covered. Let it sit for 10 seconds. Drain and place onion back to the bowl.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine vinegar, lime juice, 1/8 cup sugar, salt and pepper flakes. Cook until sugar has dissolved. Taste and adjust with more sugar if needed. Pour the mixture over the onion. Set aside and let it cool completely.
- For the cilantro onion (optional), combine onion and cilantro in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- For the pork, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Trim and remove some of the fat (leaving about 15% of fat). Cut the pork into 2-inch cubes. Place them inside the instant pot.
- In a small bowl, combine garlic salt, dried oregano, brown sugar, dried basil, ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Add the spices over the pork and rub evenly. Squeeze orange juice and lime juice over the pork. Place the 3 halved oranges and halved limes cut sides down on top of pork. Add 1 cup of water. Cover and lock the lid of the instant pot. Make sure the pressure release valve is at the “sealing” setting, not “venting”. Set cook time for 40 minutes.
- When cooking is done, the "keep warm" button will be on. There are two ways to do it. You can either release the pressure naturally by doing nothing, about 20 - 30 minutes or you can release pressure slowly or carefully by opening the vent. Make sure you read the manual book to know how to do it safely.
- Open the lid and transfer the meat to two large serving plates. Separate the fat and broth with an oil separator or large spoon. Transfer the broth to a small pot. Reduce the broth over high heat for about 15 minutes.
- Pull apart the pork with 2 forks. Taste and season with salt if needed. Once the broth is ready, add a few tablespoons of broth over the pork. Toss and ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, start on the tortillas. Reheat them up over the open flame on the stove over medium heat until slightly brown, but still soft on both sides. Watch carefully because the tortillas can be burnt easily. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a tortilla warmer or a plate with an aluminum-foil-cover.
- When everything is ready, put tortillas on serving plates and top with pork, radish slices and either onion toppings. Serve immediately with your favorite hot sauce if you have one.
- This recipe is for 5 – 6 people. But you can still make the full amount for 2 people. Save the rest for leftover to make pulled pork sandwiches or burrito bowls.
- When you are making this dish, keep in mind that instant pot/pressure cooker requires extra time to build up pressure and release pressure. It takes about 10 minutes to build up pressure before cooking and it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to release pressure after cooking. This is on top of that 40 minutes of actual cooking time.
- Our favorite hot sauce is Los Calientes from the show Hot Ones. We finished our first bottle in less than 2 months.
(Adapted from Platings + Pairings)