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I have once prepared pulled pork on our basic charcoal kettle grill with fabulous success: the end result is succulent meat well permeated by the rendered fat and smoke, and there is a crisp crust from the fat cap with concentrated seasonings and umami goodness. The downside? It takes forever and needs more oversight and caution than I want to deal with. I almost never have an entire day to keep an eye on our grill from prep to the-embers-are-definitely-not-going-to-start-a-fire. But making it in a crock pot, my usual low-maintenance MO, just isn't the same. (Nor is liquid smoke.)

Now I have an Instant Pot Duo Crisp (8 qt), which is a pressure cooker with an alternate air fryer lid that can handle more oven-like tasks such as roasting, baking, and air frying.

How can I take advantage of this appliance to most closely but safely mimic the effects of a grill or smoker for pulled pork?

Some considerations:

  • Flavor and texture are more important than run time, since (assuming my recipe is sound) I can trust the Instant Pot not to catch my house on fire and focus on other things.
  • The device is designed so that I can switch between cooking techniques with ease, so, e.g., I could slow-cook for a while and then roast, though I need to be cognizant of the amount of liquid present.
  • I am willing to let it run on the porch if using the air fryer lid for an extended time.
  • The Instant Pot company advises against adding flammable things like wood or charcoal, but... if it's soaked first and not lit on fire and not protruding significantly around the meat, is it actually a problem? Will it actually do anything for the flavor?
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  • I just experimented and got a very good crust after 3.5 hours slow-cooking on HI, removing most of the liquid, roasting at 325 for about an hour, and broiling until everything was crispy (exact times are difficult to calculate on this because it was interrupted). Great textures, but zero smoke flavor, although I used a rub with mesquite.
    – wordsworth
    May 30 '21 at 3:01
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    Please feel free to self-answer your question, that’s perfectly acceptable here. Answers in comments will be deleted according to the site’s rules.
    – Stephie
    May 30 '21 at 12:54
  • @Stephie, thanks for the tip! It's a comment because I didn't think it was a complete answer-- I'm also looking for advice about developing the flavor.
    – wordsworth
    May 31 '21 at 23:39

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