Whether you are using boneless or bone-in pork butt / pork shoulder, cut it roughly in to 2-2.5 inch pieces and add it to the cooking pot.
Spread the spices over the meat. Add crushed garlic, orange juice, orange rinds, lime juice, lime rinds and 7-up. Stir everything and gently push the meat down in the liquid.
Close the lid. Pressure cook on Meat mode or Manual/Pressure cook mode for 45 minutes at high pressure. Set the vent to sealing position if using the DUO model. After cooking, let the pressure release naturally.
Open the lid after the pressure has been released. Remove the rinds and discard. Remove the pork pieces and shred them using two forks. The meat should be super tender at this point.
While the pork is cooking, add thinly sliced onions to a mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, cayenne, vinegar and lime juice and toss the onions well. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. Cover and refrigerate till you are ready to serve! Done!
Crisp the Carnitas
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Layer the shredded pork and pour a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid over the meat. Heat till the sugars starts caramelizing and form a crisp crust on one side of the meat. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Remove the meat and it's ready!
Alternatively, you can do this step under the broiler in the oven. Spread the meat on a lined baking sheet , pour a few tbsp of the cooking liquid, and broil for 3-5 mins, till the top looks crisp. Remove and serve!
How to Assemble Carnitas tacos
Heat a corn tortilla in a skillet, oven, or over direct flame using tongs. Put about 1/2 cup of Carnitas on top. Add pickled onions, cilantro leaves and crumble Cotija cheese on top. Ready to eat!
Low-Carb Tacos: For a low-carb option, instead of corn tortillas, use iceberg lettuce leaves, or any lettuce of your choice. Load them with carnitas, add toppings, and enjoy!
The one tip that I always recommend for this recipe is DON'T SKIP THE LAST STEP of crisping the meat! That allows the sugars from the citrus and lemon soda to caramelize and gives the meat a nice golden crisp exterior.
Lemon-lime soda adds a great combination of sweet and tang to the meat in this dish. But, if you don't drink soda, simply double up the orange and lime juice.
If making this for a bigger crowd, you can crisp the meat in the oven. Spread the meat evenly on a lined baking sheet. Add a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid over it. Pop it under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, till the top caramelizes.
Sometimes, I skip the individual spices and use Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning blend to flavor the meat. For 4 lbs. of pork, I use 1 packet, which is about 4 tbsps.
Estimated Time includes pressure build-up time. Cook time = Time to set for pressure cooking.
This recipe has been tested in a 6qt Instant Pot. If making this in an 8Qt size, adjust the liquid quantity to meet the minimum requirement. Add a large can of lemon soda instead of a cup.
These nutrition values are for carnitas only, they do not include rice, tacos or any condiment.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.