Ode to the Instant Pot with a Quick Pork Shoulder

Quick pork shoulder? Yes. Quick pork shoulder. I realize this is a cut generally relegated to the slow cooker or oven for hours of braising. However, thanks to the recommendation from a friend, I purchased the Instant Pot during Amazon Prime day and I haven't regretted that decision for a moment. The Instant Pot is the modern day pressure cooker. I can make perfect brown rice in 20 minutes, pre-soaked cannelini beans in 12 minutes, and today I'm making pork shoulder in 90 minutes. From Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass: "Pressure cookers are making a comeback," declared Mario Barros in her New York Times column, "Eating Well" (February 3, 1988). "There is no clear explanation of why they ever went out of fashion," she continued, "but now they are particularly appealing because they make it possible to cook many healthful foods like dried beans and peas in a very short time." Sass, goes on to suppose that upgrades to the original pressure cookers, along with even shorter cook times brought back this kitchen workhorse. Now, with the new electric pressure cookers, even with more safety features and need for little to no oils, they're making another comeback!

The Instant Pot has replaced my slow cooker on the kitchen bookcases

We were away from Wednesday to Saturday of last week. I usually meal plan and shop for the following week during that time. Consequently, come Sunday, I was a little at a loss for what to make for the week. Add in a generous friend who invited us to swim at their home and have dinner with them, and I only managed to grab a pork shoulder from the freezer to thaw. Fast forward to today. It was 2:00pm and I hadn't finished a plan for dinner. Then I remembered...the Instant Pot! After consulting a few websites as well as the recipe book that accompanied the purchase, I decided we could do pork rice bowls tonight. At 3:00 I fired up the pot, sautéd the pork in some oil to brown it and turned the pot back off. I then added water, smoked salt and kosher salt, and placed the lid on. After selecting "manual" for 90 minutes and setting the steam valve to closed, I sat down to write this post and check work messages. In 90 minutes + 20 minutes depressurizing, I will have the pork ready to go for tonight's dinner! This is extremely exciting to me for many reasons, not the least of which is that I no longer have to worry about figuring out how to get the slow cooker to work when I'm away for longer than a prescribed cook time. We can also decide to have rice at a moment's notice. Truly, this is just the start, I have seen many blogs, Facebook pages, etc. devoted to this Instant Pot and the things you can do with it. For now, I will share this recipe, and say that we're definitely off to a great start with this new kitchen purchase!

Instant Pot Pork Shoulder

4 lbs pork shoulder cut into two pieces
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon smoked salt
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Set the Instant Pot to sauté and brown the pork on all sides, removing to a platter as each piece finishes. Turn off Pot, add in water, put back in pork along with any accumulated juices. Sprinkle salts over top, put on lid. Select manual setting for 90 minutes, place valve in closed position. Wait until done, do not quick release pressure.

Shred pork and enjoy with favorite toppings!


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