Growing up, I disliked cabbage. That's a bit of a problem in a country where cabbage is eaten at alarming rates. It was often on the menu in one fashion or another and every meal was met with the same resistance. I didn't like it, I didn't want it. Defying your elders when food is put in front of you is in bad taste and doesn't happen often when you're a Romanian child, but I stood my ground - I was not going to eat it and they couldn't make me. Of course unless it was in the form of sauerkraut, but that's a different story.
When I moved to the United States, I was introduced to coleslaw. I couldn't believe that such a food existed. It contained so much of what I loathed - not one but two types of cabbage and it tasted sweet. Why? Why would anyone eat this?
But at a cookout several years ago, it was served along side pulled pork and I decided to give it another shot. To my surprise, not only did I like it, but loved it. In fact, I couldn't stop eating it. Which brings me back to the concept that whatever we envisioned to be true once upon a time, may not always be that way. Stay open...
But let's talk about pulled pork, which was the catalyst to my liking coleslaw and ignited my love of cabbage. I look at pulled pork as sort of the deus ex machina as it certainly changed the course of my life. I know, pulled pork? But really, it did. It opened my eyes to everything wonderful about this absurdly delicious combination. Out of maybe all classic American recipes, this may just be my favorite. I can eat pulled pork and coleslaw until I explode. Think I'm kidding? I've had to unbutton my jeans (discreetly, of course) on more than one occasion after eating it.
So I was in the mood for this combo and decided to take some shortcuts. Shamefully patience is not always one of my virtues, especially when it come to cravings, but this is where the Instant Pot comes in. I admit, I don't use it nearly as much as I should but was glad to have it when the mood for pulled pork struck.
I played around with a few different dry rub variations as well as the cuts of meat and I'm torn between butt and shoulder. Honestly, either will do as long as it fits in the pot. Around 4 lbs is about as big as the Instant Pot can handle. And for the coleslaw, I kept things paleo and replaced the traditional sugar with just a bit of honey. The combination of pulled pork and coleslaw is unmatched. What you serve it on is entirely up to you. I went with baked sweet potatoes (speedy instruction below) as the base but if you're not paleo, feel free to serve them on soft buns or stick with just pulled pork and coleslaw.
Needless to say, during the recipe testing and photographing process, I ate a lot of pulled pork and think this recipe is excellent if you have about 2 hours to work with and want to have all the taste of slow cooking with none of the waiting.
instant pot pulled pork with coleslaw
- prep time: 10 minutes
- cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- yields: 8-10 servings
For pulled pork:
- 3.5-4lbs pork butt or shoulder
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 3 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- juice of one orange
- tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup broth or water
- optional: serve with bbq sauce
- 1/2 cup home made mayo or store bought
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1/4 head finely cut red cabbage
- 1/4 head finely cut green cabbage
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- Instant Pot
- large bowl
- medium bowl
- large cutting board
Pat pork shoulder or butt with paper towels to ensure the spice mix sticks. Combine all 9 dry ingredients under pulled pork in medium bowl.
With lid off, turn Instant Pot on to Sauté option. Add olive oil, and sauté pork for 3 minutes on each side. Turn off instant pot.
Add orange juice, broth, apple cider vinegar and lock lid. Turn Instant Pot on to manual for 60 minutes. Once time is up, let Instant Pot naturally depresurize.
Remove pork from Instant Pot on cutting board and shred with two forks. Carefully, discard about half of the cooking liquid and add pulled pork back to the Instant Pot. Seal lid, turn it back on to manual for 5 more minutes. Let naturally depresurize once more. Give it a stir and serve on its own or with this paleo bbq sauce.
While the pork is cooking, add all ingredients under coleslaw in large bowl, combine well and serve right away. It will store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
* For speedy baked sweet potatoes, pierce sweet potato a few times with fork, rub with a little olive oil and place on microwave safe plate. Use the sweet potato sensor option and cook turning once until sweet potato is soft.