Summer is all about fresh produce, yes, but it’s also about burgers and hot dogs and ribs and pulled pork. If you are a fan of pulled pork, we are here to tell you that you need this easy Instant Pot recipe. As someone who cooks every day for a living, I don’t easily obsess over recipes. This is an exception! Among its virtues: It is dead easy. It calls for very few ingredients. And it yields an incredibly delicious source of protein that I can use to make meals all week long — without getting bored once.
How to Turn Pulled Pork into Easy Weeknight Meals
One pork shoulder will give you tons of leftovers that can be used for an endless variety of meals. I promise that everything you make with your pulled pork will be more delicious for it. Here are a few ideas:
1. Taco Tuesday
All you need for a simple and delicious taco night are your favorite tortillas or wraps, avocado, and quick-pickled red onion. No cheese or sour cream required. Unless, of course, you want the works!
2. Burrito Bowls and Other Bowls
Pile pulled pork into a bowl with avocado, chunks of roasted sweet potato, corn, tomatoes, and raw, pickled, or fermented cabbage for an epic burrito bowl. If you eat rice and/or beans, add them too. And while I love topping the whole thing with sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), just a drizzle of fresh lime juice and sprinkle of fresh cilantro and chopped white onion will do.
You can also pair pulled pork with pilaf or cauliflower rice, chopped cucumber and tomato salad, lemony tahini and Feta cheese for a Greek-ish bowl. Or warm the meat in coconut milk with chickpeas, curry powder, fresh garlic, and ginger. Serve over rice with roasted cauliflower, plain yogurt flavored with lime juice, and cilantro. The possibilities are endless!
3. Shortcut Meat Sauce
Classic Italian-style meat sauce is slow cooked, but you can cheat your way there by adding pulled pork to your favorite jarred tomato sauce. I like starting with a low- or no-sugar added marinara so that I can build my own flavor by cooking the meat in just a touch of olive oil with chopped fresh onion and garlic before adding the sauce.
4. Dinner-Worthy Sandwiches
Sandwiches are underrated as a dinner food, especially when you make them using pulled pork. If you aren’t big on eating tons of bread, use just half of a roll and add more meat and veg: open face sandwiches for the win!
The Easiest Instant Pot Pulled Pork
This recipe, adapted from Make It Easy, is one of the easiest recipes out there, calling for just 3 ingredients. Once you master this basic recipe, consider riffing on it. Add smashed garlic cloves, a halved jalapeno, and/or fresh or dried oregano to the mix. You can also rub the pork with cumin and coriander and brown before adding everything else and setting the pressure cooker to do its thing. Carnitas is as delicious dressed up as it is dressed down.
- 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice (from about 2 juicy oranges)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Trim the pork of some of the excess fat around the outside, being sure to leave some on to aid in the cooking. Keep in mind that the pork is cooked in its fat, so you don’t want to get rid of it all! Cut the pork into 2-inch-thick strips or chunks.
- Place the meat, along with the orange juice, salt, and bay leaf, in the insert of your Instant Pot. Toss to coat the meat with the juice, then cover, and set the valve to pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes, and when done, release the pressure manually.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a large bowl and use two forks to shred the meat. (Reserve some of the cooking liquid, especially if you plan on storing leftovers in the refrigerator.) At this point, you can serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.
- Optional: Add any portion of shredded meat that you plan on serving immediately to a nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Cook, undisturbed for about 5 minutes, until the underside is crispy. Toss and cook for another 5 minutes or so, to crisp the meat some more. If at any point the meat begins to dry out, add a splash of the leftover cooking liquid.