If you don’t have an air fryer or you want the more traditional dish that you would find in any good Cuban restaraunt, this is the recipe for you! If you want a version of this dish that’s finished int he air fryer, click here for the recipe Instant Pot and Air Fryer Pork Chunks.
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 Cuban Fried Pork
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
- 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.
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.
While the Pork rests, heat Vegetable/Peanut oil (or any oil you like to deep fry with) in a large dutch oven or deep pan so that you have about 2 inches of oil. Heat oil to 350 – 375 degree F.
Gently add a few pieces of Pork at time to the oil and fry until crispy and brown for about 3 – 5 mins, turning over in oil to fry all sides.
Once the Pork is browned on all sides, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and continue frying the rest of the pieces.
Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp Salt and serve with squeeze of Lime.