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Good morning fellow worshipers of the gravy. Welcome back.
Today we are going to get after week 3 of my tests and trials with the Instant Pot. I hope you’ve enjoyed this minor deviation from more traditional cooking, it’s been an eye-opener for myself as well. After the various samplings and tinkerings over the last few weeks I am even going to offer a verdict on whether or not you should invest your folding money and buy one of these kitchen gadgets.
The last couple of weeks I’ve focused on the pressure cooking aspect of the Instant Pot rather than all of the other miscellaneous functions. Hey! It’s a rice cooker, a steamer, a yogurt maker, a slow cooker, a dildo, it does every fucking thing! In all honesty the pressure cooking function was the main allure to investing in this little whoozis in the first fucking place. The idea of eliminating the extra hours of slow cooking is indeed an attractive one.
Here’s a related question for you: How many episodes of Sunday Gravy have used a slow cooker or crock pot?
None is the right answer. I own two slow cookers actually but rarely use them. I do use the smaller of the two as a warmer during the holidays and for Superb Owl parties. It holds and maintains a nice temperature for buffalo chicken dip as well as Rotel/queso dip.
Honestly? I am not that impressed by slow cookers. If you are a working stiff and you want to slow cook something that you can come home to, well shit, I guess that works. Since I don’t cook during the week I don’t have a need. Besides, I’ve always found that a slow cooker tends to produce a more bland and watery dish than traditional stove or stove-top methods do. Maybe it’s just me but I’m not a big fan.
Since I chose to focus on the pressure cooking aspect I think you can now understand why I made dishes that normally require prolonged prep time as a test for the Instant Pot.
Thus you had some Texas chile
and some pre-cooking for pork ribs.
I figured one more go at another dish that requires substantial slow cooking and we can render a verdict. Not to mention we can render some damn fat as well.
Dish number three was an easy choice.
Yessir we have indeed done carnitas before. Way back in the primordial era of Sunday Gravy. It’s a dish that I’ve been making for decades so it made sense to me to try it using the Instant Pot.
One quick little aside before we venture forth to the recipe, all three of the recipes that I’ve cooked in the Instant Pot have been true yeah right original dishes. There are Instant Pot recipes all over the goddamn planet but the ones I’ve brought to you have been my very own.
You deserve it.
Now let’s get after this fucker like a beaver after a birch tree!
Instant Pot Carnitas!
You will need:
1 big slab o pork butt – that’s shoulder to you and me – cut into chunks.
1 medium onion cut into chunks.
7 cloves of garlic minced.
1 cup of chicken stock.
1 cup of orange juice.
1 tablespoon of cumin.
1 tablespoon of chili powder.
1 tablespoon of paprika.
1 tablespoon of salt.
1 tablespoon of black pepper.
1 tablespoon of ground coriander.
1 teaspoon of cayenne – you can add more or less to your liking.
Arrange your spices neatly on a plate.
Nah, I’m just fucking with ya! Just mix them all together in a big ass bowl.
Grab your big ol’ piece of swine…
And let’s get to hacking.
Do you enjoy this part? The hacking down of large chunks of flesh?
Thank Christ! I thought I was the only lunatic butcher.
Trim off SOME of the fat but not too much and cut the pork down into cubes/chunks. I hacked these down into chunks approximately 2″ x 2″.
Put the chunks of pig into the same bowl that you added the seasonings to. Wash your damn hands then toss the pig bits with the seasoning blend and make sure you get a nice even coating on all of the chunks.
Now before we get to the pressure cooking part I thought I would take a minute and get you a little more familiar with some of the pressure controls on the Instant Pot.
When you set the pot to “pressure” and input the time, you can also set the pot to the “keep warm” function, which will keep the meal warm while also slowly de-pressurizing after it’s done cooking. Remember the “natural” release versus “instant” release? Yeah, that is the natural release.
Just to familiarize you a bit more, here is the top of the lid for the Instant Pot.
These are the pressure controls. I will explain them as clearly as I can.
This little fucker is the steam release button. It is currently in the “down” or closed position. This will be the correct setting when you are pressure cooking. If you were to depress this button thus allowing it to pop up?
Big goddamn steam exhaust low pressure melt off part of your face type shit. If you wanted to use the “Instant” release function AFTER cooking this would be the action taken. I generally place a towel over that round bob looking thing located behind the steam release valve to reduce the amount of steam blasting towards my kitchen ceiling.
This bastard here:
Is the “pressurized” indicator. It is shown in the “up” or “pressurized” position. When you turn the pot to pressure cook like this,
you lock the lid into the “locked” position and wait until the pot pressurizes. This is after you’ve already added all of your to-be-cooked items to the pot obviously. When that little lever pops up, the pot has pressurized and it will soon begin cooking. When the cooking is over you will not be able to unlock the pot until this button:
drops into the down or “de-pressurized” position. This happens after about 10 minutes of “natural” steam release followed by 5-6 minutes of “instant” release. When the button drops down, you can unlock the lid and you are ready to FIESTA!
Does that make sense?
Jesus, I thought I was off rambling again.
Anyway back to the recipe.
Add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the still turned off Instant Pot.
Next we will be adding in the seasoned piggy chunks. You don’t need to use the basket or “trivet” for this just put the chunks right in the pot.
Next add in the chopped onion and garlic and pour the cup of orange juice over the top of everything.
Set the pot to pressure cook high with the timer set for 40 minutes and the warming function turned on. Lock the top lid into place and hit start. Once it comes to temperature and is pressurized the cooking process begins.
When the meat has cooked, let the steam naturally release for 10 minutes, then place a towel over the steam bob and depress the “instant” release switch. When that little silver knob dealie…
drops down you can unlock the pot and remove the carnitas. They will be, obviously, steaming hot.
Place the pork into a baking dish, pre-heat your regular oven to 425 and put the carnitas into the oven just long enough to brown and crisp the outside of the pork.
There you go! You could eat the carnitas “as is” coming right out of the pressure cooker but we want that crispy exterior.
Serve along with some sides of choice. Here we have some refried beans, some of my famous chili tepin and a batch of fresh salsa. You can use corn or flour tortillas as you see fit.
Fucking hell! That is the real goddamn deal. The thing about this preparation of the carnitas is it allows the fat to render on the inside of the chunks of pork. The outside is perfectly well seasoned and then when you crisp them in the oven? Shit yeah, folks. The end result is a bit of perfectly cooked and seasoned pork that has a crisp edge on the outside but when you bite into it it has the melted down fatty goodness that we all love and enjoy.
Fucking epic. The orange juice gives the whole thing a solid citrusy dynamic and you can blow some fucking minds with this recipe. On a weeknight yet!
Final verdict time! Is the Instant Pot worth the investment to add to your collection of kitchen toys?
Fuck yes it is.
Buy this little monkey and enjoy.
I will be returning to more normal fare next time but I do promise to incorporate the Instant Pot into my meal preparations going forward.
This has been yeah right from the DFO test kitchens.
Thanks for being there dear readers.
Enjoy your long weekend.