When my grandparents died, I inherited a lot of their kitchen do-dads, pots, and pans, including their Presto Pressure Cooker from the 1950s. While they were alive, I helped them can with it many, many times. But after their death, it sat under my sink for about two year because, quite frankly, I was afraid of it.
If you look up "pressure cooker" on the net, you'll find all of these articles about how it is incredibly dangerous to use a vintage pressure cooker. They will split in two, they wont stay closed, they'll explode and shower you with shrapnel, give you a fatal concussion, and you'll bleed to death (okay, I made that last part up). The truth of the matter is that if the cooker has none to very minimal pitting, no cracks, a seal that isn't brittle with no cracks, and closes securely, you'll most likely be okay. OR, you could buy a new one, as it probably wouldn't cost much more than an old one. To compare different cookers, you can go here. My cooker is an 8 quart, and I can't imagine having anything smaller.
So I got brave. So far, I've made beef tips, Swiss steak, carnitas, chipotle beef, and my latest creation: Magical Pulled Pork (sorry Barbara, it's meat). I didn't really follow a particular recipe, instead, I combined ingredients from Carolina pulled pork and, of all things, Bourbon chicken.
Magical Pulled Pork
4 - 5 pounds pork butt
1 extremely large red onion (half minced and the other half cut in two)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1-1/2 cup Coca-cola
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flake
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cayanne seasoning
2 teaspoons cracked red pepper
1 cup ketchup
Heat the pressure cooker on high until it's lip is hot to the touch.
Add around 1/4 cup oil so that the food wont stick.
Add pork, brown on all sides.
Place the two quarters of red onion on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the pork on top.
Add everything else to the cooker.
Place lid, watch for a steady stream of steam to escape from the cooker. Then place the pressure indicator. Once the indicator has reached the cook position, turn the burner down as low as you can while maintaining the indicator at the cook position (this varies from stove to stove).
Cook the pork 15 minutes per pound.
Once cook time is complete, remove cooker from stove, wait for pressure indicator to drop, and remove it. BE CAREFUL. A JET OF STEAM WILL ESCAPE AND COULD SCALD YOU.
Once all steam is released, remove the lid (don't force it - if it doesn't come off easily, there is still too much pressure in the cooker.)
Stir up everything in the cooker - there will be a lot of juice.
Remove the pork butt and onions and chop up and tease apart with forks to shred it. Add in juice until the pork is as sloppy juicy as you want it.
You can add bbq sauce if you like, but it's pretty magical just like this!
Note: If you do this in a slow cooker, it should be cooked for approximately 11 hours at the medium setting. Before putting the lid on the cooker, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the opening to hold in all of the juices. The pork butt should measure 160 F when checked with a meat thermometer.
My picky 11 year old thought this was amazing. He told me all night long that he couldn't stop thinking about that pulled pork. I took some to a friend who had just gotten home from the hospital and got a facebook message that it was awesome. Hopefully, you'll think so, too!