Does Your Instant Pot Double as a Smoker? We Tested It and Weird Things Happened
Because this appliance isn't doing enough already, you know?
What can’t the Instant Pot do?
Indeed, this all-in-one cooking tool is breathing new life into our ability to get dinner on the table in practically no time and with very little effort. It pressure cooks, slow cooks, sears, sautés, steams, cooks rice, cultures yogurt, makes wine, does my taxes (I wish), and more.
Obviously that’s not enough, so in this week’s episode of Hit or Myth, we set out to test whether or not you can use your Instant Pot as a smoker.
Why, you ask? First, because smoking is delicious. Second, because smoking is delicious and it takes forever. We read online that a pressure cooker can double as a smoker—just fill the cooking insert up with wood chips, then drop in a steamer basket and a hearty cut of meat (we opted for brisket, because brisket) and let the device do the work in a fraction of the time it would take in your backyard et al.
Here’s a quick 411 on how pressure cooking works. When heated, pressure cookers raise the boiling point of water and trap steam inside, which is how they decrease cook time by up to 70 percent. Essentially, if this method can be applied to smoking meat, we’ll have unearthed a life-changing cooking hack.
Here’s what we did
We started with a three- to four-pound piece of brisket and cut it into four pieces, then rubbed it all over with dry spice rub, salt, and pepper. We let the meat hang out for about an hour while our mesquite wood chips soaked in water for 30 minutes. We drained the chips, then dropped them into the bottom of the Instant Pot insert and covered them with an OXO silicone rack. After adding the brisket and a cup of chicken broth, we locked the lid and set the IP to pressure cook on High for 90 minutes. (Keep in mind: pressure cookers can take quite a while to come up to pressure. So even if the recipe says 90 minutes, this waiting period can add up to 45 additional minutes to your cook time.)
We let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, and then released the remaining pressure manually. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
The aroma coming from the Instant Pot was smoky AF. The brisket was super tender. Everything was awesome. But was the meat smoked? Not really. It’s a myth—your Instant Pot is probably better at doing your taxes than it is at smoking. We love it still.