That moment when you realize it’s too late and dinner is torpedoed? Been there.
You may know this story:
You were going to start the slow cooker with chuck roast beef barbecue after breakfast and it just didn’t happen…and you knew it would be no problem to start it after lunch for 4 hours on high instead of 8 hours on low…but then suddenly it’s 3:30 and you realize that dinner is now an impossibility.
Will you have to fall back on spaghetti and jarred sauce? Or popcorn and a smoothie? Or worse…get takeout because goodness knows you can’t do anything other than a slow cooker meal with the tough cut of meat you have thawed!!??
Instant Pot to the Rescue for your Chuck Roast!
You can make just about any slow cooker meal into an Instant Pot meal, and then even 4:30 or 5:00 isn’t too late to save dinner.
Usually I just press the button that corresponds to the meat I’m cooking, but in this case with a large 3-pound roast, I needed to quickly Google a few other pressure cooker beef roast recipes to see if I needed a bit longer time.
After finding a few with the right size roast from trusted sources like Hip Pressure Cooking and my friend Katie at Wellness Mama, I decided to nearly double the “meat/stew” button’s 35 minutes and use a natural pressure release to make Instant Pot beef barbecue. Usually you want to make sure food isn’t overcooked in the Instant Pot, but with this not-so-tender cut of meat, I wanted it literally falling apart and knew I couldn’t possibly pressure cook it too long.
The recipe is adapted from my favorite slow cooker cookbook, Stacy Myers’ Crock On.
Instant Pot Barbecue Beef Roast
- For added flavor, brown the roast first. (Totally optional, will add 10-15 minutes to the recipe.) Press "Saute" on the Instant Pot. When the display reads "Hot," add a Tbs. of cooking oil (coconut oil is a good choice) and let the roast sizzle a few minutes on each side. If you don't brown the roast, simply place it in the bottom of the IP.
- In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix the tomato paste, mustard, onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper and ACV.
- Add water to reach 2 cups total, stir, and pour over the roast.
- Check the sealing ring and lock the Instant Pot, turning the valve to "sealing."
- Press "Meat/Stew" and use the + or "Adjust" button to increase the timing to 60 minutes.
- It will take about 15 minutes for the unit to get up to pressure and start the countdown timer.
- When the cycle is finished and the IP beeps, allow 10-15 minutes for a natural pressure release (in other words, ignore it for a while). If you're in a real hurry, the meat will be cooked and just not quite as tender if you open the lid immediately after the cycle ends.
- Open the valve to "venting" to release any remaining steam, twist off the lid, and use two forks to shred the beef. You can do this in the pot or on a separate plate. Sometimes it will be falling apart so much you just have to stir it up with a spoon and it shreds itself. 😉
- If you have the time, return the meat to the Instant Pot and put the lid back on for a bit while it's still on "warm" to allow the meat to soak up more juices.
- Serve hot.
- Optional: Use the juices to make seasoned rice! (see below for instructions)
- Optional: If you'd rather have thick sauce over your beef, add a tablespoon or two of arrowroot starch to the juices while the shredded meat is in there. Press "cancel" and then "saute" and stir around for few minutes until thickened.
* Leftover cold meat works great in a lunchbox as well! A sandwich would get a bit soggy by lunchtime, which is why we just send it with mustard and some sides or homemade crackers. Get 50 more ideas for school lunches in my popular eBook, The Healthy Lunch Box.
* Not sure where to source quality grassfed beef? Sometimes online ordering is the only choice, if you don't have a farmer in your area. We've had good luck with ButcherBox, and you'll get a gift with your first order via that link.
Even with a regular meal planning habit and my trusty online Plan to Eat software to do half the work for me, there’s still room for human error on the plan, like forgetting to start the slow cooker, bah. Thank goodness I could try this at 3:00 at still have dinner at 5 to make it to church school on time!
Our Gluten-Free Cheater Method for Instant Pot Beef BBQ
You may notice that in my photos there’s an absence of the traditional “on a bun” part of pulled beef BBQ. We generally eat gluten-free or even grain-free as a family, and I just don’t buy buns. We’ll put meat dishes like this sometimes over rice or just with some potatoes for carbs (as shown – fried potatoes because with the whole running-late thing, I didn’t have time for bakers!).
The cool thing about the Instant Pot requiring a bit more water than a slow cooker is that you get a lot of flavorful juices – and I’ve often taken to making rice right in those juices! Instant seasoned rice. Score!
To do so, remove the meat from the pressure cooker, and while you’re shredding it, get rice going. Measure what you have left and add half as much dry rice to the pot. In other words, if you have 2 cups liquid, stir in a cup of rice. You can always add a bit more water or broth to make an even cup measurement if you don’t like fractions.
The Instant Pot will heat up a little faster because the juices are already warm, and you can speed it along even more by pressing the “Saute” button for a few minutes, then canceling that out before choosing your timing for the pressure cooking.
For white rice, just lock the lid in place (valve to “sealing”) after checking the lid for any mess/obstructions from cooking your meat, and press the “rice” button. That will be 12 minutes on low pressure, and you can do a quick release as soon as it’s done. Your meat should still be warm, especially if you cover it with a lid or something after shredding.
You may find you need to add salt to the rice to bring out the flavors properly – don’t be afraid to do so! Even adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt is still going to be less sodium than processed foods.
To make brown rice, use a lower water-to-rice ratio of about 1.5 cups liquid to 1 cup rice. Set the pressure cooker to 25 minutes on high pressure or use the “multigrain” function on the Instant Pot (but be warned that that’s a 40-minute cook time, so don’t use it if you’re in a hurry!). Sometimes it works great to serve the “instant flavored rice” with the leftovers of this beef roast.
More Instant Pot Recipes and Techniques
I’ve had more fun playing with my Instant Pot over the past year-plus than any other kitchen
toy – I mean, tool – in a long time. And I’ve been busy! Here’s just a sampling of all our Instant Pot posts here at KS:
- Instant Pot Apple Cranberry Steel Cut Oats
- Cauliflower Rice in the Instant Pot
- 10 Basic Techniques done Faster in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Whole30 Boneless BBQ Ribs
- How to Cook Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot
And if you love shredded beef recipes, this Chipotle Style Beef Barbacoa for the slow cooker that also uses a chuck roast would very easily adapt to the Instant Pot as well. (In fact, we’ll add instructions to the recipe soon once it’s fully tested!)
She runs the most incredible online cooking classes with a total of 11 different topics and usually 2 dozen classes per topic. Check out the pressure cooking modules HERE – I guarantee you’ll be impressed.
And if you tackle the other classes, like sourdough, cultured dairy, or einkorn baking (they’re all included in the same membership), you might see a teacher you recognize, cough, cough.
Disclosure: Plan to Eat is a current sponsor of Kitchen Stewardship receiving their complimentary mention in a post.