The Day Instant Pot Saved My Dinner Party

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You wouldn’t typically think of a kitchen appliance as being a dinner party hero, but that happened in our kitchen during one of the biggest gatherings we’ve had at our new home. After inviting about a dozen people over, which then grew to about 30, we had to figure out a plan quick or our dinner party was going to turn into the Hunger Games. 

“Sweetie, the meat just isn’t coming up to temp,” my hubby called from the patio. He’d prepared his famous marinated pork roast for pulled pork sandwiches. And when I say famous, it does have a reputation with our friends and family. Kevin is known as THE grillmaster and smoker extraordinaire. He’d been smoking it for hours, normally plenty of time to come to a safe internal temperature. For whatever reason, though, this time the meat wasn’t getting heated through. 

I started to panic. “What am I going to do, what am I going to feed all these guests, they are arriving in an hour and I don’t have time to prepare anything else!” Our Instant Pot was relatively new at that point and we’d only used it a couple times, but I had a light bulb moment. “Let’s try finishing it off in the IP,” I told my husband. “It can’t hurt.” 

With an hour until party time, we sealed the meat with some broth in the Instant Pot, crossed our fingers and said a little prayer. As guests started arriving, we allowed the IP to release pressure naturally, then carefully removed the lid. Perfection! The pork easily shredded, was super tender, and there was no doubt it had cooked thoroughly. Because we’d started cooking it on the smoker, it had a great smoky flavor, and then the IP gave it plenty of juicy moisture.  

What I love most about the Instant Pot though, is that I knew if it hadn’t cooked enough at that point, I could easily fire it back up to finish it off. As I’m learning about the appliance, I’ve made some mistakes and not cooked something long enough. It doesn’t take too much more time to get the pressure cooker back up to pressure to give the meat more time under that high heat. The moral (well actually there are multiple!) of this story:

  1. If you think Instant Pot isn’t fancy enough for a dinner party, think again.
  2. If you think Instant Pot is too difficult to use as a beginner, don’t second guess yourself.
  3. Instant Pot really can be a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch in the kitchen. 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with your Instant Pot. What funny things have occurred, how have you used it to make your cooking life easier, what have you learned as you’ve experimented with it? Or, what would you like to try in the Instant Pot that you’re scared to make…let me be your guinea pig and I’ll try it first and tell you how it went!

Dawn Simmons, Instant Pot Enthusiast