How do you get juicy, tender, flavorful pulled pork in under 2 hours? You pressure cook it. I'd happily enter this recipe in any barbecue competition, though I'd rather save the pork for myself!
This recipe from the book Pressure Cooker Perfection by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen is a winner. Even better for us in Ohio, it can be made inside, year round. My dad made sure to ask for some for his Father's day meal, and we'll be enjoying it many more times to come.
The pork is simply prepared with a sweet-spicy rub, the juices that result from containing all the flavor in the pressure cooker get boiled down to make fantastic barbecue sauce. Slow and low definitely has its place, but I'm glad to be able to bring the barbecue inside in a fraction of the time most other pulled pork recipes call for.
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar, plus extra as needed (I used light brown sugar.)
2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 (4-pound) boneless pork roast (often labeled Boston butt), trimmed and cut crosswise into 4 pieces
3/4 cup cider vinegar, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
6-8 hamburger buns (we like King's Hawaiian)
Step 2: Prepare Pork
Combine sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, then rub mixture evenly over pork.
Combine vinegar, water, ketchup, and liquid smoke in pressure cooker pot.
Step 3: Cook Pork
Nestle spice-rubbed pork into pot.
Lock pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.
Remove pot from heat and allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
6-quart Electric Pressure cooker instructions: Pressure cook on high 45 minutes, turn the cooker off immediately after the pressurized cooking time and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes; do not let the cooker switch to the warm setting. Use the browning setting to simmer the sauce in the next step.
Step 4: Pull Pork, Reduce Sauce, Enjoy
Transfer pork to large plate or bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding any fat. Using large spoon (I used a fat separator then transferred sauce to small saucepan), skim excess fat from surface of sauce. Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until thickened and measures 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, extra sugar (I add about 1/4 cup light brown sugar; we like sweet bbq sauce), and extra vinegar (I add 1 tsp. at the end of simmering to brighten the flavor) to taste.
Stir 1 cup sauce into shredded pork, then add extra sauce to taste.
Serve shredded pork on buns with remaining sauce.
Add some coleslaw and baked beans for an authentic Southern barbecue worthy meal.