Picnic shoulders are a great cut of pork—lots of meat, skin and connective tissue that, when cooked, correctly turns into beautiful, soft and moist meat. One of the issues with this awesome cut of meat is that in order for it to really shine, you have to cook it for a very long time. And if you don’t have a plan, using this super-delicious (very inexpensive) cut is banished to weekend cooking, at best. Or never even brought home from the store, at worst … unless you have a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are a tool used to cook pretty much anything under pressure generated by the heat and steam produced from cooking. They have gotten a bad reputation over the years because when they are used incorrectly they’re known to explode. But if used correctly, they can take tougher cuts that were once only special-occasion foods and bring them into the realm of weeknight cooking. I’ve seen the Instant Pot for sale all over town. This is a great place to take that particular new kitchen tool for a spin.
Pork and bourbon and peaches—cooked until soft, rich and sweet, with just a bit of acidity. This smashed pork is perfect along with some roasted potatoes or plain white rice. Although, to me, it makes a perfect open-faced sandwich on a toasted english muffin. Slice a couple of green onions, with maybe some hot sauce, and you’ve got a perfectly soothing meeting of crunch and soft.
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 peaches, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1, 3 kg bone in pork picnic shoulder
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in the top of your pressure cooker, then add onion and garlic and cook until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add peaches, sugar, vinegar, bourbon and water and bring to a simmer, then place pork shoulder on top and seal your pressure cooker. Once cooker is pressurized, cook over high pressure for 90 minutes, remove from heat and allow the pressure to naturally release.
- Remove pork from pressure cooker and let cool on a plate. Bring cooking liquid to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once pork is cool enough to handle, remove the bone using your hands, then coarsely chop (or shred, or slice—up to you!) and place the meat back into the reduced sauce to simmer for a few minutes. Then taste for seasoning and serve.
Out of the pressure cooker