Instant Pot Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork (Paleo, AIP)

 

I made a big, well big to me, announcement on social media yesterday! If you’ve been following G&E from its inception in 2014, you’ll have noticed I have written a few articles on fertility (or infertility as was my case) with autoimmune disease. I struggled with this issue for my entire 20’s (I’ll be 28 this year), and it was really that last piece of the puzzle that I felt like I had been chasing for years. I thought I would continue to chase it for many more years until I was so tired, I gave up. Or I went through menopause. Whichever came first. Fact is I’ve been wanting to start a family since we got married 18 months ago, and I was determined to do everything in my power to make that happen as naturally as possible. Thankfully, the race ended in 2015 with me crossing the finish line instead of ducking out at a water station and going home. I had a horrible, horrible, horrible (can I say it five more times or is that annoying?) Hashimoto’s flare that lasted from the end of 2014 through summer 2015. It nearly killed my soul. On the other side of that flare waiting for me though was a little baby girl. So all that suffering had a purpose after all. Keep reading, if you’re like, this is the worst baby announcement ever. It gets better.

 

For the first time in my life, I was actually overweight (according to doctors) in 2015. It wasn’t necessarily my diet or exercise by any means. I gained 20 pounds in less than 2 months without changes to either and then an additional 15 over the next 4 months. The incredible control the thyroid has over our bodies is really mind-boggling. And can be very depressing at times, especially those times when you cannot control the control board of your very own body. I struggled with poor body image all of 2015. My clothes didn’t fit (far from it in fact), I couldn’t believe the number I was seeing on the scale, and I hated looking at myself in photos. I’ll be honest – I still don’t love seeing new pictures of me. I’m vain, what can I say. Don’t tell me you’re not! But I have come extremely far in the past year in terms of my acceptance of my new body. I look like this for now, and I don’t know if it will ever change. I’ve had some not-so-nice comments said to me, and I’m sure more than one person thinks I’ve been bingeing at home the entire year, which is far from the case. Anyone with Hashimoto’s-induced weight struggles will tell you, it doesn’t matter if you’re living on carrots and lettuce. You still gain and gain and gain and gain. And then gain some more. It turns out that even know I don’t particularly like the looks of my newly cushy body, my fertility does.

 

So basically 2015, overall, sucked despite the amazing opportunity to author a cookbook. I was depressed almost the whole year and had very poor self esteem. When you go from happy with yourself, vibrant, social, and fit to the absolute opposite spectrum in every way possible, your world is rocked. I’m not ashamed to say those things about myself. It’s just the honest truth, and I know I’m not alone in those feelings in the autoimmune community.

 

In September, after I graduated from my master’s program, moved from Chicago (our 4th move of the year!), and was in between our move to Austin, I booked my husband and I a last minute trip to Hawaii. I just wanted to be somewhere peaceful, beautiful, and as far as &%&* away from everything without needing to bring my passport. I had apprehensions about the trip a few days before. Just odd feelings and very anxious. I don’t know why. Probably because I’m a bit scared to fly over the ocean and also because there were some nearby hurricanes and resultant tsunamis near the islands. It was also supposed to rain the entire time we were there, so I was a bit bummed.

 

Two nights before we were to leave, we were visiting my husband’s family in Omaha and at a friend’s house. The friend has a close relationship with a woman she told me had some, shall we say, spiritual powers. Of course my interest was piqued, as I’m very open minded to that sort of thing. I wanted to know if the friend had any inklings about what was to come in my life. I didn’t feel like I had a big purpose for the first time in years. I was moving to Austin without a job and away from friends or family. I was overall disengaged from my previous interests and inspirations. I didn’t have that one big goal to work towards like I had throughout my adolescence and early adulthood.

 

The friend told me she saw a baby in my future in the next year and a whole host of other accurate and interesting things about my health, career, and relationships. What she said about my past was true, and she knew some intimate details about deceased family members whom I cherish. She had calmed my fears about my trip to Hawaii and said she saw it as a second honeymoon. Our first honeymoon was pretty terrible for me as it was at the beginning of that 2014 flare, and I was a miserable mess the whole time. I let go of my fear for the trip and off we went, hoping for the best!

 

A couple days later she texted me to tell me the baby was coming sooner than she thought. In fact, she said, I was already pregnant and just didn’t know it yet! She said it could be someone close to me in my life as well, it was hard for her to tell, but I had a gut feeling it was in fact me. I was only 3 1/2 weeks pregnant at the time, so I couldn’t test just yet.

 

In Hawaii, right at the 28 day mark of my menstrual cycle, I took a pregnancy test and when the two double lines showed up, I broke into tears. I was by myself because my husband had went to the bathroom to change into his trunks to go surfing. I wanted to take the test by myself because it was me and only me who overcame what I had this past year. Everything I had gone through in 2014 and 2015 DID have a bigger purpose. And I finally had mine. I wrote in the sand before his return to the beach “I’m pregnant!” We took a picture, giggled, went into slight shock, then he went surfing for a couple hours while I laid in the sand pondering this new little cell development. I can’t believe that was already 4 months ago!

 

I’m halfway through my pregnancy this week (20 weeks!), and I will be sharing my journey in a separate post soon, as I know there’s many young women who follow me here with similar goals and struggles.

 

Welcome to the family, Grace Julia! We will see you 6-1-16 (hopefully just a bit earlier than that, please?!) and cannot wait to smother you in kisses!

Oh yes, and here is a VERY delicious pulled pork recipe for your Instant Pot!

Only own a slow cooker? Just cook your pork on low heat until tender and shreddable for anywhere between 7 to 9 hours or overnight!

 

 

 

This recipe is so popular you can even find it in The Paleo AIP Instant Pot cookbook along with 140 additional recipes!

 

103 reviews

Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 01:40 Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup broth 

Directions

  1. Place pork shoulder in Instant Pot insert. In a small bowl, mix sea salt, cinnamon and garlic together. Rub on all sides of the pork shoulder.
  2. Lay bacon on top of the pork. Sprinkle balsamic and fish sauce over the bacon, then lay onion slices on top. Carefully pour in broth around the roast.
  3. Pressure cook on manual setting, ensuring the lid is sealed, for 1 hour 40 minutes (100 minutes).
  4. Release pressure and use a set of large tongs to transfer the pork roast (bacon and onions included) onto a rimmed cutting board, baking sheet, or a large and deep glass storage container. Use two forks to shred the meat, bacon, and onion well.
  5. In a measuring cup, whisk ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the insert with the maple syrup. Pour over the pulled pork and toss to coat. Toss again just before serving.

53 comments on “Instant Pot Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork (Paleo, AIP)

  • I’ve never heard of
    Red Boat Fish Sauce

    Is there something else I can use? Is it like an Asian fish sauce? Or maybe spicy?
    Should I just leave it out?

    Thanks for your help.
    Mary

    Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      Yes it’s exactly the same thing. Red Boat is a sugar-free version, but you can definitely use the fish sauce in the supermarket that has negligible amount of sugar in it. You can leave it out but it does add savory flavor.

      Reply
  • Julie Driscoll says:

    I’m cooking this for a family meal today, looks delicious! Should I increase the time if the roast is 4.2 lbs?

    Reply
  • Sandy Pineau says:

    I love this recipe so much – I’ve made it ten times in two months! My “tweak” is using maple balsamic in place of the plain balsamic. My husband used this pulled pork to make loaded nachos – the sweet with the spicy is amazing. My non-AIP friends and family agree it’s the best pulled pork they’ve ever tasted!

    Reply
  • Katelin Kienapple says:

    This was my first real meal I made in my IP. So happy with how it turned out! I have a 3qt, so I wasn’t sure if it could handle it but it was just fine! My pork was just shy of 3lbs so I decreased the cooking time by 10 mins. It was very lovely!

    Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      High pressure & this is a GREAT recipe for crowds! I have so many non-Paleo friends who make this recipe all the time 🙂

      Reply
  • I”m trying this tonight for my husband’s birthday dinner! I am going to follow the recipe, but was curious about the liquid in the pot. I thought that IP needed more liquid in it than just 1/4 cup, but I can see that others have tried this recipe with success. I was just curious how to know when you have to put in liquid and when you don’t.

    Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      Hi Bekah! Because food contains water and releases it’s own liquid and fat, I do not find you need a 1 cup minimum liquid for many IP recipes. Certain foods may burn but a nice fatty pork roast will not, and it will release enough of its own juices to cook nicely. You’ll find at least 3x as much liquid in the pot after you cook the roast, in fact!

      Reply
  • This failed me. It burned my pan and i have to start all over and have no idea where to start. Smells amazing but after just cooking for ten minutes it did an auto shut off from burning.

    Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      Ah that’s so odd! I’m not sure since it’s worked for so many people, either not enough liquid or your pot wasn’t sealed correctly? What model do you use?

      Reply
      • Did the same thing for me. It never pressurized and hardly any steam came out of the vent. I have an 8 qt. Instant pot and 1/4 cup of liquid isn’t enough. 😬 I think I’m going to try adding broth.

        Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      I’ve never tried – honestly I’ve always been nervous to use frozen meat in Instant Pot because the outside cooks fast and then the inside takes forever and doesn’t shred as easily as the outside so then you end up overcooking the outside lol I defrost in a bowl of warm water for 1 hour for large roasts if I haven’t allowed 36 hours to thaw in fridge.

      Reply
  • Made this last night. Used the recipe given, omitted the fish sauce. It. Was. AMAZING. Thanks for the recipe and the responses to the questions asked in the comments, very helpful!

    Reply
  • This was delicious. I didn’t have maple syrup so I omitted it. Still awesome. I did mine in a slow cooker on low for 9 hours.

    Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      I love that you can use both the IP & slow cooker for this recipe. Maple adds a little sweetness to balance out the smokiness from bacon but not required 🙂

      Reply
  • Wow! This is amazing. My husband, who is usually bratty about my AIP meals, asked me to make this again as soon as possible. I usually have leftovers for days because he only eats things once. This one only lasted a day and a half. I used it for tacos on coconut tortillas with cabbage and mango salsa. I plan to make this for my SAD friends. 🙂 5 stars for sure! Thank you!

    Reply
      • Do you have any suggestions on what to pair this with? Tacos are a definite win, but I feel like this recipe is more versatile.

        Reply
          • Yum! Thanks for the suggestions. I made a double batch last night, and my husband said, “this stuff is like f@#king crack,” as he was standing over the pan spooning it into his mouth. 😉

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Low processed sweeteners like maple, honey, coconut sugar are allowed in small quantities! There’s full list of AIP allowable foods on The Paleo Mom & Phoenix Helix’s websites!

      Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      I prefer a homemade or good quality storebought like Epic or Bonafide Provisions or Kettle & Fire – beef or chicken!

      Reply
  • Hi, making this today and wondering what type of broth do you recommend. I know I can use water as well…but thought I’d ask. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Do you think this would work with boneless skinless chicken breast? Or maybe bone-in and then just remove it from the bone. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Alaena Haber says:

      I’ve never tried it but it’ll certainly work, just with a necessary adjustment to the cooking time!

      Reply
  • June 2018 ~ This recipe is pretty awesome. First time making it in the IP. We loved the flavor combinations. We had it served over a baked potato, had it on hamburger buns and enjoyed it as ‘just meat’. No matter how it is served, it is delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I will be making this one again.

    Reply

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