Busy modern folks love a tool that can do it all, so when the Instant Pot arrived on the scene in 2010, it became a near-instant craze. Over the past 10 years, each revamp of the cooking appliance has packed more uses into one compact pot. The Instant Pot released in 2014 serves as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, sauté/searing pan, steamer, and warming pot, all in one small electric appliance that you can even control from your phone via Bluetooth. There are other multicookers on the market, from manufacturers including Breville, Fagor, and Zavor, but the Instant Pot is probably the most well-known brand.
Of all the functions offered by multicookers, the one you’ll likely use most often is pressure cooking, which cooks food in a fraction of the time when compared with traditional methods by trapping the steam from the boiling liquid, which, in turn, raises the temperature at which that liquid boils. The increased temperature and pressure forces hot steam into the food, rapidly cooking whatever is inside. Pressure cooking is great for anyone under a time crunch because it’s able to break down even tough muscle fibers and intramuscular fat in a relatively short amount of time.
So should you try it for Wagyu?
Because the Instant Pot’s strength lies in breaking down tough fibers, it’s ideal for cuts of meat such as the flank, shank, and chuck roast. As it is widely known, Wagyu is some of the most tender beef you can buy, with plentiful marbling and flavorful fats, ready to melt at the first sign of a hot skillet. It would probably be silly to put most cuts of Wagyu in a high-pressure situation. Plus, you wouldn’t be saving any time once you account for the time it takes to bring everything up to pressure (at least 15 minutes). In most cases, you’re better off cooking your Wagyu in a cast iron skillet on the stove or over the grill.
Despite the fact that the pressure cooking function shines with tougher cuts, the Instant Pot has other strengths as well, such as its slow cooker and sauté functions. If you’re preparing a Wagyu stew, chili, stroganoff, or sauce, the slow cooker function could work well, allowing the Wagyu’s flavors to mingle with the other ingredients and allowing you to spend that cooking time on other pursuits. Here are a few Wagyu recipes that are ideal for the slow cooker function:
Another notable function of the Instant Pot is its sauté mode, which allows you to sear meats and sauté vegetables for side dishes, just as you would on a stove top. One advantage of using the Instant Pot for your sautéing needs, as opposed to a skillet, is that it helps avoid unnecessary messes by eliminating additional dirty dishes and reducing splatter with its high sides. It also helps keep all the flavors of the beef in, allowing you to easily cook other ingredients in the extra Wagyu fats. The downsides of using the Instant Pot for sautéing are that the surface area is smaller than that of most skillets, and the temperature options are limited to low, medium, and high, more restrictive than most stove tops. Despite the downsides, the sauté function is gentle enough to sear most any cut of Wagyu—even tender, quick-cooking cuts such as the tenderloin, ribeye, T-bone, and New York strip steak.
There’s plenty to consider when deciding when and how to use an Instant Pot to cook Wagyu, but overall, there is certainly some potential for the multitasking appliance. If you’re looking to make a hands-off dish with top-notch ingredients, you can find a full range of beef right here.