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Pressure Cooker Pork Shoulder Recipe

Pressure Cooker Pork Shoulder Recipe

© 2013 ePressureCooker.com

Here is a basic recipe for cooking pork shoulder (also known as pork butt and a number of other supermarket meat cuts detailed here) in your electric pressure cooker. Cooked pork shoulder is very versatile, and can be used for a number of dishes and cuisines: carnitas, pork tacos, enchiladas, posole, empanadas, hash, pulled pork, BBQ sandwiches, open faced sandwiches, sweet and sour pork, or even a hearty Italian ragu. Pork shoulder may not have the glamorous visual impact of a pork rib roast or a pork crown roast, but it has great flavor, its incredibly versatile, and it has an economical price that will wow your wallet, as well.

Shopping Tips. I’ve already given shopping tips how to get the best possible deal on pork shoulder elsewhere on this site, but I’ll add a few additional tips here. There are a couple of times each year when you’re more likely to get a good deal on pork shoulder: before May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and just before the New Year (it’s a tradition to make tamales for New Year’s). I recommend you purchase whole shoulder (bone-in or boneless), both because it’s the most economical way of buying it, and because when it is packaged in vacuum sealed plastic bags, its often good for a couple of weeks (check your expiration date before purchasing). Use some now, cut the uncooked meat up into 1 or 2 pound chunks, and freeze for later use. (The USDA says uncooked meat will last longer, and preserve its quality longer, in the freezer than cooked meat will.) The bonus is, with a pressure cooker, you don’t have to defrost the pork before cooking it, you can put it in the pot as usual and just add 5 minutes or so to your cooking time to compensate.

Beginner Friendly Pressure Cooker Recipe. This is a very beginner friendly and forgiving recipe, and I recommend it heartily for those new to pressure cooking. You can just cut the meat up into large chunks, throw it in the pot with some water, set the timer and start your machine. (Browning the meat chunks adds flavor, but if you don’t want to make the extra mess or you’re in a hurry, that’s perfectly okay, skip it.) There’s enough water at the start, and even more liquid at the end, so your chances of burning it are very unlikely. If you accidentally undercook the meat, you can just leave it in the pot and simmer it, uncovered, for a few minutes until its ready. If you overcook the meat a little bit, its not going to make much of a difference, everything should still be good. You can pressure cook the pork butt on the weekend, shred and refrigerate the meat, then use it in your recipes throughout the week. Its really quite hard to mess this up.

Cooking Broth Ingredients. Because I typically use the cooked pork shoulder in several different cuisines at once, I generally like to cook pork shoulder with a minimum of seasonings, and season it later. If I’m planning on harvesting the pork fat for other uses, I’ll cook the pork in plain water, without salt. If not, I’ll cook it in either water with Ham Base or chicken or beef broth to add both a little flavor and to salt the meat. If you know you are using the entire batch of pork to make a single dish, consider the recipe when deciding what to add to cook to the meat. If I’m making a Mexican dish, I’ll add whole cloves of garlic and chunks of onion. If I were adapting an Asian recipe, for example this Shoyu Ramen Recipe, after I browned the pork, I’d pressure cook it with the chicken parts, ginger, leeks, and shoyu (a kind of soy sauce). If I wanted to make this North Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe during the winter or if a barbeque wasn’t available, I’d probably throw a teaspoon of black peppercorns and a dash of red pepper flakes into the cooking broth as well.

3 – 5 lbs. (1.3 to 2.25 kg) pork shoulder / pork butt
2 cups of cold water. Chicken Broth or Beef Broth
Ham Base or Pork Base (optional)
Electric pressure cooker
12″ Silicone tipped tongs
Cutting board
Good skillet, preferably large (optional)
Colander / fine mesh sieve to strain the broth (optional)
Plate or other container to rest the cooked meat

BROWNING TIPS: Browning pork shoulder before you pressure cook it is optional, but it does add flavor. Browning meats is important for adding flavor not because it seals the juices in, but because of what is known as the maillard reaction, in which high, dry heat is applied to the surface of the meat, amino acids and sugars react, creating not only a lovely brown crust to the meat, but hundreds of flavorful compounds. You’ll get best results with a good skillet, room temperature meat, and patting the surface of the meat dry before browning.

  1. Sharpen your knife, if needed. Optional: Place the pork shoulder on a cutting board, fat side up. Starting at one of the upper ends, hold your knife at a 45° to 90° angle, cut a few inches at the point where the thick layer of fat appears to connect with the meat. Try again if your cut is too shallow or deep. Proceed to “peel” the cut fat cap back, exposing where it is still attached to the meat, and gently cutting the fat layer away from the meat in a single piece. If you prefer, leave the fat cap on the meat – it can easily be removed after pressure cooking. Mandatory: Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks approximately 1 to 2 pounds each.
  2. If you wish, you can skip to Step 3 – this step improves flavor, but is not mandatory. Optional: To brown the pork chunks, put the meat into closed ziploc bags for half an hour until they are closer to room temperature. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a skillet, heat at medium high, and add meat chunks, fat side down. Do not overcrowd the skillet, leave space between the pieces of meat. Cook the meat for several minutes on each side, until it turns a medium brown color. (The meat will be a little darker than it appears in the photo, I took this shot during sunset, and left the flash on, which pinked it out a tiny bit.)
  3. Add the pork chunks and the water / broth to the pressure cooker pot. If desired, add 1 tablespoon of Ham Base as well. Cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 55 minutes (see Altitude Tip and Altitude Pressure Cooking Chart below) using NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE
  4. When pressure is released, turn your pressure cooker off, unlock and remove the lid. If you have an instant read thermometer and want to check the temperature, please be aware that the USDA cooking recommendations were revised in May 2011 for pork roasts to 145° F (71° C) with a minimum 3 minute rest period. (As long as the meat reaches 145 degrees and rests for 3 minutes, its safe to eat “pink” pork.) Allow the meat to cool in the cooking liquid for 15 – 20 minutes.
  5. After the resting period in the broth, use tongs to remove the pork shoulder to a plate. Allow to cool until you can comfortably handle it.
  6. There are two ways to shred pork. The traditional method is to use two forks to tear it apart. I prefer to use my hands (freshly washed, or using disposable gloves). The meat is soft and tender, and doesn’t require forks to shred it, and by using my hands, I can also remove any remaining connective tissues and excess fat. The pork will be pink or light brown, and have a little texture, while the fat will be softer, slippery, with a slightly greasy texture (and slightly lighter in color).
  7. Once you’ve shredded the pork and the excess fat has been removed, you can either add it right away to your recipe, refrigerate or freeze it.

PORK FAT AND BROTH TIPS: The shredded pork isn’t the only goodie you get out of this recipe. Using a fine meshed sieve, strain the cooking broth to remove any remaining small pieces of meat, onion, garlic, or spices, and refrigerate the cooking liquid overnight to 24 hours. The rendered fat in the broth will rise to the surface and harden, and the broth, which is now full of flavorful gelatin, will likely become the consistency of Jell-O. Remove and keep the pork fat to be used in place of commercially produced lard, and use the pork flavored broth as a soup or stew base, or to add meaty flavor to pressure cooked beans or rice.

ALTITUDE TIP: Per the USDA, one third of Americans, primarily in the Western United States, live at altitude, at least 3,000 feet (915 meters) above sea level. (Check out this USGS Elevation Map.) You can actually find out the elevation of your own home (anywhere in the world) by typing in your address into this Google Maps Elevation Tool. The general rule of thumb is, for every 1,000 feet (305 meters) in elevation you are above 2,000 feet (610 meters) above sea level, you need to add 5% in cooking time.

Pressure Cooking at Altitude. For many recipes, with relatively short cooking times, this really won’t make much of a difference for you. For example, let’s assume you want to make my Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe. If you live at 3,000 feet above sea level, to calculate 5% of 2 minutes, you would multiply 0.05 x 2 minutes, which would be 1/10th of 1 minute. Even if you lived in Denver at around 6,000 feet, that would be 0.2 (for 20 percent) x 2 minutes, or 4 / 10ths of a minute. You could wait 30 seconds before releasing pressure, but the difference really isn’t worth worrying about when small amounts of time are involved. For this recipe, however, with a much longer cooking length (55 minutes at sea level), its worth calculating the proper cooking time. But I’ve gone ahead and done the calculations for you!

Elevation (Feet) Elevation (Meters) Multiplier Additional Time Under Pressure Total Cooking Time (rounded)
3,000 915 0.05 2.75 minutes 58 minutes
4,000 1220 0.1 5.5 minutes 61 minutes
5,000 1524 0.15 8.25 minutes 63 minutes
6,000 1829 0.2 11 minutes 66 minutes
7,000 2134 0.25 13.75 minutes 69 minutes
8,000 2438 0.3 16.5 minutes 72 minutes
9,000 2743 0.35 19.25 minutes 74 minutes
10,000 3048 0.4 22 minutes 77 minutes

(NOTE: If your electric pressure cooker, like mine, only has 5 minute increments above the 40 minute mark, just round it up or down to the nearest 5 minute increment, and don’t sweat it. Pressure cooking pork shoulder is very forgiving.)

4.8 from 6 reviews
Pressure Cooker Pork Shoulder Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Instructions for cooking pork shoulder / pork butt in your electric pressure cooker. If you live at altitude, be sure and check the cooking chart above.

NOTE: A good portion of the cooking time listed above (45 minutes) is not "cooking" time per se, but time allowed for the pressure cooker to reach pressure and de-pressurize naturally

Recipe type: Pork
Serves: 6+
  • 3 – 5 lbs. (1.3 to 2.25 kg) pork shoulder / pork butt
  • 2 cups of cold water, chicken broth or beef broth
  • Ham Base or Pork Base (optional)
  1. Sharpen your knife. Optional: To remove the fat cap, place the pork shoulder on a cutting board, fat side up. Starting at one of the top edges, cut into the pork shoulder at the point where the thick layer of fat seems to be attached to the meat. Readjust your cutting point as needed. Once you’ve found the right place, hold the knife at a 45 – 90 degree angle in one hand, and pull the edge of the fat layer back as far as you can with the other. Gently cut the fat away from the meat, pulling the fat back as you go, until you remove the fat cap in one piece. Alternatively, leave the fat cap on during cooking (it can easily be removed during shredding). Non-Optional: Cut the pork shoulder into 1 - 2 pound chunks.
  2. If you are in a hurry, or the pork pieces are frozen, skip to Step 3. Optional: If you want to brown the meat, put the pork chunks into sealed plastic bags and allow them to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes or so until they are closer to room temperature. Heat a small amount of oil (do not use olive oil) in a good skillet at medium high heat, and when hot, add the pork chunks, fat cap side down, to the skillet. Do not overcrowd the pan, you want space between the pieces – do several batches if needed. Brown the meat on each side at least a couple of minutes until each side turns a medium brown color.
  3. Place the meat and 2 cups water or broth in the pressure cooker. Add 1 tablespoon of Ham Base, if desired. If I plan to use the rendered pork fat, I’ll omit any sources of salt, and season the meat later. Pressure cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 55 minutes (see Altitude Tip and Altitude Pressure Cooking Chart above) using NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE.
  4. Once pressure has been released, turn off the "keep warm" setting, unlock and remove the lid, holding it at an angle over the pressure cooker bowl to allow hot juices to run back into the pot. For those who have an instant read thermometer, in May of 2011, the USDA revised its cooking temperature recommendations for whole roasts, including pork, to 145° F (71° C) and advised that as long as the pork has been cooked to 145 degrees and been allowed to rest at least 3 minutes, "pink" meat is safe to eat. Allow the meat to cool within the juices for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing the chunks from the cooking broth with your tongs.
  5. After the meat has cooled in the cooking broth for 15 or 20 minutes, remove the pork shoulder pieces to a plate to cool until you can comfortably touch the meat with your hands.
  6. The traditional shredding instructions involve using two forks to shred the pork. I prefer to do it by hand, so I can remove remaining pieces of connective tissue and fat. The pork will be nice and soft and juicy, and yet still have some texture to it. Fat will often be slightly lighter in color, softer, and slippery.
  7. Once the pork has been shredded and excess fat removed, the shredded pork is ready to either be used in other recipes or refrigerated.

51 Responses to Pork Shoulder Recipe

  • john says:

    freakin easy awsome lovit it thanks mom for the pressure cooker electric much safer than old school.

  • Robyn says:

    I have a 10lb pork butt marinating in the refrigerator tonight that I had planned to slow roast in the oven tomorrow. However, my mom suggested I try using my pressure cooker (which I almost never use). I decided to find info about using a pressure cooker to cook my roast and found this site and recipe. I am anxious to give this a try as I dread the time it takes to roast such a large piece of meat. Do you have any advice for dealing with 10 lbs.? I suppose I will have to cut the roast in half since my epc is a 6 quart. Will the liquid marinade that I am using affect the flavor at all? I do not want to lose the flavoring. I am using a Cuban mojo/rub. Any extra advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • ePressureCooker
      ePressureCooker says:

      Hi Robyn! I’m glad you found my site. If I were you, I’d do the pork butt in two (2) 5 pound batches, and I’d cut each half into 1 – 2 pound pieces (approximately) just to make sure the pressure cooker gets better access to the pork to convert all the connective tissues that will break down into collagen. Just be sure to use natural pressure release and allow the meat to cool down in the juices – it will really help keep the meat nice and tender and juicy (the meat fibers will reabsorb some of the juices).

      I don’t know whether you used a dry rub or a wet rub, the only thing you’d want to watch, if applicable, is to make sure there isn’t more than a few tablespoons of oil in the electric pressure cooker at a time. Most electric pressure cookers say no more than 4 tablespoons at a time, and if there’s any oil in your rub, I’d make sure there is plenty of liquid from the start. If there is no oil, then you could start with as little as a half cup of liquid – the meat will release a lot of its own juices to cook in. I make carnitas cooked in orange juice or a combination of orange and lime juice that are really fantastic, and they have a similar flavor profile to a Cuban mojo. When I make multiple batches in a row, I’ll cook the first batch in the orange/lime juice, and the second and succeeding batches in all the liquid from the previous batches. If you have a liquid rub, cook it straight in the rub marinade, not water, and if you don’t have at least a half cup of marinade for the first batch, you could just add a little water or orange juice to supplement.

      I think you’ll find you really like using the pressure cooker for this. Even doing two batches, it will go so much quicker than it would in the oven, and it really breaks down the connective tissue. And your kitchen won’t heat up the way it would if you used the oven. If you want to crisp up the pork like carnitas, you could shred it once it cools enough to handle, then reduce the cooking liquid, coat the shredded meat, spread it out on a cookie sheet, and crisp it up a tiny bit in the oven.

    • Jack Davenport says:

      As a neophyte with pressure cooking, the simplicity and successful end results have encouraged me to do more and slightly complicated meals with the digital pressure cooker.

      • ePressureCooker
        ePressureCooker says:

        Hi Jack, so glad to see you enjoyed the recipe. As you get more used to using them, and you feel more comfortable with them, you’ll find that electric pressure cookers are so easy to use, there are a lot of things you wouldn’t tackle before that are now easily within reach of the average home cook. For example, I never used to make jam before I had a pressure cooker, now I do it all the time, and it is so easy!

  • Lisa Hernandez says:

    Can you cook sauerkraut with the pork butt in the pressure cooker or should the sauerkraut be done separately?


    • ePressureCooker
      ePressureCooker says:

      Yes, you can cook the sauerkraut in the pressure cooker along with the pork, although I would personally recommend that you drain the sauerkraut and rinse it (if its too salty) before adding it to the pot. At the end, if you decide the dish needs a little more oomph, you can add a small amount of the sauerkraut brine to taste.

  • Lisa Hernandez says:

    Thanks for all the good advice on cooking this. This is all new to me (a Christmas gift), and there is not a whole lot of recipes out there. I made the pork with sauerkraut last night, but I kept half the kraut out just in case. I was glad I did, because the kraut cooked with the meat got a bit mushy. I thought that might happen since you have to add so much liquid to it. So, while the meat was cooling, I browned the remaining sauerkraut right in the pressure cooker (I add brown sugar to the kraut). I mixed both batches of sauerkraut together along with the shredded pork, and a little of the broth. Extremely delicious! Thank you again for your help.

    • ePressureCooker
      ePressureCooker says:

      Happy to help, Lisa, I really enjoy helping people. Come back and ask any questions you need to, any time.

      As for the “slightly mushy” kraut, its not actually the amount of water that’s the issue: its the high temperatures that are created when cooking under pressure. I had debated whether I should mention I was a little concerned it might get mushy, I wasn’t sure what the texture was when you’ve cooked this dish through conventional means, and I’ve never personally cooked sauerkraut in the pressure cooker so I was unsure what the actual effect would be, but I thought the acidity of the meat and in the sauerkraut brine might prevent that (acidity reinforces the pectin that forms part of the cell walls in plant matter, which helps vegetables like potatoes, carrots, etc. keep their structural integrity when cooked).

      Since that apparently didn’t happen as much as you would have liked, there are two ways you could do this in future. Either leave the kraut out and cook it separately, or if you are willing to do a little extra work, cut the pork into 1 inch cubes, add half the sauerkraut, and reduce the cooking time to 15 – 20 minutes under pressure (using natural pressure release). Then, just as you did before, cook the other half of the kraut with your brown sugar, so you have kraut with the proper texture in case the pressure cooked sauerkraut is still a little mushier than you would like.

  • Jeanette says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I recieved my EPC for Christmas and am very excited to find this recipe which we will be serving at our Superbowl party with various BBQ sauces on the side.

  • Jeanette says:

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe! I was looking for a plain Jane but flavorful pulled pork recipe. I can’t wait to try this in my EPC that I received for Christmas. We will be having this at our Superbowl party served with various BBQ sauces on the side.

    • Hi Jeanette, you’re welcome! And if you’re making your own homemade BBQ sauces, try cooking them in the pressure cooker: the pressure cooker does weird and wonderful things to make flavors combine together, and it does especially wonderful things to the flavors of tomatoes.

  • Kanda says:

    I am cooking 130 lbs of boston butts in my EPC and going to vacuum seal and freeze them. Thaw them and warm them in my smoker to get the smoke flavor. I need some really good BBQ sauce recipes for my guest. I like the vinegar sauce and my kids don’t so would like to find some tried and true. I’m going to use Sweet Baby Rays and another SBR’s and add a kick to it cuz they like that.

    • Hi Kandra. Sorry for the delay in responding to you, but I’m not an expert in barbecuing meat and BBQ sauces, so I sought some third party advice before responding to you. First off, as I feared, I was warned that cooked meat won’t take in much smoke flavor, so if you want more smoke flavor, you should smoke the raw meat first, then pressure cook it (place the shoulders in a vegetable steamer over the water instead of immersing it) just below the point where it is done. That will help keep the shoulders intact for freezing. Then you can defrost the shoulders in the refrigerator and reheat them in the oven or in the BBQ.

      Now I sought recommendations as to a variety of types of BBQ sauces for you. All of my advisors have personally tried and liked these recipes. The first recommendation I received was this Bourbon Peach Glaze Recipe. Here’s a link to the recommendation for Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce. Here’s a good Memphis Style Barbecue Sauce. Here’s the recommendation I received for South Carolina Mustard Sauce. And below is another recipe for a vinegar sauce:

      2 cups apple cider vinegar
      ½ cup white vinegar
      ½ cup apple juice
      ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
      1 tablespoon kosher salt
      ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
      ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
      ½ teaspoon paprika

      Place all ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a boil; reduce heat,and simmer 15 minutes. Chill until ready to use. Reheat, if desired.

      Lastly, in case you have guests who prefer a dry rub to a barbeque sauce, even though its a dry rub for ribs, this Dry Rub for Ribs from Emeril Lagasse is really good, we liked it quite a bit, and I think it would also be delicious on pork shoulder.

  • steve says:

    I have a 14lb sirloin roast. Can I pressure cook it? Timming? Should I cut i in Two? I have several pressure cookers so size is not an issue. thanks , steve

    • Oh no, I definitely would NOT pressure cook a sirloin roast – its not well suited for pressure cooking at all. The meat is too tender, and there’s far too little fat and connective tissue for pressure cooking it. You’d do better to brine it for several days before roasting it.

  • gina says:

    I followed your instructions and have six lovely bags of shredded pork. Oh my, but it’s nice!
    So what I’d really like to do is add seasonings, etc, to make some different recipes with it and THEN freeze it so that it’s ready to go when likfe gets busy (aka school starting). Have you done this? Do you have some recipe ideas besides BBQ?

    • Wonderful Gina. I hope you saved that cooking broth (put it in the fridge overnight or for 24 hours to let the fat consolidate at the surface so the broth isn’t so fatty) and it makes a great, tasty soup broth (and that way you don’t lose the nutrients in the cooking water). Off the top of my head, I have a couple of suggestions other than BBQ. First off, you could make Sloppy Joes with it, instead of ground beef, and you wouldn’t even necessarily have to mix everything up in advance before you freeze the meat, you could just add all the ingredients together, including the frozen meat, and throw it in the pressure cooker to heat up. The pressure cooker does wonderful things to anything with tomatoes in it, it just brings out more flavor. For example if I were going to adapt this Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes Recipe for the pressure cooker, I’d put everything in together, add maybe 1/2 cup of water so I had enough water to come up to pressure, and I’d pressure cook it on High for 1 minute, using Quick Release. The meat will be fully defrosted and hot and everything will be fully cooked, as long as you saute the onion and peppers first.

      Or you could use it for spaghetti instead of beef or pork. I hope to publish my one pot Pressure Cooker spaghetti recipe in the next week or so – there’s been an unexpected delay that is beyond my control, so I can’t guarantee within a week, but it will be soon – where you just throw everything in the pot, sauce, dry pasta, precooked meat into the pressure cooker and let the spaghetti cook directly in the sauce. Its delicious, and its quick – 20 minutes start to finish.

      If you like Mexican food, you could make my Pressure Cooker Green Posole with precooked meat, all you’d have to do is decrease the time to say, 2 minutes under pressure. Or you could make Green Enchiladas that would freeze well. All I would do is leave off the sauce and cheese on top, and just freeze the enchiladas with the contents, and then sauce them up and sprinkle cheese on top when you’re ready to cook them. Or my Taco Meat Recipe is very nice, the spices work really well with pork (I prefer it to beef or chicken, as a matter of fact), the seasoning and meat mixture can be made in advance, freezes well, and then you can pretty easily defrost it and make tacos with tortillas and whatever fresh vegetables you want to serve with them (or stretch the pork out with beans). And if you like Mexican, my Pressure Cooker Mexican Rice is quick and easy to make and goes well with the enchiladas or the tacos.

      If you don’t want Mexican, or want to mix it up more, I love to make hash with the shredded pork. My favorite way to do that is I use shredded precooked pork shoulder, shredded or cubed precooked chicken, either shredded or cubed potatoes, I add in a tablespoon or two of precooked bacon, and then my favorite herbs to go with it are fennel seed, parsley and thyme. You start with cooking/browning the potatoes (salted), add the fennel seed on top (it needs the most cooking of the herbs), then when the bottom is nicely browned, you flip the potatoes over and let them start browning. When the other side is almost ready, you add the precooked pork, chicken and bacon, the basil, thyme and some pepper, and then flip it once more to warm and brown the meat. Makes a great breakfast. You can serve it alone, or even top it with a few sunny side eggs to stretch out the meal even more at very little cost. I even serve it every once in a while for dinner: carrots, cabbage and apples go well with pork and those seasonings. You could either steam carrots as a side vegetable, or if you wanted something lighter and fresher to serve with the hash, either a very lightly dressed coleslaw or a carrot and apple salad would go really well with the pork and the herbs.

      Or, if you saved that broth, and want a quick dinner soup, I’d add enough chicken broth to have six cups of broth. I’d add 2 cups of the shredded pork, and at least 4 cups of mixed frozen vegetables (no broccoli or cauliflower, and green beans might be a little heavy tasting) for a really quick dinner soup. I’d cook it for 2 minutes on High Pressure using quick release. You could add diced potatoes if you wish, or even say, a cup of rice instead (although you’d need to add additional water for the rice, say 1 cup of water, since you’ll get additional water from the frozen vegetables). If you use rice, I’d up the cooking time to 3 – 4 minutes.

      As an aside, with school coming up, I thought in the next couple of weeks I’d try to publish a couple of sandwich recipes, recipes where you could use your pressure cooker to make sandwich fillings (egg salad, a couple of different chicken salads, etc.) instead of having to buy expensive deli meats. Is this something you (or anyone else reading this) would be interested in seeing?

  • Gina says:

    Thank you for all the suggestions! The Mexican ideas sound great! We just had sloppy Joes, but maybe next time!
    Yes, I saved the liquid! I have a fat separator that did a beautiful job. Bean soup when the weather cools down!

    I would be interested in sandwich ideas! I’m a teacher, so I need EASY that I can do now (or on the weekend) so during the week, I can just heat stuff up. BTW, I don’t have a electric pressure cooker. I use my pressure CANNER. It’s HUGE, so re-heating small amounts won’t work, but it’s fabulous for 10 lbs of pork!

    • If its big enough for that, I bet you could do a small turkey in there as well. I do that with chickens, I pressure cook them whole (even frozen) to a certain point and then put them in the oven under the broiler to crisp up the skin and have a great roast chicken. ;D

  • nancy conner says:

    I have a stove top pressure cooker, not electric. Is the cooking time the same?

    • If you can set your pressure cooker to 10 PSI, it should be the same. If you can only set it for 5 PSI and 15 PSI, then your pressure cooker would cook the food faster (at 15 PSI). Depending on your brand, that could mean anywhere from 5 – 10 degree increase in temperature at sea level. If you’re doing pork shoulder, assuming you’re not at altitude, I’d shave off 5 – 10 minutes off the cooking time, use natural release, then if its not quite done, just simmer it until it is done and adjust the recipe accordingly the next time.

  • Pat says:

    Have you made pork green chile in the pressure cooker or have a good recipe?

  • Caroline says:

    I love your website! Gives so many important and helpful details. You make it easy for the beginner! Thank you

  • John says:

    Would you put cola along with the pork shoulder instead of broth?

  • Thomas says:

    In step 3, you state to cook at high pressure(10 PSI), isn’t that low pressure?

    • No, that’s high pressure on an electric pressure cooker. They’re all generally around 10 PSI maximum. Low pressure on a digital pressure cooker is usually 5 – 6 PSI.

      • Thomas says:

        Oh! So I should use the low pressure setting on my stove-top pressure cooker then?

      • Well, you could use high pressure and reduce the cooking time 5 minutes to compensate, just to be on the safe side, but pork shoulder is pretty forgiving. There’s actually less difference between stovetop and electric pressure cookers than some people would have you to believe, The temperature difference between 10 PSI and 15 PSI is only 15° Fahrenheit. And in Pressure Cooker Perfection, America’s Test Kitchen tested a number of stovetop and electric pressure cookers, including testing their maximum temperatures, and they found something very interesting. And I should explain one thing before I proceed: with pressure cooking, its not the pressure setting that does the cooking, its not like increasing pressure on the food forces it to cook faster, its that increasing the pressure raises the temperature at which water can boil. At sea level, water boils at 212° F, and can go no higher. It can’t get any hotter. When you increase pressure, it allows the water to boil at successively higher temperatures. Each increase in atmospheric pressure (1 PSI) corresponds to about a 3 degree increase in the boiling temperature of water. And its the increase in the boiling temperature of water that increases the cooking speed.

        Of the eight stovetop pressure cookers they tested, only one reached and exceeded 15 PSI (250° F), three came within five degrees, and four of the stove top cookers were measured below 243 degrees (one as low as 230 degrees). They also tested four electric pressure cookers, the lowest came in at 234 degrees, the next lowest at 239 degrees, and two were in the 240 range.

        That is despite the fact that 10 PSI corresponds to 239° F. So some of the electric pressure cookers are performing better than their pressure designation, and some of the stovetop models are performing below, some well below, their supposed pressure levels. That’s why I don’t believe there’s as much difference between the two as most people assume. I suspect what is happening is that the electric machines are built to, and in fact do, spike above 10 PSI when they start up, and then level off, so they are likely performing better on a routine basis than their advertised pressure setting, and it would seem at least a good percentage of the stovetop models are not performing at a true 15 PSI setting. Its more a question of figuring out (approximately) whether your particular pressure cooker, be it stove top or electric, is performing close to 250 degrees, or perhaps substantially less.

        You can do it whichever way, whatever you’re more comfortable with, or try it each way once and see if there is any discernable difference. You can reduce it to 10 PSI and cook for the time listed in my charts, you can cook it at 15 PSI for the full length of time, or you can pressure cook at 15 PSI and reduce the cooking time 5 minutes to compensate for what is probably a relatively small difference in actual temperature. My suspicion is that there probably won’t be that much difference, not with pork shoulder or pork butt. But I’d be very interested to hear what you tried, and how it worked for you.

  • Thomas says:

    Will do! I’m cooking tomorrow and I’ll get back to you.

  • Home Cooker says:

    just found your page, great info and advice! here’s a tip that I use: I cook my pork butt first, usually in BBQ sauce because that’s what I like, and after the pork is pulled and assimilated, I then cook a pot of pinto beans in the same BBQ sauce/juices. I put them right in there, maybe add a bit of water as needed to cover them as per my pressure cooker instructions, and they come out great, infused with all those wonderful meat juices and BBQ flavors. I find this to be a great way to get my BBQ pork and beans all in one cooking session, and then can freeze/refrigerate or portion out as needed. It’s important not to let any of that good cooking juice go to waste and use it up in the most efficient and yummy way!

  • IFortuna says:

    I just cook the roast in water for about an hour. No spices or herbs included.
    After it has cooked I brown the pork under the broiler or in a dry pan for carnitas (pork) tacos.
    Pork has such a wonderful natural flavor I would not want to cover it up too much.

    Here is our pico de gallo with which we top our carnitas in a corn tortilla:
    Chopped tomatoes (seeded)
    Chopped green onions (green part only)
    Lots of fresh cilantro
    Each person should season their tacos to taste with salt, hot sauce and/or lime juice.

    If you remove the seeds from the tomatoes, the pico de gallo with last longer in the fridge. : )

  • Denise says:

    I tried this recipe today and it turned out AWESOME! I had a whole pork butt and really was just googling to see if I could cook it all at once and found this recipe. I followed the chunking and browning suggestions and cooked it in 2 batches. I used my favorite marinade (www.wickersbbq.com) and am saving the broth. I’m hoping the fact that I used marinade doesn’t ruin the broth for future use. Doesn’t seem like it should. Again, thanks for the great recipe and suggestions.

    • Hi Denise, glad you liked the recipe! The marinade shouldn’t change whether you can use the saved broth for future use or not, though you may want to taste it before use to make sure you know how salty it is (a commercial marinade might add quite a bit of salt to the broth, so just bear that in mind). And once you’ve refrigerated the broth overnight and removed the fat, remember the broth is good for only a couple of days in the fridge, so if its going to be longer than that before you use it, put it in the freezer as soon as you remove the fat.

  • Judy says:

    my mother used to make smoked butt in a pressure cooker with onions and greenbeans. I don’t have her recipe, but wonder if the vegetables are cooked for the full cooking time, or are they added during the cooking time.

    • Hi Judy! You know, green beans and onions would cook and soften much faster than the meat would, so there are four possible ways you could do this (and I’ll give you the plus and minus of each method so you can decide for yourself which is best for you:

      (1) Pressure cook the pork all but five minutes of the time, use natural pressure release. Add the green beans and onions, pressure cook another five minutes, again using natural pressure release. The down side of this method is that you have to use natural pressure release both times or you risk your pork toughening up (rapid changes in pressure, such as with manual pressure release, can cause meat fibers to contract and toughen the texture) and that adds a lot of extra time to the length of cooking;

      (2) Pressure cook the pork the normal length of time using natural release, then add the green beans and onions and just let them simmer until they are done (don’t put them under pressure, in other words, act like you’ve added them to a slow cooker and just let them cook until they’re done to your liking). This has the benefit of letting you periodically check the vegetables and remove them when you’re happy with their texture and doneness, but it takes extra time.

      (3) You could dice up the pork shoulder or pork butt to about half inch or bite size pieces, reduce the cooking time under pressure to 5 or 10 minutes under pressure (depending on the size of the pork pieces) then layer everything into your pressure cooker like this: pork chunks on the bottom, then onion chunks, then green beans. Again, using natural release. Making the pork much smaller would decrease its cooking time to match up with the approximate time that onions and green beans would take. That way you could put everything in the pressure cooker all at once, and would only have to let it depressurize it once. The downside is of course, having to cube a bunch of pork, which is extra work.

      (4) Cook the pork as per the recipe instructions, including using natural release. Once pressure has released, move the meat and all but 1/2 cup of the broth to a glass, ceramic or metal bowl or container (the meat and broth are really hot, you don’t want to use plastic for this). Leaving the meat immersed in the broth while it cools will allow the fibers, which have squeezed tightly during cooking, to re-absorb some of the juices as the meat fibers relax. Then with the 1/2 cup of broth left in the pressure cooker, add the onion chunks and the green beans, and pressure cook them for 5 minutes using quick release. This is probably what I would do: no extra work involved in cutting up the meat, and no extra time taken to cook the vegetables. Because you remove the meat from the pressure cooker, and just use the broth to flavor the vegetables, you can pressure cook them quickly, and use quick release, without risking toughening up your meat. And by cooking the vegetables in a little pork broth, you flavor them just like they had cooked along with the meat.

      Anyway, those are the possible ways I can think of to approach what you want to do. Personally, I’d do (4) because to me, that’s the least amount of cooking time and the least amount of work, but one of the other methods might work better for you. Let me know if you have any other questions, and please come back and let me know how it worked out!

  • Cindy says:

    I am preparing my first 5# Pork/Butt Sunday. We just purchased a Power Pressure Cooker XL because I want to learn to can. I am still a little scared of the pressure cooker because of all the stove top mishaps I witnessed growing up.

    However, I did make a recipe it gave with pasta and followed recipe to the letter. The pasta wasn’t done, but I did do the quick release, so I am assuming this was the problem.

    I am going to try your recipe for the pork for the family dinner on Sunday. I will cut in quarters, brown and set the timer for 55 minutes and do the slow release. I hope I am correct on this.

    I can’t seem to understand the slow release? The directions state, when the light goes to the warm lite, turn off and release pressure until no pressure comes out. Is slow release meaning do not touch the release button and let it slowly come out on it’s own? I am so worried this will turn out bad and I want a good pork roast for my family.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Hi Cindy, couple of things I need to reassure you about. First, don’t be afraid of today’s electric pressure cookers because of things you saw happening with stove top pressure cookers when you were growing up. I don’t want to presume how old you are, but first, because almost everything is automated in the digital models, there are fewer ways things can go wrong, a lot of the potential for human error is removed. Second, machines have internal sensors and multiple redundant safety mechanisms to prevent bad things from happening. No manufacturer could stay in business these days if they built pressure cookers the way they were built after World War 2 when safety regulations weren’t what they are today. They’d be sued out of business. All you need to do is make sure your gasket (the round rubbery ring under the lid) is clean and free of damage (no cuts, tears or nicks), that the recessed channel around the top of the pressure cooker body is clean and dry (no liquid, bits of rice or food in there), the condensation collector (the clear plastic attachment on the outside) is empty and firmly in place, and that the pressure release valve isn’t blocked, and all that is basic, not very hard stuff. Seriously, the first pressure cooker I bought was a stove top model, and after I read the instruction manual I freaked out and gave it away, and now I have a pressure cooking site. The machines aren’t scary at all, I promise, and they’re easier to use.

      As for slow release (I believe you’re referring to “natural release”) I believe you have it, you’re just unsure of yourself. All you need to do to get the machine to depressurize naturally is turn the power off. Just press off. You don’t need to do anything else, and certainly shouldn’t touch or move the pressure release valve. Once the heat is off, the internal pressure will drop naturally, automatically. On the Instant Pots, when pressure is back to normal, there’s a click and a button drops. Don’t know what the Power Pressure Cooker does to let you know pressure has been released, but all of these machines lock the lids when its under pressure. If you can easily remove the lid, then all the excess pressure has been released. Its that easy.

      As for this recipe, its a basic recipe, but its not a hard one. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine. Pork butt and pork shoulder are both very forgiving cuts of meat to cook, and they’re hard to overcook. Just be sure to use natural pressure release, and then let the meat sit in the broth for at least 15 minutes (longer is better) so it reabsorbs some of the broth as the protein fibers relax. The pork will be hot a long time after you turn the machine off, so you don’t have to worry about it going cold and then having to reheat it, either. As long as you leave the meat and broth in the inner liner, and that inside the machine, it’ll stay nice and warm for a long time. And unlike pork loin, pork shoulder and pork butt are far more tender, juicy cuts of meat, so you won’t end up with a dry, tough roast. And you’ll have some delicious cooking broth to use to moisten the meat during service, or as a soup base or to cook beans with.

      As for your pasta, it sounds like you used a recipe provided in your instruction manual, not one of mine, so I don’t know for sure whether their timing is right or not, but if they called for natural pressure release and you released it naturally, then yes, that’s likely the source of the pasta being slightly underdone. Next time, you can either use natural release (now that you hopefully understand what it is) or you can just add a minute or two to the time under pressure to compensate for the cooking time lost when the machine wasn’t de-pressurizing on its own.

      Lastly, you didn’t ask about it, but you mentioned wanting to can (presumably in your electric pressue cooker). I just wanted to warn you this isn’t a good idea, I advise against doing this. Pressure canners are designed to reach 15 PSI (which corresponds to 250° F) and electric pressure cookers are only designed to reach 10 – 12 PSI (and perform at 10° – 15° below the magic 250 degree temperature). Pressure canning recipes are designed for pressure canners and stove top pressure cookers, and assume they reach 250 degrees, and with canning, the temperatures reached are crucial. Anything less than that may not be safe, and I’ve read some real horror stories about the health effects on those who did home canning and didn’t follow the safety protocols exactly. If you want to see a more detailed explanation from me why this is so, see here, but I strongly recommend you don’t try it. You can still prepare your food in the electric pressure cooker, and then can it using either a pressure canner or via standard stovetop models (get yourself a good reputable cookbook and use those recipes). But don’t use your electric pressure cooker for this.

      • Cindy says:

        Thank you for your quick response. Also, thank you for alerting me to the canning mishaps with an electric pressure cooker.

        I look forward to making the pork roast tomorrow and will let you know how the roast turns out my first time around.

        You are right about the safety of the new pressure cookers. I watched my grandmother in the 70’s and her friends use the old pressure cookers and visited one of her friends who had one to explode on her. I am still a young 54 and look forward to learning the new wave of pressure cooking.

        Thank you

      • Glad to help in any way I can, Cindy. I would hate for anyone to get sick – or worse – if I didn’t do everything I could to dissuade them from doing something that might expose their families to improperly canned food and dangerous bacteria. A few years ago, I read a heartbreaking story of a man who had improperly canned some deer meat, and the horrific health implications that arose from it, and its simply not worth it to risk even the slightest health problems, much less what he went through because of botulism. But the good news is, just as having an electric pressure cooker quickly made me lose my fear of stove top pressure cookers, you’ll probably soon feel very comfortable and secure with yours as well. Then you’ll feel a lot more comfortable if you decide to purchase a pressure canner in future!

  • Cindy says:

    I have to let you know, the pork roast was delicious!! The family ate half and I am storing the other half for BBQ pulled pork after all of the Thanksgiving left overs. I also had peach cobbler for dessert and they now say Thanksgiving has got to be better, considering I spoil them on Sunday dinners.

    Thank you so much…..

    • Glad to hear your family enjoyed the recipe, Cindy. And bet you feel a lot less nervous with your pressure cooker now that you’ve used it a few times. (You’ll soon begin to wonder why you didn’t get one sooner.) As for Thanksgiving, there are tons of great things you can make in your pressure cooker for the holidays: I’ve got a list of holiday recipes from the pressure cooker cookbooks on the home page of this site, I myself have several Mashed Potato Recipes, there are all sort of desserts like cheesecakes and even fruit cake you can make in your pressure cooker, first course soups, sweet potatoes are quick and easy, wild rice is a lot faster, and all sorts of winter squashes can be cooked much more quickly in your pressure cooker. You’ll find a whole new range of foods are much more available to you, even on weeknights.

  • Jennifer A Smith says:

    Growing up, my grandmother made “smoked shoulder”, instead of boiled dinner with corned beef. just got a pressure cooker for xmas and Im hoping to replicate. Can potatoes, onions, carrots and turnip go in with meat??

    thanks so much!

    • Yes, potatoes, onions, carrots and turnips can go in the pot with meat, but you have to remember that they cook at a different rate than the meat does, so either you have to (1) be okay with the vegetables being a little overcooked; (2) you will have to use large – like 14 ounce size potatoes and turnips; or (3) you will have to cut the meat up into smaller pieces and cook for a shorter time (you could cut the potatoes and turnips into slightly larger than bite size pieces, and leave the carrots whole and cube the meat into maybe 1/2″ size pieces, and reduce the cooking time to say 10 minutes under pressure.

  • sandy fournier says:

    Hi! Thanks for this so much!!The “Ultimate PC” I got last XMas says it takes 10 hours. I WAS GONNA JUST GIVE UP!! and resort to m y crock, which time is similar!Its so better with what you offered! I still have my old Micco PC..with the jigalig top…always has scared me a bit..I blew up an infant formula set of bottles once..took me weeks to get the nipples off my ceiling…duh! I am gonna go right now and attempt this receipe……pray for mr..I.m a very active G/Gma!!Question: how do I convert old pc receipes to my new pc? The “ttemperatures” confuse me…thanks, Sandy

    • Hi Sandy, your Ultimate PC manual says it takes 10 hours to pressure cook pork shoulder or pork butt? That must be a typographical error. I hate to think what a pork shoulder pressure cooked for 10 hours would be like!!! Hope the recipe worked well for you.

      Unfortunately, there’s no easy, short, absolutely failproof way to tell you how to convert a stovetop PC recipe for an electric pressure cooker (for those who don’t know, electric pressure cookers have lower pressure settings than stovetop models). I would say for anything pressure cooked less than 20 minutes, I would probably just try following the recipe as written, including timing. When the machine is pressuring up, the pressure spikes up above the designated pressure, and therefore the temperature temporarily spikes up too, and then the machine will compensate and bring it back down to the pressure and temperature for that setting. For things that pressure cook fairly quickly, that will compensate for most, if not all, of the difference in pressure. For anything that takes over 20 minutes, the best advice I can give you is to get a couple of electric pressure cooker cookbooks, or find sites that specialize in electric pressure cookers, and look for a similar recipe. If the recipe you want to convert contains 2″ chunks of chuck roast, then look for a similar recipe, one using the same size chunks of the same cut of meat (chuck roast) and see how long they say to cook it for. That should give you a good idea how much, if any, you might have to lengthen the pressure cooking time to compensate for the lower pressure.

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