Monday, December 9, 2019

Pulled Pork Butt with Sauerkraut and Potatoes in the Instant Pot

The only thing missing was a smidge of sour cream.


If you don't already own an Instant Pot, I hope it is on your Christmas list. Now that colder weather has arrived, I love my IP to prepare meals such as this. Slow cooked or oven cooked, a cheap cut of meat this size would normally take hours. In the Instant Pot, it took 45 minutes! It was delectable!

This certainly isn't the prettiest dish to photograph; but, what it lacks in visual appeal, it more than compensates in taste appeal.  This was delicious. Throw in a cold, dreary wet winter day to make it even more enjoyable. Warm. Friendly. Comforting. A frosty glass of white wine ....

How good was it? Well, I'm making it again tomorrow. But I will throw in some carrots for color.

Oh, I already hear the naysayers who think they do not like sauerkraut. Trust me, you will enjoy this. The secret is simple. Drain the kraut, wash well under cold water. Add brown sugar. You will still get some "tang," but it will not be sour or overpowering. Instead, it is a happy marriage of tastes that play off each other. The sweet with the sour. Just a tad bit of heat. And don't skip the caraway seed!

I avoid so-called "fresh" sauerkraut sold in plastic bags. America's Test Kitchen showed that those plastic bags had to use many "artificial" ingredients just to keep their product fresh. Canned did not. If you can find it, Libby "Bavarian" brand is my choice. 

I was lucky enough to snag a close-dated, two-pound pork butt for $3.40. It's a cheap cut of meat. Usually on the fatty side, seek one that does not have humongous clumps of white fat. And only use pork butt. Anything else will simple be dry and unpalatable.

I prefer lots of onion with this dish, so use a big one! If you forgo the potato and prefer mashed (my personal favorite), do use more onion since it makes for a killer gravy. For this recipe, I used 1 large russet simply because it was on hand. I would have preferred baby potatoes or fingerlings. Just be sure not to cut them too small. You do not want them falling apart under pressure. 

Use bread to sop up the lovely gravy. This particular piece of bread is a stale heel piece. I save
lucky pieces like this for their amazing "sopping" quality. The butter doesn't hurt.

  • 1, 2-3pound pork butt with the bone
  • 1, 15-ounce can sauerkraut (I highly recommend Libby brand, Bavarian style)
  • 1, 14.5-ounce can chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 1 large onion, (the bigger the better) sliced in half, then sliced into thin halfmoons
  • 1-2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large garlic clove (or two medium), thinly sliced
  • 1 good pinch red-pepper flakes (less is better than more) and do not omit
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seed, slightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and Pepper


Wash and pat dry your pork butt. Why? Meats with an attached bone are sawn. They can have bits of "bonedust" and usually the bone bleeds once it is cut. You just want to clean all that up. 

Season the meat well on both sides with salt and pepper. P ace in the Instant Pot. If you wish, use the rack and place it on top--it's your call.

Drain your sauerkraut into a small bowl. Squeeze it dry. Save the juice.

Run it under cold water and squeeze dry again. Place it in a medium bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, caraway, red-pepper flakes and garlic. Taste. If too sweet, add a bit of the sauerkraut juice. If too sour, add a bit more brown sugar. 

Place the sauerkraut mixture over the pork.

Peel and slice your potatoes. Cut into chunks. Place on top. Now add your chicken broth.

Dot with butter. 

Place lid on IP. Be sure the valve is on "sealing" mode. Process for 45-60 minutes (less time for a smaller butt, longer for a larger). Allow a natural release. 

Remove the meat. Remove the bone and shred. Add meat back to IP. Stir. Serve. Enjoy.