Better Than Smoked Pulled Pork

All You Need:

6-9lb Pork shoulder
4 Pork Tenderloins 
3/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/8-1/4 teaspoon Cayenne (depending on heat preference)
Instant Pot (the link takes you to the one I use)

What You Do:

If using the pork shoulder, debone and trim the shoulder first. Then, regardless of what cut of meat you are using, cut into chunks about the size of your fist. Mix spices in a small bowl and rub each hunk of meat generously. 

Pour water into the Instant Pot insert pot. Place the trivet in the bottom of the pot, and lay meat on the trivet. Set the vent to Seal, and turn on the Instant Pot on. Set to Pressure Cook for 1 hour and 50 minutes. 

Once the timer completes, allow the pressure to naturally release. Then, carefully remove the meat to a separate bowl (using tongs) and shred.

The Wordy Bit

Who doesn't love pulled pork? I sure love it, but I don't own a smoker. So, I set about trying to replicate that buttery smooth texture and deep, almost spicy flavor that can be eaten both with or without barbecue sauce. My husband and I work on a lot of my recipes together. He provides honest and critical feedback, and he even offers ideas and suggestions on how to improve either the process or the recipe. Typically, his recipe suggestions don't work out too well...but his process suggestions are stellar. He had the idea to use the trivet to put a little distance between the water and the meat. Even though the fat renders and moisture pulls from the meat throughout the process (you may notice the meat partially submerged when done), it has a very different mouth feel to it than it did before using the trivet. 

Also, we recently swapped from using a bone-in pork shoulder to pork tenderloins. The reasons are many, but availability and reducing prep time were the primary factors. We can't always get our hands on the picnic shoulders, but tenderloins are available year round. Also, the waste is less since you don't have to trim around the bone or trim fat. By reducing waste, you don't have to buy as much meat weight-wise. Not to mention, the prep time went from 45 minutes to 15! 

This is our favorite way to prepare pulled pork, and it freezes well using any method. Because of how we do dinner, I always store my meal prep foods in single-servings. That way, we all don't have to eat the same thing for dinner (even though we typically do).

As a reminder, this post does contain affiliate links, and I can make money on any qualified purchases.


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