I have a tried-and-true Smoky BBQ Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe that I will make and devour until the end of my days (sorry, morbid, I’ve been watching Game of Thrones a lot!) but sometimes you don’t have 12 hours to let that pork butt to simmer away in the slow cooker. It turns out to be one of the reasons why I don’t make that recipe nearly enough – as delicious as it is, I don’t normally plan ahead enough to marinate the pork in the spice blend in the refrigerator overnight, then wake up at 6am to put the pork in the slow cooker so it’s done around 6pm.
Solution: the Instant Pot. (Although, you could totally make this recipe in the slow cooker if you wanted to.) PLUS. Adding roasted garlic to anything and everything is guaranteed way to make it really freaking delicious. Unless it’s something like chocolate chip cookies or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That might be super weird. We’ve got roasted garlic and bacon in this recipe, so you *know* it’s going to be fall-off-the-bone tender and delicious. Unless you’re using a boneless pulled pork. Then it’s just tender and delicious.
The only complaint I have from readers about recipes with chicken, beef, or pork that give lots of leftovers is – what do we do with them? So if you want ideas for what to do with the leftovers, or how to serve the pork? Look no further! I gochu, fam.
Try making a Power Bowl, for example. Build a bowl like you would at Chipotle or any other fast-casual joint. Pick your base (maybe some rice, sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice), add some greens and veggies, your protein (the pork!), a sauce or spice blend, some toppings, and you’re good! Here are more examples for what to do with these leftovers:
Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos (perfect for the Super Bowl coming up!)
- 4-5 lb pork shoulder/butt (bone-in or boneless)
- 1 ½ Tbsp coarse sea salt (or 1 Tbsp fine sea salt)
- 1 small head of garlic
- 1 ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3-4 slices bacon (thick-cut is best)
- ½ cup filtered water
- chopped scallions, for serving
- First, make the garlic. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Cut off the top part of the garlic head so the cloves are visible, and peel off the excess outside layers, leaving a layer intact. Drizzle the top with 1 tsp olive oil, and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Put the roasted garlic in aluminum on the baking sheet. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the garlic is cooked through and fragrant.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pork. Place your pork butt on a cutting board cut it into 3-4 large hunks. Then, use a small, sharp knife to make a few X-shaped slits on each side of each pork piece. Do this by pushing the tip of your knife straight into the center of the pork, about ½ to 1 inch deep.
- Season the pork on all sides with the sea salt, onion, and pepper.
- When the timer goes off on the garlic, set the Instant Pot to the SAUTE function and add the bacon slices in one single layer to the bottom of the pot. After a few minutes, flip the bacon over - watch it to make sure it doesn't burn! Once it is cooked through, turn the heat off.
- Once the garlic has cooled slightly (aka it isn’t burning your fingers to the touch), squeeze the cloves out onto a cutting board, then push a clove or two into each X slice you made in all the pork pieces.
- Pull the bacon out, add the pork pieces, and then layer the bacon on top of the pork butt.
- Pour the water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Secure the lid, then click MANUAL and set the timer to +90 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, let the pressure naturally release as the pot switches to the KEEP WARM function, or quick release the pressure.
- Check the pork for doneness - you should be able to shred it easily with a fork. If it's not done, add 5-10 minutes on MANUAL and check it again.
- Open the lid and transfer the pork to a cutting board to shred with two forks.
- Serve warm, with chopped scallions. I loved adding avocado here to balance out the saltiness of the pork!