Recipe Review

This Instant Pot Pulled Pork Delivers Low-and-Slow Flavor in a Fraction of the Time

published Jul 8, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

The fact that the easy pulled pork recipe from Tastes Better from Scratch (Lauren Allen) has a five-star rating from hundreds of reviewers isn’t the only thing that piqued my interest.

The recipe also offers instructions for cooking in the oven, the slow cooker, and the Instant Pot, which was the option that intrigued me the most. I was very curious to see how the pork would fare with an abbreviated cook time in pressure-cooker mode. The recipe also employs a spice rub that includes a modest amount of brown sugar, balanced by heady spices including my favorite one: cumin. But perhaps most intriguing was the liquid used to cook the pork: Coca-Cola. I was excited to see how all of these elements would come together in my kitchen.

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

How to Make Tastes Better from Scratch’s Pulled Pork

The recipe first asks you to cut a four-pound pork shoulder roast into four pieces. (I chose boneless because the author prefers this, and it’s easier to cut into pieces.) You then make a spice rub consisting of brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper; this is rubbed onto the pork and can go on the night before — an option that I took.

There’s an optional searing step, which I also took, choosing to do so in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Then I poured the cola over the pork, closed the lid, and set the machine to cook on high pressure for 70 minutes. After the cooking time was over, I allowed the pressure to release naturally, then removed the pork and shredded the meat. The recipe indicates you can stir in bottled barbecue sauce at the end, but I just used a ladleful of the cooking liquid.

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Tastes Better from Scratch’s Pulled Pork

While this recipe only took around two hours total to cook (including searing, bringing to pressure, cooking under pressure, and releasing pressure), it tastes like an all-day slow-cooked pork shoulder. It was deliciously robust, with a subtle and not-at-all cloying sweetness from the cola and slightly earthy taste, thanks to the cumin. The pork was very moist and quite tender; even though it was braised in liquid, the meat didn’t taste diluted. It was porky-rich and made for great pulled pork sandwiches.

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

If You’re Making Tastes Better from Scratch’s Pulled Pork, a Few Tips

  1. Let the spice rub sit on the pork overnight. Doing so helps the flavor permeate completely throughout the meat. 
  2. Take the time to sear. Although this step is listed as optional, it adds so much depth to the final dish. Don’t be in a rush; get a good brown crust on the pork. You’ll be rewarded in the end with a delicious bark, which translates to deep, delicious flavor.
  3. Try adding smoked paprika. If you’d like a little bit of smoky essence that nods to pitmaster-style barbecue, try adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika to the spice rub.

Overall rating: 9/10