Instant Pot Pork Shoulder Is the Ultimate Easy Meal Prep

Instant Pots are a godsend when it comes to speeding up and simplifying trickier dishes. But they’re also a good tool for making staple dinners even easier. 

Case in point? The Instant Pot Pork Shoulder. If you’re not using your Instant Pot to break down huge chunks of meat, you haven’t unlocked its full potential. The cooking process is no-fuss, with only 10 minutes of active time and a little more than an hour of low-key waiting. While it’s cooking, take advantage of that time and get something done. I’ll walk my dog a few miles, and by the time we’re back, my entire apartment smells delicious.

Easy never tasted so awesome.

The relatively quick and easy cooking process isn’t even the only bragging point: One pork shoulder makes a lot of food, and that helps make planning out your next few meals a breeze. 

Watch: 11 Things You Didn’t Know Your Instant Pot Could Do

Pork shoulder is a flavorful cut of meat, so a little bit of seasoning goes a long way. You can make a fine pork shoulder with garlic cloves, kosher salt, and black pepper, or you can take things in a different direction by adding some spice: Coriander, adobo, paprika, oregano, chili powder, brown sugar, and cumin will all add some dimension to an Instant Pot pork shoulder, and most of those spices mix well. Adding acidity through citrus, whether it’s lime juice or orange halves, will also amplify the flavor of the pork shoulder. 

The first thing you need to do is prep the meat. Trim off excess fat and cut the shoulder into at least four pieces. Make some slits in the pork with a paring knife and stuff each one with half a garlic clove. Sprinkle salt and pepper (and whatever extra seasoning you like) evenly all over the pork. If it helps, mix everything together in a bowl for more even coverage. 

Now it’s Instant Pot time. Press “Saute” and wait a few minutes for your Instant Pot to warm up. Add two teaspoons of olive oil, and then cook the pork, two pieces at a time, until it’s browned on all sides. Keep a plate out so you have somewhere to store the meat. Once all the pork is browned, put it back it in the pot and press “Cancel.” Close and seal the Instant Pot and set it to cook at high pressure for 65 minutes. 

After the Instant Pot is done cooking and venting, shred that pork with a fork or a mixer if you’re feeling fancy. There is going to be juice: Do not pour it down the drain, especially if you used lots of seasoning. The juice has transformative flavor power, plus it’ll keep leftover meat from drying out. 

Unless you’re feeding a lot of people, you’re probably going to have pork for days. Don’t worry, we’ve already come up with some ways to enjoy the leftovers:

  • Treat that pork shoulder like carnitas and make tacos. Top the meat with cilantro, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, or a vinegar-lime slaw made from cabbage or a bag mix.
  • Speaking of vinegar-lime slaw, rice vinegar and pork shoulder are a winning combination. Warm up some pork, scoop it over salad greens, and add the slaw instead of dressing. It’s so tasty you won’t even realize it’s healthy.
  • Save some pork for breakfast and serve it with eggs or hash.
  • Put it on top of tortilla chips and make Cuban Nachos.
  • Pressure cooked pork is essentially fast barbecue, so add your favorite sauce and make a pulled pork sandwich.
  • Stuff leftover pork into a baked (or sweet) potato.

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