Guess what friends?! Memorial day celebrations are just a couple of days away. Which means that sunny days of Summer are around the corner. And a bunch of fellow bloggers and I have put together a beyond-epic list of all of the recipes you’ll need thanks to Erin (The Speckled Palate) and Susannah (Feast and West). It’s time for the Great Blogger BBQ! Oh yeahhhh.
For my contribution, I decided to pull out the big guns with pork. Pulled pork. Pressure cooker pulled pork! Because you know what’s magical? Pressure cookers. They cut cooking time down by hours and hours. Especially for foods that require low and slow cooking to release the superb goodness—like fall-apart pulled pork. And less time in the kitchen means more time outside with your favorite summer adult beverage. Huzzah!
So how do pressure cookers speed cooking time up? Well when you boil water normally, the temperature at which that happens is determined by the pressure of the system. Aka when you go to boil water on your stove, atmospheric pressure determines that the temperature of boiling water is at 212⁰F. No matter how much you increase the heat, the temperature will not increase—you will only cause more water to change into steam at a faster rate. But when you change the pressure, the temperature at which water boils changes. That’s why you might see different cooking instructions for high altitude locations such as in Denver where the pressure of the air is different.
When you seal a pot of boiling water, the pressure increases inside of the pot because the steam becomes trapped. When that happens, the temperature of the entire system is forced to increase so that the boiling point of water also increases. In the majority of pressure cookers, the safety settings allow enough pressure to build up so that the boiling point of water is as high as 250⁰F. And higher temperature is better when we want to speed cooking up.
Additionally, the increased pressure forces the steam to circulate through the pressure cooker, and most importantly, through the food. And steam, or wet heat, is more efficient than dry heat. So really hot steam + pushing that steam through the interior of your food = really freaking fast cooking!
And voila! There you have it—pressure cooker magic. See below for the full recipe for perfect pressure cooker pulled pork! And check out the other 50 recipe ideas for a smashing summer shindig. Scroll down to see the recipes for our Great Blogger BBQ below!
Caution: Please consult your particular pressure cooker for safety instructions including pressure signals, etc. The instructions below are for a stovetop pressure cooker, so if you have an electric pressure cooker, use the high pressure setting and follow specific instructions included with your unit.
Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
4 pounds pork shoulder/butt roast (boneless)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 cups favorite barbeque sauce, separated, plus more if desired
Freshly ground black pepper
- If on your pork, remove the elastic string holding the meat together. Cut the pork shoulder into two big pieces.
- Put the pressure cooker vessel on the stove with the vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown one half of the pork briefly on each side, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the other piece. Place on the plate with the other half.
- Add the water and 1 cup of the barbecue sauce to the pressure cooker. Mix together to blend and bring to a simmer. When simmering, add the pork and any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
- Put the top on the pressure cooker and seal. Bring the heat up to medium-high in order to increase the pressure.
- When steam begins to exit the pressure cooker (and depending on the type of pressure cooker, when the metal bobber at the top of the lid begins to wiggle), reduce the heat to the lowest setting. This will maintain pressure, but prevent all of the liquid from evaporating.
- Set the timer for 75 minutes.
- After 75 minutes, turn the heat off and let the pressure cooker neutralize pressure naturally. Depending on your type, this could take 5-30 minutes.
- When the pressure has come down, carefully remove the lid. Take the pork out of the pressure cooker vessel and place on a large cutting board. Strain the cooking liquid into a large bowl to reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid.
- Use a fork to shred the pork removing the large pieces of fat as you go. Discard the excess fat.
- Return the shredded pork to the pressure cooker with the reserved cooking liquid, 1 cup barbecue sauce, and several cracks of freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat on medium low, and stir to combine. When heated through and mixed together, taste. Add more barbecue sauce or black pepper if desired.
- Serve on rolls or simply by the forkful! If you are not serving the pulled pork immediately, refrigerate in a sealed container and reheat with extra barbecue sauce. This will also freeze rather well.
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