Pressure Cooker “Roast” Pork Sandwich

The Philly Classic Gets The Pressure Cooker Treatment

I think I watch too much television. Case in point: yet another recipe based on something I saw on a TV show. In this case it was the winner of Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America.

Thankfully, he did call the show The Best Sandwich In America, because I cringe whenever somebody says Sammich, and it seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. I don’t care if The Oxford English Dictionary has accepted it as a word, as reported on Serious Eats, I still hate it.

Enough of my editorial on sammich-saying, back to the matter at hand:

The sandwich that won top honors on the show was Tommy DiNic’s Roast Pork Sandwich in Philadelphia, PA. I have only been to Philly a couple times, but at the time I made sure to sample the Cheesesteaks, but I was not aware of the Roast Pork.

So, having never tasted this winning sandwich, my version is more of an homage than a replication, but it turned out tasting just as I’d imagined this sandwich would taste. The difference is I replaced the hours of roasting with the speediness of the pressure cooker.

I used five pounds of pork sirloin, since I found it for a good price, but pork shoulder would work great as well.

I made the meat ahead of time, and made the Broccoli Rabe later.

Pressure Cooker Pork and Broccolli Rabe Sandwich That May or May Not Be Like DiNic’s in Philadelphia

Meat Recipe:

5 lbs. pork roast (that was just the size that my market had, you can make more or less).

1 onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

5 cloves garlic, crushed

1 can beer

1 cup beef broth (what I had on hand. Chicken or vegetable broth or water would work fine I’m sure)

2 tsp paprika (plus more for seasoning meat)

2 tsp rosemary (plus more for seasoning meat)

2 tsp garlic powder (plus more for seasoning meat)

2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp liquid smoke

2 bay leaves

2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp celery seed

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


Season meat (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and rosemary)

In a little vegetable oil over high heat, brown meat on all sides in pressure cooker pot. The meat that I bought was already in pieces. If you use a large shoulder, you will probably need to cut it in several pieces depending on the size of your pot.

Remove to plate.

Reduce heat to medium

If there is a lot of fat left in the pan, drain some out. I didn’t end up with a lot of grease so just left it.

Add onions, celery and carrots. Saute for a few minutes until they start to soften.

Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.

Add a little of the beer to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up the tasty bits on the bottom.

Add the rest of the beer, along with the broth and all of the seasonings.

When it starts to simmer, add the meat back in.

Put the top on cooker.

When it reaches full pressure, set the timer for 45 minutes.

When time is up, let pressure release naturally.

Remove top and carefully remove meat to plate, and I mean carefully. At this point the meat will be so tender it will be falling apart when you lift it from the pot.

Pour juices through strainer and reserve.

Broccoli Rabe (your market may call this Rapini) recipe:

1 bunch Broccoli Rabe (this was enough for three huge servings, I probably could have stretched it to four servings), double if you are making a lot of sandwiches.

1 tbs. red pepper flakes

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup broth or water (I used beef broth because it was handy)

I made the Broccoli Rabe in a second pressure cooker, but since I made the pork earlier, I could have used the same pressure cooker, so you don’t need to have two pressure cookers to make this.


Soak greens in large bowl of water to remove any sand

Roughly chop to make it easier to fit them in the pressure cooker

Put a little vegetable oil in pressure cooker, saute garlic briefly over medium heat

Add Broccoli Rabe and pepper flakes and toss with garlic

Add the broth and put the top on the pressure cooker and turn heat to high

When it reaches full pressure set timer for two minutes

When time is up, use quick release

Sandwich assembly:


Sandwich Rolls

Provolone Cheese

Peppers (I used banana pepper rings, you can use any type you like, or leave out)

After the greens are cooked, bring the broth that you reserved earlier to a simmer. Although I have been known to make my own rolls, I wasn’t ambitious enough this time, so I bought some cheese steak rolls at the store.

You can toast them, but I steamed them over the broth. It made them a little soft, but pretty tasty!

Once buns are warmed, fold two slices of provolone into the roll, put cheese on bottom to reinforce the “hinge”.

Using slotted spoon or skimmer, dip meat into simmering broth for a few seconds then immediately put on roll over cheese.

Add the Rabe on top of the meat, then top with peppers.

This next part would probably be considered a travesty, but I put a little mustard on top as well.

Does it taste anything like DiNic’s? Unless I get sent on another business trip to Philadelphia, I may never know (and because I was only sent there once in thirteen years at the same job, I am not holding my breath). But I will say that I think it is in the top five sandwiches I have ever eaten (of course I am a little biased since I made it myself).

Let me know what you think, particularly if you have had the real thing!





Partial Pressure Cooker Potatoes

Oktoberfest, Pressure Cooker Style Pt. II,
copycat Umami Burger Smushed Potatoes

This isn’t a pressure cooker recipe, per se, but I did utilize the pressure cooker in preparing the potatoes to accompany the sausage and sauerkraut that I made for my recent “last weekend of Oktoberfest” celebration.

My plan was to replicate the “Smushed Potatoes” that they have on the menu at local gourmet burger joint Umami Burger.

I don’t think I am the only person trying to replicate this tasty treat, since a quick search on the internet turns up quite a few searches for Umami Smushed potatoes, albeit in a variety of different spellings.

These are basically twice-cooked potatoes. They are first boiled, at least in my interpretation (I am making no claims that this is the exact same way that Umami makes them), although I actually steam them. Then they are “smushed” and fried.
If you ever get a chance to go to Umami Burger, besides having the best burgers in Los Angeles in my opinion, the Smushed Potatoes, along with the Cheesy Tots (which are not on the printed menu, but are usually available by request, no password required) are the best side dishes on the menu.

So here’s how my “copycat” recipe goes:

Take 8 or so small potatoes (I used 8 to serve 2 people). I think Umami always uses reds, but my local grocery didn’t have any so I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, though I would have liked ones that were slightly smaller.

Put them in the pressure cooker with a half-cup or so of water. Once full pressure is achieved, reduce heat and maintain full pressure for six or seven minutes.

Let pressure come down naturally.

Now, for the smushing. I use the flat side of my meat tenderizer, but if you have the mallet type of tenderizer, be sure to use a little restraint (it might be best not to do this right after work), otherwise you will be changing your plans to having countertop mashed potatoes. I have used a plate before also, with good results.

The idea is to flatten the potatoes as much as possible while keeping the skins reasonably intact and the potatoes from crumbling. I had one casualty this time, but the others turned out fine.

When you are finished flattening the potatoes, heat up some butter in a skillet. While the butter is melting, season the potatoes. I used salt, pepper, hot paprika and garlic powder. This isn’t necessarily what Umami Burger uses, just my preferred seasonings, use whatever you like.

Brown the potatoes on both sides, until a nice crust forms, and that’s it. Put on a plate and serve.

Let me know how you like them. If you have tried Umami’s version, let me know if I am in the ballpark with these.

Oktoberfest, Pressure Cooker Style

‘Twas the last day of Oktoberfest and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even Klaus.
We were all nestled all snug in our beds, while spaetzle and bratwurst danced in our heads.
In the morning, well rested, we’ll head out of here, down to the ‘garten, for sausage and bier!

Ok, perhaps I’m no Longfellow, but that piece of poorly-executed prose was just meant as an introduction to my Oktoberfest dinner last weekend (using the pressure cooker, of course).

After reading that last Sunday was the last day of Oktoberfest in Germany (in Germany, Oktoberfest actually takes place in September), I had a sudden craving for sausage and sauerkraut. So I headed for Whole Foods, where I knew that while not exactly healthy, I could at least get sausages with no nitrates. I ended up with kielbasa, which I know is not German, but is quite tasty nonetheless.

I also picked up a jar of sauerkraut (I swear I’m going to try making my own some day) and some potatoes. This was going to be the inaugural voyage for my brand new Fissler Vitaquick 4.2-liter pressure pan.

I felt a sense of guilt as I drained the sauerkraut of its juice, but the feeling was soon quelled as I replaced it with beer.

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 package 12-16 oz.kielbasa (kielbasa is generally fully cooked, if you use a raw sausage, some adjustments would have to be made.)

1 jar sauerkraut
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bottle beer (I used a dark German beer)
2 tsp. caraway seed
1tsp. dry mustard
fresh ground pepper

Drain the sauerkraut. You can rinse if you like, but I didn’t want to rinse the “sour” flavor off, I just wanted to get rid of the liquid since I would be adding more liquid.

Brown the sausage in the pressure cooker in a little butter or oil. Remove to a plate.

Add onion and saute until soft

Add sauerkraut to pressure cooker, then pour in the beer (about 12 ounces), the beer I used was 1/2 liter, so I only used around 3/4 of the bottle.

Add in mustard and caraway. I used 2 tsp caraway, but since the pressure cooker seems to intensify the flavor of the caraway, you may want to use less. I know some people find caraway quite strong (think rye bread).

Put on the lid and bring to full pressure for 7 minutes.

Let pressure neutralize naturally, open and serve!

Oddly enough, we ended up having this with some red wine rather than beer.
I also prepared some potatoes simultaneously utilizing the other pressure cooker, which I will cover in another post.


The Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Challenge

or… can you cook a 7-lb pork shoulder after work and still eat before bedtime?

The answer is yes, as long as you don’t turn in before 10 PM.

There seem to be recipes for pulled pork on practically every cooking blog, including a lot of ones made in the pressure cooker, so I wasn’t sure if I even should do this post. But since this was more of a challenge to myself to cook a seven-pound pork shoulder on a weeknight, I decided to go ahead with it.

While perusing the meat counter at the Smart & Final (The Smaller, Faster Warehouse Store according to their advertising) on Sunday, I bought an almost seven pound pork shoulder. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes while shopping I get caught up in the excitement and the next thing you know I’m trying to squeeze a one gallon jug of Tabasco sauce into the refrigerator.
I had it earmarked for pulled pork. I almost made pulled pork a couple of weeks ago, but it morphed into carnitas by time I was ready to start cooking it.

Since this past sunday was 100 degrees, it turned out to be a cheese plate night. Not wanting to keep the meat too long (I tend to be a bit overcautious about such things), I planned on making it during the week. It didn’t help much that I left work a half-hour later than usual, meaning that I got home at 7:30 PM. Seeing as how I get to work and back by bicycle, I have to figure a shower in there after work as well.

So around 7:45, I started rubbing my butt (The pork, the pork! Get your minds out of the gutter! A pork butt comes from the shoulder. How confusing.) I threw together a quick rub (this meal was all about the quick) that was something like this:

2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Hot Paprika
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Dash Cayenne
Salt and Pepper to taste

I unwrapped the pork. This was definitely the most massive amount of meat I have ever put into the pressure cooker. In fact, it was the largest piece of meat I have ever brought into my apartment!

It had a substantial fat cap on it, so I trimmed some of it off, being sure to leave enough to impart its flavor to the finished dish.

I hastily applied the rub while heating a small amount of olive oil in the pressure cooker and browned it in two batches. After removing the pork to a plate, I dumped in a chopped onion and some garlic (I used around seven cloves, but use whatever you’re comfortable with. I think I usually use about double of what most people use) to soften them up a little.

As with many things I make, I added the beer. At first I was going to use a Pilsner that I had sitting around for awhile because it was kind of weird. I was convinced it was mislabeled and was actually a hefeweizen, and it was also quite foamy. Well, I opened it up and sure enough, the thing started foaming like Cujo. The only other beer I had was Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA. I was a little apprehensive about using an IPA since I have never tried it before for cooking and was worried it might impart too much of a bitter flavor to the meat. I also added some white wine vinegar (about a half-cup), and then some actual white wine (also a half-cup). I put in a couple tablespoons brown sugar,  a couple tablespoons worcestershire sauce, a couple bay leaves and some liquid smoke.

I let it come to a boil for a couple minutes to cook off some of the alcohol, then added the browned meat back in. After I added the meat, it looked like a little more liquid wouldn’t hurt, so I put in a cup of water.

Having never cooked a pork shoulder before, I headed to the handy time chart at According to the chart, pork shoulder should cook for 45-50 minutes. I decided to add an extra ten minutes since the piece of meat seemed rather large to me, but I think 50 minutes would have been fine.

I locked on the top of the pressure cooker, brought it up to high pressure, lowered the flame on the burner and set the timer for one hour. By the time I did this it was 8:30 PM.
While the pork was cooking I threw together my BBQ sauce and some slaw for a side dish.
I recently heard about vinegar based sauce from the Eastern part of North Carolina, so I thought it sounded interesting enough to try. I used this one from as my starting point. I usually make a tomato-based sweet and spicy sauce, but thought I would try a vinegar-based sauce for a change. I varied the recipe somewhat to use what I had on hand, but hopefully it didn’t alter the flavor too much from what would be considered authentic.

1 cup rice vinegar (I used this because it is what I had and I didn’t want to go to the store to get apple cider vinegar, which is traditional)
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp Frank’s hot sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper

Since I wouldn’t be able to let it sit for any length of time to let the flavors meld, I used my trusty Bamix immersion blender to whisk it together.

When the timer went off, I took the pressure cooker off the heat to let it neutralize naturally (at least that was the plan, but once it got down to the low pressure line, I fought the urge to speed things up a bit for five minutes or so, but soon my rumbling stomach won out over my patience and I opened the quick release valve.

I put it in a large bowl and pulled it apart with two forks, and I must say it pulled apart beautifully! After pulling it, I added the BBQ sauce (if you are unfamiliar with Carolina sauce, it is quite thin, almost like a marinade rather than a sauce, so don’t think that something has gone awry if it is not like the sauces that you are usually used to. I had to fight the temptation to add some ketchup and molasses to thicken it up).
Tonight, I just served it on a plate with some vinegar cabbage slaw (it was quite an acidic meal, but not overly sour).

Since there were plenty of leftovers, I will probably make sandwiches tomorrow. The sauce was quite tasty, but it will probably not replace my usual go-to tomato and molasses based sauce anytime soon.

Sure, it was 9:40 by the time dinner was ready, but most of the recipes for cooking pulled port using other methods require the the meat to be roasted or smoked for 6 hours or longer, so around two hours from start to finish including prep work is pretty quick, I think.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!