Pork in an instant pot

Can You Overcook Meat in An Instant Pot?

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Cooking, for some, is therapeutic. In fact, some people enjoy the cooking bit just as much as they do the eating bit. But the problem is, what if you overcook something you were looking forward to?

Yes, you can overcook meat in an instant pot. But that depends on the cut and the size of the meat. Heat travels differently through different cuts and sizes. That is why you should be mindful when you start to cook it.

With that being said, you really should not worry about it too much. A lot of people cook with instant pots all the time! And guess what? Their recipes come out fantastic. As long as you are doing it right and are careful about the time and temperature, it should be all fine.

Can You Really Overcook Meat in An Instant Pot?

People love using instant pots for convenience. But that does not mean that it is a hand-to-hand affair. You still need to be present while your instant pot is cooking your ingredients.

Otherwise, you run the risk of overcooking them. Overcooking meat in an instant pot is something that can happen. But it depends on the size. Actually, how fast heat travels depends on the size of the ingredient as well.

And that is especially true for cooking meats. How the pot cooks the meat will depend on the size of the meat and the cut as well. Different sizes and cuts will cook at different rates. So, if left unattended, there is a chance that it will overcook the meat. 

The size of the meat essentially dictates how heat travels through it. If it is pretty large, then it travels slowly. Naturally, if it is smaller, heat travels fast. 

Take a roast, for example. It has one of the longest times for the heat to travel from the outside to the center. And that is when it starts cooking. A roast can take up to 45 minutes. 

If you were to slice it up, it would take less time. If sliced into 1-inch chunks, it would take only 20 minutes to cook. Ground beef, on the other hand, takes only about 5 minutes.

The sad part is that you can’t go back in time if you overcook the meat in an instant pot. You sort of need to start over. The good part is, if you do it right, your meat will come out pretty tender. 

This is because the pressure inside the pot will make it super soft and tender, almost like how slow cooking does. That is a bonus.

Should You Be Worried About Overcooking Meat in An Instant Pot?

A lot of people rely on instant pots since they are so convenient. You get pretty consistent results each time. As far as the risk of overcooking goes, I do not think it is much of a worry. 

As long as you time it right, your dishes will come out right. And most instant pots will have timers for specific ingredients. As I mentioned before, different sizes of meat and cuts require different cooking times.

So, while the temperature is important, the time is equally important. Just make sure you cook each cut for a specific amount of time at the correct temperature.

In some cases, your instant pot might not come with specific instructions. Or the recipe you are following might not tell you how long to keep the meat in the instant pot and/or at what temperature. 

Then you can do some trial and error. You can check what kind of meats require how much time to cook in your particular instant pot model. 

How To Properly Cook Meat in An Instant Pot?

If you want your meat to never be overcooked, then you should know how to cook with an instant pot. Cooking meat in an instant pot can be tricky at times, but you do not need to be a world-class chef to get it right. 

Before I go into the details of different kinds of meat, let’s look at some general best practices. Knowing these will help you get the basics right. There are some important safety tips as well.

  1. Safety First

The first tip is safety first. No matter what you are cooking, when you are in the kitchen, safety should be your top priority. Make sure the lid is closed properly and that the silicone lid cover is correctly installed. 

You can also read the manual of your instant pot to see what specific safety instructions are given by the manufacturers. Do not ignore gloves either. Instant pots can get quite hot. If you are not careful then you run the risk of burning yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Undercooking Is Better Than Overcooking

A good rule of thumb for avoiding overcooking is to undercook. If you undercook the meat, you can just put it back in the instant pot to cook it a bit more. But if you overcook it, the meat is ruined. 

So, to be on the safe side, you should undercook the meat. That is how you can be absolutely sure that nothing will go wrong. There are a couple of ways you can tell that your meat is undercooked. The first one is that it is not tender but has flavors and is juicy. If your meat is overcooked, then it will be pretty tough and not that flavorful. 

If you want some solid numbers, then you should know that ground meat should be cooked to 160°F. On the other hand, chicken needs to be cooked to 165°F. And chops, fresh meat steaks, and roasts need to be cooked to 145°F.

Cooking Different Kinds of Meats

Let’s check out some of the different ways you should be cooking all the kinds of meat out there. I will keep this fairly short and will not bore you with all the details.

Diced Meat

The thing about cooking diced meat with an instant pot is that the time is reduced dramatically. You can cook it in minutes. Just season your meat, add 1 or 2 cups of water and cook for 20 minutes.

Pot Roast

If you are cooking small chunks, then cook them for 15 minutes per pound of meat. And if you are cooking the whole roast, you will need more time. 20 minutes should be fine. 

Chicken Breasts

You need to add 1 or 2 cups of water to the inner pot. Then cook for 8 minutes at high pressure and then use the quick pressure release. 

Roast Chicken 

If you are cooking a delicious roast chicken, you need to season it first. Place your trivet on it and then add 1 cup of water. Then put the chicken inside the trivet. Then just follow the usual instructions. Time should be 10–15 minutes.

Ground Beef

For ground beef, you can use your instant pot’s sauté function if it has one. Or you can just add 1 cup of water and place your ground beef under high pressure for 6 minutes or so. You can also check out this article for details. 

Of course, there are other kinds of meat out there. Everyone will have their own preferences. However, the general rule applies to all kinds of meats. As long as you are mindful about the cooking time and the temperature, it should be just fine.

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