When I don’t have all day to slow cook pulled pork, I’ll pull out my whizz bang pressure cooker. Pressure cooker pulled pork is just as tender and delicious as slow cooked, but ready in under two hours. We’re going to punch up the flavor in this recipe by reducing the pan juices and adding in one special ingredient. Let’s take a look!
This pressure cooker pulled pork recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo, Low Carb and fantastically tender.
One tasty pressure cooker pulled pork recipe.
Sometimes I forget about my pressure cooker. It doesn’t live in my kitchen simply because space is at a premium. My pressure cooker lives in a bank of cabinets at the top of our stairs. You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Well, it applies really well to my pressure cooker. Recently, however, I had a bone-in pork shoulder in my refrigerator that needed to be cooked. My days were really booked and there was just no way for me to use my easy slow cooked pulled pork recipe.
I thought about chopping up the shoulder into cubes to reduce the cooking time, but with the bone that would have been a complete pain. Then I remembered the pressure cooker and brought it down. Instead of cubing the shoulder, I quartered it. This was done for a couple reasons: first, so it would fit into the pressure cooker and also so I could brown the shoulder really well to increase the flavor profile. Let me tell you, when we are done with this pressure cooker pulled pork, you’re going to love it.
Pulled Pork in the Pressure Cooker
There are a lot of ways to prepare pulled pork. I love smoking it over applewood all day. My family loves the Southwestern flavors I add to my oven slow cooked pulled pork. For parties, I’ll make some slow cooker pulled pork with lots of garlic and cumin. When I’m in a hurry or simply remember that I have a pressure cooker, then I find that pressure cooking is a great method.
At one point, I wasn’t a fan of the pressure cooker for any recipe. I think that it stems back to my first exposure to a pressure cooker. My mother-in-law has this tank of a pressure cooker that spits steam everywhere and looks like it is about to blow up at any minute. Yikes. Nothing could be worth the risk… right?
Well, a pressure cooker is a very versatile tool to have in the kitchen. So, I researched a bunch and ended up buying my own, modernized, tank. I picked up a huge Fagor pressure cooker that we used heavily in our commercial kitchen. When time is always pressing, it is very helpful for breaking down tough cuts quickly. The perfect tool for making pulled pork. As a side note, it is also wonderful for canning and making quick stocks.
QUICK COOKING TIP: Feel free to change or update this recipe, but be careful when adding in “high flavor” ingredients. The pressure cooker tends to concentrate and/or accentuate these ingredients. For example, if you were to add in a craft brewed IPA (if you aren’t gluten free, this might be an option), but the resulting flavor will be really, really bad. The same goes for adding in different vinegars… it is best to add them in after the pressure cooker has worked its magic. The beauty of pressure cooker pulled pork is just how much of the reduced pan juice it will absorb.
Let’s get into the meat of this pressure cooker pulled pork recipe.
- 8 LBS Bone-In Pork Shoulder quartered and fat scored
- 2 TBSP Bacon Fat Or Ghee, Lard etc.
- 1 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1/2 TSP Cracked Black Pepper
- 8 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Onion thickly sliced, Spanish
- 2 Cups Beef or Chicken Stock
- 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar I use Braggs
- Quarter the pulled pork shoulder (working around the bone as best you can). Score the fatty layer with your knife. If you cut into the meat, don't worry about it! Liberally apply salt and pepper to all sides of each quarter.
- Warm your pressure cooker over high heat. Add in the bacon fat or other cooking oil. When it is shimmering in the pan, add in the first quarter of shoulder, fat side down. Brown nicely for about 2 minutes. If you want, brown the other sides as well. Remove from the pan and set aside when browned. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Turn the heat down to medium-high and add in the sliced onion with a pinch of kosher salt. The onion will start to release its liquid and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring well, for five to six minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Turn the heat back to high. Add in the stock and fully deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add the pork back in and secure the lid of the pressure cooker. When the pressure has built (on mine a little yellow button pops up), turn the heat down gradually until it continues to hold the pressure.
- Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Release the pressure (however appropriate with your pressure cooker).
- When the pressure has fully released, remove the lid and remove the pork pieces with some tongs. Lay them on a rimmed baking sheet or something where you can use forks to shred the meat. Start shredding the meat. Make sure you taste some as you go- it's yummy.
- Now we need to defat the pan juices. You can use a gravy separator to do this or wait until the juices cool a bit and the fat rises to the top. When the fat has risen, use a ladle to skim off as much as you can.
- Turn the heat back on under the pressure cooker at medium-high. Reduce the liquid by half. When it has reduced, add in the apple cider vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Pour the pan juice over the shredded pork. When the pork has absorbed as much as it will hold, it's ready to eat. Keep any extra pan juice on the side if you decide to reheat leftovers!
- Serve hot and happy eating!
Final thoughts on the pressure cooker pulled pork recipe:
I love that this recipe is comparably so fast to make. Under two hours when full pork shoulder in the oven is at least six. The results are outstanding and you’re going to have enough pulled pork to use in a ton of different recipes. Here are a couple that you might want to try out:
Healthy Pulled Pork Soup: Delicious with kale, zucchini and homemade stock.
Pulled Pork Tacos: Spiced up with a homemade chipotle sauce!
Low Carb Chicken Fajitas: Just replace the chicken with the pulled pork.
Hopefully you’ll give this pressure cooker pulled pork recipe a try soon. It won’t disappoint.