Monday, July 1, 2013

Pressure Cooker Pulled-Pork

Through the years I've made pulled pork a number of ways—slow corker, oven, and smoker. I love this dish for summer gatherings and it is always a popular meal choice.

Recently I discovered what is now my all-time favorite way to prepare pulled pork—with my pressure cooker. I tried this recipe while working on a newspaper article for the Topeka Capital-Journal about this much-maligned piece of kitchen equipment, and now it's my go-to one.  

Pressure cookers work by trapping steam inside, which in turn increases the pressure and temperature to a higher level than can be reached in a normal pan—thirty-eight degrees higher, to be exact. Food cooks faster, retains more flavors, and uses less energy. Plus, a pressure cooker is perfect for summertime, since the steam stays inside the pan instead of heating up your kitchen. (For tips on using a pressure cooker, check out my article here. You can also find the recipe I made for pressure-cooker Citrus Grain Salad here.)

This pulled pork recipe is easy! Instead of taking 6 to 12 hours to make, this one only takes 45 minutes
under pressure to cook a 4-pound pork shoulder. Including preparation, getting the pressure cooker up to full pressure, and the cooling off time, the recipe only takes about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish.

The flavor of this pulled pork recipe is amazing! The Picky Eater liked it and enjoyed the leftovers the next day. The liquid from the preparation makes a delicious sauce, or you can serve it with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
Adapted from Pressure Cooker Perfection by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 4-pound pork butt roast (also known and pork shoulder), cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
6 to 8 hamburger buns

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the pork pieces. In the pressure cooker, whisk together the cider vinegar, water, ketchup and liquid smoke. Add the pork pieces into the pot.

Seal the lid, and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure over medium-high heat. When the cooker reaches high pressure, lower the heat to medium-low or lower, and cook for 45 minutes. If needed, adjust the heat to keep at high pressure.

Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and allow it to sit with the lid still locked for 15 minute to naturally release the pressure. After 15 minutes, quick release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid and place the pork to a large bowl. Return the pressure cooker to the stove without the lid. Skim off any fat from the top of the sauce in the cooker. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened and reduced to approximately 2 cups, 10 to 15 minutes.

When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the pork, and serve the rest on the side. You may also serve with your favorite barbecue sauce. Spoon the pork onto the buns and serve. 


  1. One of my favorite slow cooker meals! It's raining again today ... it's either slow cooker or soup ... can't decide which!

  2. I actually drooled at this. My god, i love a good pork sandwich, but pulled slow cooker pork just sounds THE BEST! What a recipe :)

  3. This is a wonderful looking dish. I have never tried to make pulled pork…and I have never used a pressure cooker. I have these very bad memories of one blowing up when I was a kid…I was not there, only heard the stories!

  4. I want to marry my pressure cooker....

    This looks wonderful!

  5. Your pulled pork looks wonderful, and it's hard to believe you can prepare it in 45 minutes. What a great recipe!

  6. Dear Linda, My mom used a pressure cooker all the time. I have never tried cooking with one.
    This sounds amazing to have a pulled pork ready in 45 minutes! It sounds very good.
    Have a beautiful week.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  7. I love this, I think that kind of food is from Venezuela. Could also be from Argentina. I have rented an apartment ther in 4rentargentina and it went very good.

  8. I made a 8 1/2lb pork shoulder in a 10quart pressure cooker!!!!brought it in for a work Christmas party!!I will never use a slow cooker again!maybe just to reheat it but that is it!everyone from work wants the recipe!!!!!!

  9. I know! Once you do this with a pressure cooker, you will never make it any other way. It is so easy and so delicious!

  10. I followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect. I made it a second time using a couple of additions. I put in 2 level teaspoona of Turmeric and I can of Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (you can get these at Wal-Mart, Publix, etc in the ethic food section). When you use the chipotles in the adobo sauce you can skip the liquid smoke. The peppers will give it the smoke flavor. Also, just to mention, it does make it spicy....but not terrible so.

  11. Kelvin, I love the idea of using chipotles for both spice and smoke! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I don't actually own an Instapot! I use a traditional stove-top pressure cooker.