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Instant Pot: Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwich (Pan con Lechon)

There are very few things that can bring people running to your house. Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwiches or Pan Con Lechon, is definitely one of them. It’s an absolute crowd favorite. However, when you make it traditionally, it definitely takes a lot of time and effort.

In life, we are constantly looking for ways to simplify. We want to have that amazing feeling of hosting friends and family and serving something they will love, like Pan Con Lechon, but sometimes we just don’t have the time and energy.

Instant Pot: A Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwich Hero

Enter the Instant Pot. If you have read any of our other Instant Pot Recipes (Ropa Vieja, Turkey Picadillo), then you already know we are huge fans of this product. No, they don’t sponsor us. We honestly just are blown away by the Instant Pot’s ability to slash not just time but effort without losing any of the flavor. The Instant Pot is like what you find at the end of a Rainbow! A kitchen jackpot! Seriously, go buy one! If not for you for the people you want to invite over to eat this delicious Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwich.

Searing the pork shoulder is the most time consuming step but worthwhile because it imparts a lot of flavor into the dish. The searing will leave those yummy pork bits at the bottom of the Instant Pot that will help build flavor. Boneless pork shoulder is a tough and fatty cut, and it needs time to soften and meld with all the surrounding flavors. .  

A good Pan Con Lechon always hits the spot. Miami is filled with spots who have perfected the Pan con Lechon. They all have a few things in common succulent pork, fresh bread, tasty mojo and studded with little pieces of chicharron/pork rinds for a crunchy surprise. This recipe tries to bring all those things together. 

Our Tips for making Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwiches aka Pan Con Lechon

  • Fresh Bread. Make sure you buy your bread the day you plan to serve. It’s a simple step that makes all the difference.
  • When searing your Pork in the Instant Pot keep in mind that the Saute setting gets very hot. Be mindful not to get it too dark or it could burn. Once seared on all sides, remove it from the Instant Pot and set aside for a few minutes.
  • You can also make this recipe in the Slow Cooker. The crock pot is a natural fit for this pork shoulder recipe. It will come out absolutely delicious, but doing the Pork Shoulder in a slow cooker still makes it simple and easy for you but still takes time. To do this: Just sear the pork in a separate pan, and then follow Steps 3 forward. The Pork needs at least 8-9 hours in the slow cooker depending on the size. So keep that in mind.
  • No matter what you use to make it, it’s important to shred the pork on a separate plate so you can remove all the fatty pieces from it. If you shred it in the slow cooker those will stay behind.
  • Once it’s cooked and shredded, you can eat it as is or make many recipes from it such as Cuban Nachos, Stuffed Peppers and Quesadillas to name a few. In fact even have it just as it is with a side of White Rice or Quick Congri.

Let’s Cook!

Instant Pot: Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwich (Pan con Lechon)

Recipe by Abuelas Cuban CounterCourse: EntreeCuisine: CubanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

10

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • 3.5 to 4 pound boneless pork shoulder picnic  

  • Juice of 1 orange

  • 1 thin slice of orange

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 thin slice of lime

  • 12 cloves of garlic

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups of chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons of salt 

  • 1 tablespoon of sazon

  • 2 bay leaves

  • ¼ cup of olive oil

  • 1 sprig of oregano 

  • 2 loaves of Cuban bread

  • Garnish and serve with lime wedges, our recipe of mojo criollo and finely chopped pieces of crunchy chicharron

Directions

  • Drizzle the pork with oil. Rub it on all sides and sprinkle with the sazon and half the salt. 
  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute. Place the pork in the pan and sear on all sides for about 3 minutes until it is golden brown. This setting gets very hot so be mindful not to get it too dark or it could burn. Once seared on all sides, remove it from the Instant Pot and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Once you have set the Pork to the side, add the onions, orange slice, lime slice, juices, garlic cloves, remaining salt, oregano, remaining salt and bay leaves to your Instant Pot. Mix it together to spread the salt evenly. 
  • Then place the seared pork butt on top. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup of water. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 60 minutes.
  • Once it’s ready, allow for the pressure to Naturally Release for 15-20 minutes. Then carefully remove the whole pork shoulder onto a plate to shred.
  • Shred and pull it apart with a fork. Discard the large fatty parts. 
     
  • While the pork is on a separate plate, taste the sauce and add seasoning to taste. Place the shredded pork back into the sauce. Keep the pork in the Instant Pot on warm until you are ready to use. 
     
  • Open the bread and fill it with the shredded pork. Top with finely crumbled chicharron. Serve with a side of mojo criollo or drizzle some over the top bun.

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