Beef pho is one of the most beloved dishes in Vietnam but its famous spice-laced stock can take up to 12 hours to make. By using a multicooker, we cut the time down to just over 3 hours (and much of that time is hands-off) without sacrificing any flavor. Don’t be nervous about serving the pho with raw sirloin — the hot, steamy stock cooks the beef just enough so that it is meltingly tender.
Special equipment: a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot® multi-cooker. Cook’s Note: Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model.
Add the beef bones to a 6-quart Instant Pot®, then nestle the brisket on top of the bones. Stir 1 tablespoon salt into 10 cups water, then pour over the meat. Set to high saute, cover with the lid and cook for 30 minutes (see Cook’s Note).
Transfer the brisket to a plate, then use 2 kitchen towels to carefully remove the pot and drain the bones into a large colander. Gently rinse the bones with water to remove any scum, then set aside. Carefully wash out the pot and dry well.
Turn the pot to high saute and allow to heat up for 5 minutes. Add the ginger cut-side down, then surround the ginger with the black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Cook for 5 minutes without moving the ginger or spices. Use tongs to remove the ginger to a medium bowl and a slotted spoon to remove the spices to the bowl. Add the yellow onions cut-side down, then surround the onions with the garlic cloves. Cook for 10 minutes without moving the onions or garlic. Turn off the pot, then add the bones and reserved ginger and spices. Sprinkle the brisket liberally on all sides with salt, then nestle on top of the bones and vegetables. Pour in 8 cups water.
Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 1 hour 30 minutes (it will take about 30 minutes for the pot to come to pressure). Meanwhile, put the sirloin in the freezer so that it partially freezes and will be easier to slice.
After the pressure-cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer’s guide for natural release. After 20 minutes, being careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid.
Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly. Set a large colander over a large stockpot, then use a slotted spoon to transfer most of the bones and vegetables to the colander. Use 2 kitchen towels to carefully remove the pot and pour the stock into the colander. Use the slotted spoon to press down on the bones and vegetables to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard.
Clean out the pot if needed, then return it and pour the stock back in. Skim the fat from the stock, if desired. Add enough water so that the stock comes halfway up the pot. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar, then turn to high saute and allow the stock to come to a boil. Once the stock is at a boil, taste it for seasoning and add more fish sauce if needed.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the brisket against the grain. Slice the sirloin very thinly against the grain.
Divide the warm rice noodles among 4 to 6 large bowls and sprinkle the noodles with freshly ground black pepper. Divide the brisket among the bowls and top with overlapping slices of sirloin. Top each bowl with 2 to 3 cups of hot stock.
Serve immediately with the mung bean sprouts, red onion, jalapeño, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and sriracha, allowing your guests to dress their bowls of pho as they wish.