One of my favourite recipes to make in an Instant Pot is pulled pork. It’s fuss-free and I can make a big batch of moist, shredded meat in one go and use it up in multiple meals. In today’s recipe, I want to share my Instant Pot pulled pork inspired by the flavours of barbacoa meat recipes.
Barbacoa actually refers to a method of slow-cooking meat such as beef, pork or lamb over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with special maguey leaves. These days, barbacoa meat is often steamed until tender or slow-cooked in a crock pot or over a barbecue. Barbacoa is often associated with Mexican and Caribbean cuisines, and to me, it’s more about the flavours and spices used than the cooking method itself.
This barbacoa pulled pork is juicy, tender and full of gorgeous flavours. I love to serve it on a bed of white rice with a side of salad and guacamole or hot salsa. You can use this pulled pork in tacos, nachos, with fried plantains or sweet potatoes, as a topping over baked jacket potatoes, or as a protein on top of a salad.
You can freeze pulled pork to use up later on or refrigerate it for up to 3 days. This recipe is paleo, gluten-free and Whole30 friendly (omit the honey).
Before you get cooking
Pork: I like using the shoulder or leg of the pork for pulled pork. I generally buy diced pork shoulder or pork steaks and then cut them into smaller pieces. You can use pork, beef or lamb for this recipe.
Chipotle chili: I used chipotle chili flakes, which add smokey flavour and a little heat to the dish without making it too spicy.You can use a whole dried chipotle chili or tinned chipotle chili. Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of regular chili or cayenne pepper.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 brown onion,
- 700 g diced pork (shoulder)
- 5–6 garlic cloves, roughly diced
- 1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili flakes (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Handful of fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add coconut oil and once hot, add the onion and cooke for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add the pork, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the garlic and spices, stir and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button.
- Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual (High Pressure) and adjust to 20 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
- Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 3-4 minutes and then use the quick release method before opening the lid.
- Using a potato masher, press down the meat and flake it into shreds. You could do this with a fork, but I find that the masher works really well. Press Sauté key again and cook the shredded meat in its broth for 7-8 minutes, stirring a few times. This will evaporate some of the liquid and thicken the sauce.
- Serve the pork with extra lime wedges and fresh cilantro.