Instant Pot: Pork Barbacoa

Although it's March, I'm anxious for the spring to fully arrive. I've been digging up some Mexican inspired recipes lately in preparation for Cinco de Mayo and came across this recipe for Pork Barbacoa. In the past, I've cooked this in my slow cooker/crockpot but wanted to give it a try in the Instant Pot.

ork Barbacoa is a sweet and spicy dish of shredded pork that's commonly eaten with tortillas. What caught my eye about this recipe was how it only required 5 common ingredients and I loved that I could make it in the Instant Pot without much effort. The recipe involves pressure cooking a pork roast with water, cumin, brown sugar, salsa and a bottle of cola. It seems like an odd combination but it definitely does bring out a nice sweet and spicy flavor!

From the original recipe, I did alter the cook time for the Instant Pot and I added minced garlic and diced onion to the roast as it cooks to provide some depth of flavor... and roasting pork in just plain water seemed a bit bland and boring to me. The end result was a delicious pork filling perfect for tacos. Leftovers (which is likely given the large amount of pork called for) can be used to fill empanadas, burritos, chimichangas, calzones, southwestern sloppy joes, top pizzas, in casseroles or whatever ways you'd like to use it up! If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can get the slow cooker/crockpot recipe version here!

Pork Barbacoa

recipe adapted from Recipezaar

3 pound pork roast, cut into 1 pound pieces
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, diced

1/2 cup water 
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup dark brown sugar
12 oz bottle La Victoria taco sauce
20 oz cola
Fresh cilantro (for garnish - optional)

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Place pork roast in IP with the garlic, onion, water, cumin, brown sugar, taco sauce, and cola.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 60 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 60 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 60 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

When the display reflects 15 (which is 15 minutes since the IP has beeped) all pressure should have naturally released. If not, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Transfer roast to serving dish and shred with two forks or hands.

Spoon some sauce over the meat and serve as is with fresh cilantro as garnish or use in your favorite Mexican dish application for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, etc.

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