Kudos to you if you have reached this post out of the desire to use a pressure cooker (and apologies if you have accidentally meandered over here with no real intention of approaching something as ambitious as pressure cooking). Most home cooks - even the very determined ones – have formed a hideous association with pressure cooking, mainly because of the idea that it will undoubtedly end in a loud explosion and remnants of your would-be meal strewn about the kitchen with no hope of ever being completely mopped up. The truth is that most modern day pressure cookers are pretty foolproof and dead easy to operate. I say that as if I actually had the fortitude to touch any of the buttons or even just release the pressure valve, but alas that brave task went to my partner (perhaps you too have someone at home who is not illogically afraid of steam and willing to lend a hand in your pressure cooker escapades). I love the idea of pressure cooking though, even if my irrational mind gets the better of me in the actual application of it.
Since you’re clearly still committed if you’ve read all the way to this point (or you’re my mum and therefore literally reading every post – Hi Leanne!), I should take a brief moment to explain about the sauce in this recipe. Similar to my smoker pulled pork, this recipe eschews the traditional tomato-heavy BBQ sauce and instead utilizes a North Carolina style vinegar sauce, which is much more acid-forward than your classic store bought sauce, but SO much better at bringing out the natural flavor of the pork without rendering it overpoweringly sweet or tangy. Unlike the South Carolina sauce featured in the smoker pulled pork, this sauce relies less on mustard for bite and more on the pungency of apple cider vinegar. The result is spectacularly sharp and bracing alongside the tender unctuousness of the pork. Well worth risking the integrity (and cleanliness) of your kitchen ceiling for, I’d say.
BA’s Best: Pulled Pork with Vinegar Sauce
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
**It should be noted that this recipe requires the use of a pressure cooker.
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (packed)
4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
3 lb boneless pork shoulder, sliced into 1-inch slabs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup beer (I used a pilsner)
Soft buns and coleslaw, for serving
North Carolina Vinegar Sauce:
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
¾ cup ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp dark brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Start the pulled pork the night before you want to eat it. Combine the 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, kosher salt, mustard powder, pepper, and onion powder in a medium-sized bowl. Place the pork slices in the bowl and rub them all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Set the pressure cooker to the ‘Brown’ setting and place the olive oil in the pot of the cooker. Working in batches, sear the pork slices until they are browned on both sides. Transfer the seared pork slices to a plate. Once all the pork has been browned, transfer the slices back to the pressure cooker pot along with the chicken broth, beer, and any pork juice from the plate. Lock the lid in place, making sure that the vent is set to ‘Pressure’ mode. Set the pressure cooker on low for 45 minutes and hit ‘Start’. Once time has elapsed, vent the steam manually or allow 10-15 minutes for the pressure to release naturally. Unlock the lid and transfer the pork to a large platter or cutting board. Discard the juices left in the pot.
While the pork cooks, make the vinegar sauce by placing all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat slightly and vigourously simmer for 20-30 minutes. The sauce will still be fairly runny.
Shred the pork with 2 forks (or your fingers) and serve with vinegar sauce on the side or lightly drizzled overtop the meat. Pile the shredded pork on a soft bun topped with shredded cabbage or coleslaw. I like my slaw to be pretty simple so as to not detract from the pork. I find that finely shredding a small head of red cabbage, tossing it with a few spoonfuls of vinegar (preferably NOT plain white – something like rice vinegar or sherry vinegar, with a touch of sweetness to it), a diced jalapeño, a handful of chopped mint, and a sprinkle of kosher salt is ideal for such a rich dish.