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spicy pork shoulder pickled cucumbers over rice

Instant Pot Spicy Asian Pulled Pork Shoulder

Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Keyword Asian, freezer friendly, instant pot, pork
Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Author Tom



  • 5 garlic cloves grated on a Microplane or minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon Korean chile flakes gochugaru or other chile flakes (crushed red pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-5 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into two or three pieces


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil or any neutral oil
  • 4 garlic cloves grated on a Microplane
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • â…“ cup gochujang Korean chile paste or other chile paste or sauce such as Sriracha
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  • 6 Persian cucumbers thinly sliced (or about 4 cups sliced cucumbers)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds


  1. To prepare pork, combine garlic, brown sugar, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Rub marinade all over pork.
  2. If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to up to 24 hours. Otherwise, proceed with recipe.
  3. Set electric pressure cooker to sauté (or use a large skillet). Add pork in batches and sear until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Add 3/4 cup water to pot (or to skillet to deglaze, then move to pot), cover, and set to cook for 90 minutes on high pressure. Or cook in a slow cooker for 5 to 7 hours until tender.
  4. While pork cooks, prepare sauce: In a small pot, warm peanut oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Set sauce aside. (It can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)
  5. Manually release steam. Let pork cool until you can handle it, then shred it into bite-size pieces. Pork can be made to this point up to 3 days ahead.
  6. While pork cools, strain liquid from bottom of pot. Pour off fat (or chill liquid, then scoop off solidified fat with a spoon). Reserve.
  7. Prepare cucumbers: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except sesame seeds, and let sit, tossing one or twice, for at least 20 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds.
  8. When ready to serve, heat broiler. Toss pork with sauce and 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking liquid — just enough so pork is evenly coated but not wet or runny. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet, and broil until crisped on top, 2 to 3 minutes; it will char in places, and that’s fine.
  9. Serve pork over rice or on slider rolls, with cucumbers and kimchi, if desired.