truLOCAL in Your Instant Pot: Tips & Tricks

If you are passionate about cooking but you also struggle to find time for everything you have to do in a day, then the Instant Pot is probably your new best friend.

If you are passionate about cooking but you also struggle to find time for everything you have to do in a day, then the Instant Pot is probably your new best friend.


Pressure cookers have been around for centuries, but the Instant Pot allows for a degree of accuracy, safety, and convenience that would have been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago. No wonder they are one of the most popular cooking tools around!

But while simple foods like soups, stews, and sauces might be easy to whip up in your Instant Pot, using more advanced cooking techniques requires a bit more know-how. While speed is the Instant Pot’s main selling feature, if you aren’t careful your pork shoulder can come out tasting bland and boiled. 

If you want to make the most of your truLOCAL monthly meat delivery while taking full advantage of the Instant Pot’s wide range of cooking features, there are a few tricks you’ll need to master. Some of them have to do with cooking techniques, some of them have to do with flavour, and some of them are simply about convenience — but all of them will help you appreciate your truLOCAL and your Instant Pot more fully. 

Check out these four cooking tips that will help you use the Instant Pot’s versatility and speed without losing any of the fantastic flavour that you’ve come to associate with the local cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and buffalo in your truLOCAL delivery. 

1. Follow the Recipe Exactly

When you’re cooking on a stove top or in an oven, you have a lot of control over how the final product turns out. You can check how much the meat has cooked, you can add more oil or water as needed, and you can baste the chicken if it is getting too dry.

The cost of this moment-by-moment control, however, is time: you have to be constantly checking the food to make sure it isn’t burning, boiling over, or drying out.

While some people thoroughly enjoy spending an hour in their kitchen after getting home from work, and indeed find it to be a valuable decompression time, others simply don’t have the luxury to spend so much of their day cooking.

For this group, the Instant Pot is a major breakthrough, insofar as it makes preparing healthy, home-cooked meals both practical and easy.

But although the Instant Pot frees up time, it also requires a much more exacting attention to the recipe. When you’re using an Instant Pot, you can’t simply pull out the meat to see how it’s doing. Instead, you have to make sure that everything from the spices to the trim to the braising broth is ready to go in advance, and you have to be extra careful about your measurements.

Once you lock down the lid, after all, you don’t want to open it again until the meal is ready!

Say you want to make a simple turkey adobo recipe. You order turkey thighs for an easy meal through truLOCAL, and you get together the ingredients you’ll need — for most adobo recipes, this will include soy sauce, salt and pepper, sugar, vinegar, garlic, onions, and bay leaves, as well as rice.

Once you’ve browned the turkey thighs in oil, you’ll need to measure in everything very precisely, and be exact about setting the timer (remember, the timer measures how long the cooking will take once the pot has reached full pressure, not the total cooking time, which includes heat up and depressurization).

This means planning everything out in advance. And if you want to use your Instant Pot to cook the rice as well, you’ll need to factor in time for cleaning the pot and changing the settings. 

The good news is that while this sounds like a lot of work, once you’re used to how the Instant Pot works, you’ll quickly be using it with all your favourite truLOCAL meats!

2. Make Use of the Sauté Feature

Instant pots use the power of steam to cook your food much faster. While this is extremely convenient, many people switching over to the instant pot after years of cooking on a stove top and with an oven find, especially when cooking cuts like pork loin and roast beef, that the resulting foods lack the flavour these meats have when they are cooked the old fashioned way.

There is a simple explanation for this, and it comes down to searing. Traditional recipes for cooking roasts, loins, steaks, or even chicken breasts rely on pan frying or grilling at high heat to sear in the juices, and then cook at a lower heat in an oven to bring up the meat’s internal temperature.

This strategic use of different kinds of heat creates the delicious brown crust that we associate with a nice roast, and the only way to achieve this is by sautéing the meat before cooking. Fortunately, the instant pot comes with a sauté feature that allows you to cook meat (or anything else) in oil.

Whether you want to prepare ground beef for instant pot chilli or are cooking a nice big roast, sautéing the meat in oil before activating the pressure cooker feature will go a long way toward improving the overall flavour and texture of the meat.

One of the things that makes the instant pot so convenient is the fact that, unlike when cooking on a stove top, you don’t need to worry about transferring the meat from the pan to the oven — once you have seared the meat, you can simple switch features, add the water you need for pressure cooking and any other ingredients you might need, and your meat can be ready to serve in a matter of minutes.

Sautéing doesn’t take long, but the difference it makes in the overall flavour and texture of the meat cannot be overstated. If you appreciate how the instant pot saves you time but don’t want to lose out on that seared flavour that is such a big part of classic French cuisine, make sure to take advantage of that searing feature!  

3. Don’t Skimp on Preparation

One of the reasons we all love our instant pots is because of the way they allow us to cook our favourite meals in a fraction of the time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just gotten home after a long day and don’t want to cook — with an instant pot you can put everything in, set the timer, and have a home cooked dinner ready in less than an hour.

But taking advantage of what the instant pot makes possible does require some forethought. Even though you can technically plug it in, hit the timer, and go, you’ll still need to make sure that your favourite cuts of meat have been seasoned and prepared for maximal flavour.

One of the best ways to do this is to schedule a meal prep day on the weekend or on some evening early in the week. This will ensure that no matter how tired you are, you can simply pop your prepped portions into the instant pot and set it up for the right cooking time.

While there is plenty of advice online about how you can use different tips and tricks to prepare delicious meals in advance, when cooking with truLOCAL meat, you can take advantage of the fact that every cut we deliver comes pre-packaged for ease and efficiency.

When you unpack your truLOCAL order, you’ll find that every cut is already individually wrapped, which means that you don’t have to separate the meat into individual portions yourself.

This means that, in order to take care of your instant pot meal prep for the week, all you need to do is portion out the spices (making your own spice mixes and storing in little plastic bags is a great way to experiment with natural flavours) and the grains, legumes, or chopped veggies you’ll be cooking alongside the meat.

When you leave for work in the morning, simply remove the cut of meat you want to eat that night from the freezer and let it defrost in your fridge over the course of the day. When you got home, prepare the meat by chopping or searing it, toss in the other ingredients, turn on the instant pot, and you’re ready to go.

And if you don’t need to sear your meat for the recipe, you don’t even need to worry about defrosting the meat beforehand — the Instant Pot can be set to defrost your meat before cooking it!

4. Clean Your Instant Pot Thoroughly After Every Use

Like any other tool you use in your kitchen, your Instant Pot is going to get dirty. This is especially true if you’re cooking a lot of rich, fatty foods like chicken thighs with the skin on or baby back ribs.

While nothing tastes quite as good as a rack of ribs cooked in a savoury barbecue sauce until the meat falls clean off the bone, in order to get consistently good results out of your Instant Pot when cooking these kinds of dishes, you need to make sure that your gaskets are clean, your condensation collector is regularly emptied, and your sealing ring isn’t worn out. 

Instant Pots are designed to withstand a great deal of pressure, and they can only do so if they are operating at peak condition. If you cook with your Instant Pot every day and you don’t spend any time on cleaning and maintenance, you will quickly find the quality of your food decreasing until the point where your Instant Pot is barely cooking your food at all.

And if you regularly cook meat in your Instant Pot but aren’t careful about cleaning all the accessories, you could even run into a nightmare scenario where you accidentally set up a maggot farm in your condensation collector. 

There are plenty of maintenance resources available for Instant Pot owners online that will help you learn how giving your pot a quick clean after use can extend its life by years, so if you are excited by the culinary possibilities that come with incorporating your truLOCAL order into your favourite pressure cooker recipes, don’t forget to undergo regular maintenance as well.

One of the things that sets truLOCAL apart from other meat delivery services in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario is the fact that we work closely with local producers and farmers to provide our customers with a new way to support local farming initiatives committed to the highest standards of health, flavour, and sustainability. 

At truLOCAL, we understand that a healthy diet relies on healthy meat, and healthy meat comes from healthy animals that have been raised in environmentally friendly and humane ways. We also understand that, from a health perspective, the most significant lifestyle change most Canadians can make is to cook more of their food at home. 

This is one of the reasons we’ve designed our fresh meat delivery service to offer Canadians a stress-free way of ordering their favourite local meats. Not only does this put local meat in reach of people who might struggle to get hold of it otherwise, but it also makes cooking from home a natural and enjoyable activity.

And when you pair the convenience of truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery with the speed and efficiency of the Instant Pot, exciting things can happen. Instant Pots are a great way to cook all kinds of meat and poultry, and when you use these four simple cooking tips, you’re sure to get a great result every time!  

Posted on January 19th, 2023