Instant pots exploded onto the market a few years ago and have quickly become one of the most sought after kitchen appliances.
This seemingly revolutionary device allows you to cook in a multitude of different ways, all with intuitive controls and functions. An Instant Pot will pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, and even make your yoghurt.
Regardless of how ingenious a device is, you still need to make sure you do what you can to make your meals taste delicious.
You don’t want to set a nice roast in the slow cooker all day just to come home to a bland and tasteless piece of meat. To ensure that your effort isn’t made in vain, there are a number of things you can do to keep your meat tasting great.
What Causes Bland Meat in an Instant Pot?
There can be many different reasons that your meat doesn’t taste all that great, and your Instant Pot may not make a difference. Sometimes just the cut of the piece of meat itself is of sub-par quality, and if you aren’t aware, you will be in for a disappointment.
Always try to get your meat from a reliable and reputable source, as there is a large variation in quality.
Meat can be underwhelming due to the way it is stored, handled, seasoned, and cooked, just to name a few possibilities. When you are dealing with a nice piece of meat it is important to take care of it every step of the way, as this will give you the best chance of success.
Understand Your Protein
Different types of protein are going to need to be handled in different ways, as well, various cuts from the same protein source require different methods.
It pays to understand what you are cooking and tried and tested ways of cooking them. Some meats are better off being smoked or slow-cooked, while others just need a quick sear, and there are those types that are in between.
Your instant pot is able to cook a variety of different meats, including:
- Seafood and shellfish
With the ability to steam your food the Instant Pot can easily handle any delicate fish you want to throw at it. You will get your seafood cooked just right and have it moist and flaky every time with enough practice.
Mussels are going to be a breeze as well, and you can add your favorite broth or liquid to ensure amazing flavor.
If you plan on using the slow cooker while at work all day, something like beef or pork roast would be ideal. If you wanted to make up a quick stirfry using various functions, then thinner cuts of chicken or beef would be better. It starts with knowing what you are eating, then you can get the best out of it.
Understand Your Instant Pot
Just like you need to understand what you are cooking, you also need to understand the device you are cooking it in.
As the Instant Pot has numerous cooking functions you must take the time to get familiar with them. This machine can make an entire meal with minimal effort if you know what you are doing.
One way thing that is a must know is to never set your slow-cooker on the lowest setting. This is more of a warming function and can leave you with very unappetizing meat at the end of a long day. You should also take into account how long the pot takes to get pressurized as the recipe times do not include that.
It Starts With Seasoning
With great meat comes great responsibility, so your meat definitely must be seasoned properly.
Unless you are on some form of diet restriction, for just about any piece of protein, salt, and pepper are your best friends. You may think you are overdoing it with the salt, but protein really needs this to shine.
Depending on the type of protein and theme of the meal, seasoning can vary wildly, but it is always going to be key to a tasty meal. Get creative with your dried herbs and spices, as that piece of meat is really just a blank canvas for flavor.
Use the Sautee Feature
If you are cooking a one-pot meal it is essential to take advantage of the sautee feature for your meat and vegetables. Your veggies are going to develop all the flavor as they sautee, especially when seasoned properly.
As well, your meat is always going to turn out better when you sear the outsides, as it keeps the flavor and juice inside where it belongs.
This feature is a great way to not only make sure your meat, and the rest of your meal, is far from bland, it is also very efficient. You won’t have to turn on your stovetop or dirty any frying pans, as this machine can do all of it for you.
Liquid Can Be Your Friend
When it comes to slow cooking a piece of meat, the liquid is going to give you a two-pronged attack. Firstly it is going to make sure that your meat stays moist as it cooks, as the cooking process can really dry it out. It is also a great opportunity to add some flavor to the dish, as just about any liquid can be used.
Try doing your next batch of pulled pork with some apple juice in the mix. This is going to give the traditional apple flavor that goes great with pork and also keeps it hydrated.
Canned soups are another great way to accomplish both tasks, and go great with slow-cooked beef roasts.
Make Use of Marinades
There is a foolproof way to guarantee that your meat is not going to turn out bland, and that is to marinate it. Marinades are extremely versatile in the types of flavors you can add to them, as it is completely up to the cook.
Cheaper and tougher cuts of beef and pork can be marinated with something acidic for a day or two, and this will help with both flavour and toughness.
Chicken and other poultry can always benefit from a short marinade before cooking. A healthy dose of olive oil with your favorite tastes for a few hours will make bland poultry a thing of the past. It is a great time to get creative with your flavors and see if you can come up with a new hit recipe.
Even certain seafood can be marinated for a short time before cooking. As fish is much more delicate than other pieces of protein, you will want to marinate for shorter periods of time. Regardless, you can really infuse the seafood with other flavors to kick your dish up a notch.
It Pays to Know Your Protein
While an instant pot is a great tool that millions of people make use of on a daily basis, it is not going to do everything for you. It is up to the cook to know enough about their ingredients and cooking instruments to ensure that meat stays flavorful and doesn’t turn out tough and bland.
As long as you follow some of the above tips you should have a lot of success with creating delicious meals for you and your family. It is important to try to broaden your food knowledge, as this is going to be the key to crafting great recipes and keeping everyone at the table happy.