Masitas de Puerco, or Fried Pork Chunks, is one of my favorite Cuban dishes. Traditionally it is made by boiling marinaded pieces of pork in a large pot of water and lard. The boiling water tenderizes the meat and once the water has evaporated and boiled off, the lard is left in the pot and then the pork is fried in that fat until it is crispy. It’s an ingenious method of cooking and is the perfect way to get juicy pork with a crispy crunchy outside. However, this method takes quite a bit of time and I have to admit I have never tried doing it this way because I was always so intimidated. So it was always a dish I saved for ordering at restaurants or left to my elders who really knew what they were doing. Until now!
Over the years I worked on lots of pork recipes for the Instant Pot and I always loved how it could tenderize pork so quickly. I realized that the Instant Pot could easily take the place of the boiling aspect of this recipe. But I was not sure how to simulate the frying. As son as the Vortex Plus/Omni came out it solved all my problems. By combining the Instant Pot and the Instant Air Fryers, I could convert this wonderful recipe into a weeknight meal that took less time, was much healthier, but still had the same flavor and texture as the original.
Instant Pot and Air Fried Cuban Pork Chunks
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez
- 2 – 2 1/2 lbs Country Style Pork Ribs, boneless (you can use other boneless pork cuts, but it is important to make sure you use cuts that have good distribution of fat.)
- 1 cup Goya Mojo Marinade (If you want to make your Mojo from scratch, you can find a homemade recipe here.)
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 sliced Onion
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
Seasoning for Air Fryer
- 2 Tbl Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tbl Sazon Completa seasoning
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 Lime (this is squeezed over the pork when done just before serving.)
**You can use this method of cooking the Pork with your own marinade and seasoning.**
Cut the boneless Country Style Pork meat into 2 inch chunks and place in a Gallon Ziploc bag. DO NOT trim off the fat.
Slice 1/2 of an Onion and 3 minced cloves of Garlic, and add to the Ziploc bag.
Pour 1 cup Mojo Marinade and 1/2 cup cold Water into the Ziploc bag with Pork, Onion, and Garlic, and marinade in the fridge for 24 hours (you can marinade for a minimum of 4 hours but longer is better).
When done marinading and ready to cook, pour the entire contents of the Ziploc bag into your Instant Pot. Lock the Instant Pot Lid into place and make sure the Valve is set to the Sealed position. Pressure cook on High for 22 mins and allow to Natural Pressure Release completely which will take 15-20 mins.
While the Pork is cooking, in a small bowl mix together 2 Tbl Olive Oil, 1/2 Tbl Sazon Completa seasoning, and 1/4 tsp Salt. Set aside.
When the Pork is done cooking and all the pressure is released, using tongs, transfer the Pork to a bowl. Try not to get any liquid. Drizzle the Olive Oil and Seasoning mixture over the Pork and gently toss to coat all the Pork.
Air Frying in Instant Omni/Omni Plus
Preheat the Omni on Air Fry at 425 degrees.
Place the pieces of Pork on the Air Fry basket tray that comes with the Omni. Leave space between the pieces.
Place the drip pan on the very lower level and the baking rack on the middle level of the Omni. Place the Air Fry Basket Tray on the Baking Tray.
Preheat the Omni by selecting Air Fry at 425 degree F for 5 mins. (the picture shows 10 mins but I only cooked them for 5 mins.) You do not need to flip.
Air Frying in Instant Vortex Plus
Place the Pork on the Slotted Baking Tray.
Preheat the Vortex Plus on Air Fry at 400 degrees for 10 mins.
Add the tray of Pork to the middle position. If you need to use 2 trays, place one tray on the bottom position and one tray in the middle position. Rotate halfway through cooking.
Once the Pork is done Air Frying and the outside of the Pork is golden brown, remove to a bowl or serving plater. Squeeze with Lime and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Serve.