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Simple and Easy Pressure Cooker Pork Tacos
Dinner by pressure cooker has quickly become my go to when cooking. Why? Because of how budget friendly these meals are! I have made it a goal to make all meals under just $4…for the WHOLE family! One go to meal is Taco Tuesday or Instant Pot shredded pork tacos. (yes this one is under $4 per meal for a family of 3! Cost breakdown mentioned below!)
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Not a pork lover? What about chicken? I have a variety of chicken recipes for the instant pot as well as another household staple… spaghetti! (which takes only 10 minutes!)
I freaking LOVE my Instant pot! Mostly because of the simplicity and amount of meals I can prep ahead of time with it. But also because of its numerous functions, like making dessert!
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Tacos or Carnitas
While doing shredded pork sounds more complicated than say throwing in some chicken breasts, I promise this meal is very simple to prepare and cook. Not to mention the flavor of seasoning is just perfect and the pork can be served in more ways than just tacos.
So it is perfect for getting 2 dinners in the week out of the way just by prepping and cooking once! Less cooking? Score!
Did I mention cooking pork in the Instant pot is faster than a crockpot or oven? This recipe below is a 60 minute cook time.
How to make Instant pot shredded pork
The hardest part about this recipe is cutting the pork prior to cooking. Other recipes will have you put the whole shoulder into the pot then cut after.
By pre-cutting pork chunks, you ensure the seasoning covers more which ensures better flavor AND it is far easier to shredded after it is cooked.
Now, I mentioned the pork shoulder above. This is my recommended type of pork you want to use. It is sometimes also listed as pork butt in stores, but its not actually pig butt, just the shoulder.
If you can find a boneless one, even better! Below is how to cook carnitas pork tacos.
- Prep the Seasoning: you will want to pre mix the seasoning for the pork in a small bowl and set it aside for after you cut the pork
- Cut the Pork into Chunks: Once the meat is thawed, you will want to cut 3 pounds worth into small chunks (roughly half your palm size). Then separate into 2 piles
- Shake the Seasoning: So the trick here is to put one pile of the pork chunks into a gallon ziplock bag. Then pour half the amount of the seasoning mix into the bag and close it. Next… you guessed it! SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE! Until the pork is evenly coated. Dump that first group into the instant pot, then repeat with the rest of the pork.
- Cook the Pork: Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot, seal the lid and set it for 60 minutes in high manual cook mode.
- Shred Time: Do quick release once the pork is done cooking. Put the amount you plan to eat or serve into a bowl. Using 2 forks, pull the pork apart to form the size shreds or chunks you desire.
- Taco Time! Serve on your choice of tortilla and add your desired toppings. (I love topping mine with pico de gallo)
Don’t forget to store the leftovers!
If you followed the recipe, then you might have enough for another night of pulled pork. (This recipe lasts us two meals since it is just two adults and a toddler eating it)
The remaining cooked pork will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3 days when sealed in a quality container.
Cost Breakdown for Pressure Cooking Pork
So if you remember I said this meal falls under our “$4 and under” guidelines. My husband and I have taken on the challenge of only buying ingredients to make all meals under $4 for the whole family.
We have been doing extremely well with it and by not going out to eat like we used to, we have been doing awesome with our budget!
Before I quit my teaching job to be a stay at home mom, we used to eat out a lot! We were spending nearly $500 PER MONTH on food! For two of us!
So yea, now that we are one income we had to make changes. And honestly, I don’t miss eating out, the few times we still do it’s a headache trying to decide where to eat.
Back to the $4 taco meal. So here’s the breakdown.
- Boston pork butt (shoulder): $1/lb…I buy roughly 7 lbs worth, which last 3-4 meals.
- Seasoning: $1 per bottle (I buy either Walmart brand or from the dollar store)
I cook 3-4 pounds for this recipe which as I’ve said is enough meat for 2 dinners for 2 adults and a toddler.
So that’s $2 for the meat per meal! Then when you figure in the seasoning that’s a rough estimate of like 30 cents worth…maybe less since I did not sit there and figure out the exact math.
Total cost for the shredded pork: $2.30 per meal
Now, what about sides? Or taco toppings?
We dress our tacos with shredded cheese and pico de Gallo. Which comes down to maybe another $1 worth.
If you choose rice as a side or beans. We all know those are cheap! For us, we do beans (different flavors) from the store brand. One can is $0.58.
So Taco Tuesday Grand Total for 3……$3.88 roughly.
This total is dependent on serving size too, we either eat 2 pork tacos using the medium sized flour tortilla OR 3 street style tacos using the small corn tortillas.
The Full Recipe for Instant Pot Shredded Pork Tacos
This is for those wanting pulled pork for tacos, sandwiches, or a nacho topping.
- 4 pounds pork butt (shoulder) boneless
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp Pico de Gallo mild or hot
- 1 tbsp shredded cheese mexican blend
Using a small bowl, mix all the required dry seasonings together then put aside for later
Take 3-4 pounds of pork (depending on size bought you may have to cut pork butt in half). With the 3-4 lbs, further cut into smaller chunks 10-12 pieces. Trim off excess fat
Add half of the cut pieces into a gallon size ziplock bag along with half of the seasoning mix. Close the bag and shake until the pork is evenly coated.
Dump into the instant pot and repeat the above step with the second half of the cut pork and seasoning.
Add 1 cup water to the instant pot. Close and seal the lid. Cook on the manual setting of high for 60 minutes. Then allow 5 minutes of natural release before manually releasing the rest of the pressure.
Place the cooked pork into a large mixing bowl. (pork only not the liquid) Using 2 forks, shred the pork until your desired texture. Serve on tortillas with your favorite toppings.