Nothing beats an easy and delicious Instant Pot pulled pork for an fantastic dinner that leaves you with leftovers for the next day! The sauce is tangy, easy to customize to your liking and this recipe was a hit with my entire family. I love that the leftovers go into the fridge and everyone can make sandwiches the next day by simply reheating a bit of the pulled pork and throwing it into a bun!
Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
This pulled pork pressure cooks in a delicious BBQ sauce and by using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker you cut the cooking time of pulled pork by hours upon hours! A whole roast that takes all day will take only 2 hours in the pressure cooker, however if you cut the roast up you can cut that cooking time down by half again, and you have pulled pork in 60 minutes!
You simply sear the roast, add the ingredients in, press a few buttons and away you go!
Type of Pork Roast for Pulled Pork
If you don't have fat in your pork roast, it's not going to be as good as it should be, period. It's simply kitchen science, meat that is marbled with fat is terrible to quickly roast or BBQ. But when you slow cook that type of meat, and let the fat render out of the meat with heat and longer cooking times, you end up with meat that rivals prime rib for its tenderness! It's all about knowing the right cut of meat for the right cooking technique.
The fat marbled throughout the meat in the pork shoulder roast shown below is what is going to make the pulled pork so tender, and so easy to shred. It will mostly render down and disappear, leaving only the meat.
Sauce shouldn't, and rarely does, make up for the lack of fat in a roast. What you end up doing is simply coating dried out meat with sauce, instead of mixing a sauce into a perfectly tenderized and juicy meat. You should not use pork loin or pork tenderloin. That's how you get dry meat covered in sauce.
The best cut of pork to use is pork shoulder, which has two different cuts within the piece, and the names vary regionally. It's known as:
- pork butt roast
- pork blade roast
- pork shoulder roast
- Boston butt roast – less bones than the picnic roast
- picnic roast – has more bones than the Boston Butt
Cut the Pork Roast into Pieces
If you try to cook the entire pork roast in the Instant Pot, it will take around 120 minutes of pressure to cook it completely. Remember, for GOOD pulled pork you have to render the fat out of the meat, and not have it still in the meat for sandwiches.
- For a whole roast that is 3-5 pounds, it can take up to 120 minutes of high-pressure cooking. You can absolutely cook the pork this way, I often do, when I don't need something ready for 2 hours.
- If you cut the roast into smaller pieces, it will take around 60 minutes of high-pressure cooking. This is better for when you have less time for the roast to cook.
- For smaller roasts cut the roast in half, or quarters, and cook for 45-50 minutes high pressure.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Pulled Pork
I find pulled pork very rich, so we love to eat it in buns – try some homemade dinner rolls or Parker house rolls for a real treat! I usually don't have time, so it's store-bought for us lol. You can serve it with:
- homemade coleslaw ( mayo based)
- Mexican coleslaw ( tangy, not mayo based)
- a wedge salad
- green pea salad
- cauliflower salad
What I'm getting at is that pulled pork goes well with salads on the side, as it's a pretty rich meat. I usually like to make my homemade coleslaw and top the pulled pork with it to give it a crunch, and also give it a slight acidity that breaks up the richness of the meat. It's perfect together!
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Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- one 3-4 pound pork shoulder roast (pork butt roast) cut into smaller chunks, strings removed
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups barbeque sauce divided
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth divided
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 medium medium onion chopped finely
- one batch homemade coleslaw
- buns of your choice
- In a small bowl mix together 1 cup of BBQ sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, cider vinegar, 1 cup of the chicken broth, the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, chili powder and onion. Adjust to taste as you see fit. Set aside.
- Turn your Instant pot to the sauté setting. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom thoroughly.
- Once the oil is hot, add the pork pieces into the pot and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. If they don't all fit, divide the pieces and fry them in batches.
- Remove and place the pork pieces on a plate. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- To deglaze the bottom of the Instant pot, pour in the remaining ½ cup chicken broth and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the browned pork to the Instant Pot, then pour in the BBQ mixture. Stir to cover the meat.
- Close the lid and set the pressure value to sealing.
- Cook on meat/stew or manual high pressure for 60 minutes.
- Once the timer is done and the 60 minutes is up, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then do a quick release according to the manufacturer's instructions. This is a great time to get your buns and coleslaw ready!
- Remove the meat from the instant pot and place in a large bowl. Add in ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Shred the meat with two forks until nicely pulled apart. Stir in the remaining BBQ sauce TO TASTE. You may not need it, taste first! You can add in the cooking liquid as you see fit as well to taste at this point.
- Serve with buns and coleslaw.
- cut the roast into 6-8 pieces if you want it to be fall-apart perfection when the 60 minutes are done.
- Add in the cooking liquid at the end to taste. There is a lot of rendered fat in it, some of which IS definitely needed in the final product, but you may not want it all. Taking the roast out first lets you control how much you want.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.