Pulled pork is a form of barbecue made from a pork shoulder (sometimes called a butt roast) or a mix of pork cuts. It is typically slow-cooked, a full 8-12 hours, using a smoker or slow-cooker so the meat becomes tender enough to be “pulled” into small pieces.
Pulled pork recipes vary greatly from one region to the next. Where some regions prefer to serve their pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce, other areas of the U.S. prefer their sauce to be tomato-based. And still some areas prefer no sauce at all.
While we are certainly fans of all varieties, the one thing we dislike is waiting two days to eat! Thus, our recipe for pressure cooker pulled pork – the kind you can prepare, cook and eat in under 3 hours.
4-5 pound pork shoulder (butt roast)
2-3 Vidalia onions
5-6 garlic cloves (1/4 cup minced garlic)
3 cups of water
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
1 full recipe of Carolina BBQ sauce
*Note: More garlic and onions are shown than needed. Each garlic head (as shown above) will contain multiple cloves within it.
On the stove top, over medium-high heat, add the oil to the pressure cooker. Once the oil has heated, add the pork shoulder and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the bottom side is brown.
Using cooking tongs or grilling forks rotate the pork shoulder so that all sides brown evenly.
While the meat is cooking, peel your onions and garlic. One garlic head should contain 5-6 garlic cloves so you can buy one head and use however many cloves you get out of it as we have here.
Once peeled, slice the onions. Thickness isn’t a concern as they will break down during cooking.
Once the pork shoulder has been browned on all sides, add the onions and garlic. Add the salt, pepper and water.
Depending on the size of your pork shoulder and the pressure cooker you’re using, you may need to adjust the amount of water you use. You want enough water to cover about 1/3 – 1/2 of the pork shoulder.
Caution! Do not overfill your pressure cooker. Read the instructions that came with your model to determine how full it can be. Typically, it should be no more than 2/3 full to allow plenty of room for steam to build.
Attach the lid to your pressure cooker and bring the ingredients to a boil. Once you have a steady steam coming from the steam valve, flip the petcock closed or if yours is separate, set it on the steam valve.
At this point, you may need to reduce the heat as you don’t want it to continue to build pressure. You just want it to maintain the pressure is has.
Now it’s time to start the timer. You need to pressure the meat for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow it to slowly cool down and drop the pressure.
Once cooled, open the pot and drain the juices – reserving about ½ cup.
Place the meat on a platter or cooking sheet. Remove any remaining onion and garlic pieces or simply mince and add them back to the pan.
Using two forks pull the meat into shreds, discarding the bone and excess fat as you go. When finished, return the meat to the pressure cooker.
Reserve ½ cup of the Carolina BBQ sauce for those who like extra sauce on their sandwich. Pour the remaining sauce over the meat and mix well.
If the mixture seems a little dry, add some of the reserved juices to moisten.
Since the meat will have cooled while being pulled, you may want to warm it and the sauce over medium heat. Alternately, you can let it simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
Toast a dinner roll, hamburger bun or two slices of Texas toast or French bread. Heap each roll with pork. Add an extra dollop of BBQ sauce and/or coleslaw and enjoy.
Yields 8-10 sandwiches or servings
Pulled pork, while excellent as a sandwich, can be used in a variety of ways.
Prefer your meat sliced instead of pulled? No problem! Cut back the cooking time to 40-45 minutes and it should slice rather than shred.
Serve with or without sauce as a stand-alone meat alongside mashed potatoes and gravy.
Eliminate the sauce and create a delicious pork and apple sandwich using Swiss cheese, lettuce, sliced onions, tomato and granny smith apples.
Instead of using our Carolina BBQ sauce, try it with a Cantonese Char Siu Sauce for a sweet, savory finger-licking alternative. Serve with steamed rice.
Not that we expect having any leftovers, but in case you do, you can easily use the meat (with or without sauce) for making taco salads, carnitas or enchiladas. Serve over steamed rice or cooked pasta.
If you haven’t added sauce, you can make breakfast burritos, pulled pork hash, omelets.
Create any number of casseroles from it such as a shepherd’s pie, lasagna, or put a layer of meat on the bottom of a casserole dish and top with cornbread mix or diced potatoes.