By 300 Sandwiches
As we finished up work at our respective jobs, we texted each other to brainstorm ideas for dinner. “Let’s gets something we can make in the pressure cooker,” E typed. I did some Googling. Pulled pork.
I usually make pulled pork on the weekends because it takes all day, or two. You have to let the meat simmer in its juices for hours, usually in a slow cooker. I either start the slow cooker overnight the night before I want to have lunch, or at 8 am, before yoga, so it’s ready by dinner. But during the week, I cannot think that far in advance to plan a slow cooker meal. I can barely plan out making a pot of coffee—you know how many mornings I start coffee, only to realize we’re out of creamer?
According to several recipes I found online, like this one, pressure cooking allows for pulled pork to be cooked in 45 minutes. That’s faster than it takes to get to savasana in my yoga class! “I’ll go to the store and get the goods,” I told E.
That’s something else I also usually would not do—I usually save big grocery purchases, like whole chickens or a roast, for weekend dinners. But here I was, on a Monday night, asking the butcher at Whole Foods for a 4 pound pork butt. Ambitious, right? Even more so when the butcher hands you the 5 pound piece because she didn’t want to cut off a pound of pork from the round. We’ll certainly have leftovers.
I met E at home, and got to work. “Whoa, woman! That’s a huge piece of meat!” he said.
We started cooking around 8:30 PM, but we had dinner all set in about 90 minutes. On the couch, watching the news, eating pulled pork sandwiches in 90 minutes! Mrs. Schulte, I, too thank you for such a wonderful birthday gift.
“This is a game changer,” E said. “We can do this every night!” Hell, we could start catering events if we can bang out pulled pork in about an hour.
Slow cooking is for the weekend, or for those who are patient, or who like to plan in advance, or who aren’t hungry right this minute. Pressure cooking? That’s my kind of weekday whip appeal.
1 4 to 5 pound pork butt or shoulder
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup apple cider
1 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 scallions, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
1 cup vegetable oil
6 to 8 hoagie rolls
extra barbecue sauce
*read instructions on your pressure cooker before cooking. We, like, sorta skimmed them because we’re overgrown children who just want to play with toys before reading the manuals. But please, cook responsibly.
Add sugar, sweet paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper into a small bowl. Mix with fingers. Cut pork into several pieces. Rub sugar mixture all over pork. In a large skillet (or, right into the pressure cooker pot, as we did), brown pork for about 3 minutes on each side until golden on outside. Remove meat from pot when brown and set aside.
Add cider, water, ketchup and liquid smoke to pot, whisk together and simmer for a minute. Then add pork into the juices. Cover pressure cooker with top, lock, and bring to high pressure. When high pressure is reached, reduce heat to medium low or low. Let cook for 45 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain pressure as necessary.
When ready, remove from heat to let pressure inside cooker come down naturally, and let rest about 15 minutes. Then remove pork from pressure cooker and place in large bowl or dish. Skim fat off of remaining juice, and then simmer in pot for another 5-1O minutes until it reduces. Pour or ladle over meat. Shred with two forks into bite sized pieces for sandwiches.
Fry shallots in 1 cup hot oil in a small sauce pan. Toast rolls. Spread barbecue sauce on rolls if desired (or you can use some leftover juice from the pressure cooker) and spoon on pork, fried shallots, and scallions. Serve. You’ll have enough to feed 6 to 8 people.
Like this Midwest food writer did, I adapted the America’s Test Kitchen version of this recipe—they don’t say to brown the meat first, but we did just to get some color on the pork, and because we had five pounds of it, not four. Skip this step if you really want to have dinner on the table fast.by