Instant Pot Pulled Pork 2.0

instant pot pulled pork | pulled pork instant pot | pressure cooker pulled pork | bbq pulled pork

Step-by-Step Guide on how to make Instant Pot Pulled Pork with homemade Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce. Irresistibly tender juicy pressure cooker pulled pork bursting with sweet, savory, smoky flavors. With the option of adding a spicy kick. Deliciously satisfying yet easy meal to serve a crowd. Budget-friendly make-ahead meals for dinners, parties, potlucks, picnics, BBQs, and more!

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pulled pork instant pot

Instant Pot Pulled Pork 2.0

This BBQ Pulled Pork Instant Pot Recipe was first published on May 25, 2016.

With the insights we’ve gained from our Instant Pot experiments over the years and the awesome feedback we got from you guys… It’s about time we give this pulled pork recipe a makeover.

Introducing Amy + Jacky’s BBQ Pulled Pork 2.0!

pressure cooker pulled pork

A bite of toasted buns. A mouthful of tender juicy caramelized pulled pork bursting with sweet-savory-smoky BBQ sauce. Plus a refreshing lettuce crunch.

Jacky & I couldn’t resist and chomped down 2 BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches in a row within minutes. Finger-licking good! hehe~

pulled pork recipe

BBQ Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork is barbequed shredded pork seasoned with dry rub and BBQ sauce.

It’s a popular American dish, especially in the Southern United States.

BBQ pulled pork seasoning is usually made of ingredients that pack a bold punch of flavors. Such as garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. But it can vary depending on personal preferences and secret ingredients.

Traditionally, the pork shoulder or pork butt is slow-smoked over wood until fork-tender. To make it easier, some people like to use a slow cooker or oven instead.

With the low-and-slow approach, it can take 6-10 hours or more to break down the connective tissues so they can be easily pulled apart with a fork.

But you can cut short hours of cooking time when you make pulled pork in Instant Pot! Yet still achieve that incredibly tender juicy texture.

This easy pulled pork Instant Pot recipe is very versatile. You can enjoy it in many ways: in sandwiches, burgers, wraps, tacos, or burritos. Or on a plate with salads, cornbread, rice, on nachos, and more.

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How to Make Instant Pot Pulled Pork

bbq pulled pork

Prepare Ingredients for making pulled pork in Instant Pot.

pulled pork ingredients

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

Pork shoulder (Pork Butt Meat/Boston Butt) is the best cut of meat for pulled pork. It’s also an ideal cut for this easy pulled pork Instant Pot recipe!

It’s a great cut of pork to cook in Instant Pot because it’s a tough cut of meat that’s fatty and full of connective tissues.

It’s often sold as a big slab of bone-in or boneless meat with fat or fat cap. This fat adds flavor and keeps the meat tender during the cooking process. So it’s easy to cook as a whole or in chunks, and it’ll come out tender, juicy, and flavorful.

  • Skin on vs. Skin off: Keeping the skin and fat cap on will keep the nearby meat very moist. Make sure to keep the skin side facing up when you put it in Instant Pot. But the BBQ sauce will be very oily if you leave the skin and fat cap on. You can use a fat separator to remove the oil from the BBQ sauce before serving.
  • Shopping Tip: Pork Shoulder (already an inexpensive cut) is usually even cheaper in Asian markets. It’s often labeled as Pork Butt Meat or Char Siu Meat. So if you have a nearby Asian market that sells fresh meat, check it out first.
Pulled Pork Dry Rub & BBQ Sauce. If you don’t want to make your own Dry Rub or BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork, you can substitute them with your favorite store-bought Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce.

Tools for Pulled Pork Instant Pot Recipe

  • Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Pyrex Measuring Cups
  • Optional – Fat separator – This is such a handy tool! Instead of scooping the fatty oil with a ladle or spoon a little at a time, this fat separator will help you quickly separate the fat/oil from the BBQ sauce.
  • Optional – BEAR PAWS Shredder Claws – If you want to feel like Wolverine from X-Men, get these claws to shred your meat! It saves you a lot of time and makes pulling pork easy and fun. Some people use these claws to pick up hot food too.
Step 1

Rub Pulled Pork Dry Rub

Mix all the Dry Rub ingredients, then rub it all over the cubed pork.

pulled pork rub

Put the pork in the fridge for 30 minutes up to overnight.

Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tips – Bone-in Pork Shoulder. Dry rub the bones too. You can cook the bones with the meat because they’ll add flavor to the sauce.
Step 2

Optional – Saute Onion and Garlic

Heat up Instant Pot using “Sauté More” function. Wait until it says “HOT” on the screen (roughly 8 mins).

Saute More

Add 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil or vegetable oil in Instant Pot. Make sure the oil is coating the whole bottom of the pot.

Add sliced onions and 1 tbsp (12.5g) brown sugar in Instant Pot, then saute for 3 minutes.

Add minced garlic, then saute for another minute.

saute onions

Step 3

Deglaze Instant Pot

Add ¾ cup (188ml) unsalted chicken stock in Instant Pot. Then completely deglaze the bottom of the pot by scrubbing the flavorful brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Step 4

Pressure Cook Pork Shoulder

Add ⅛ cup (31ml) maple syrup, ⅛ cup (31ml) honey, 2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp (30ml) Dijon mustard, and 3 drops liquid smoke to the Instant Pot. Give it a quick mix.

Place all the cubed pork in the pot.

Amy + Jacky’s Tips – Placing Cubed Pork Shoulder. Try to keep the skin side facing up and make sure they’re at least partially submerged in the cooking liquid.

Layer 1 cup (250ml) of ketchup on top of the pork. Do not mix.

With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.

pressure cook at high pressure for 35 minutes

Instant Pot Pulled Pork Cook Time: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 35 minutes, then Natural Release for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes of natural release, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position.

When Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.

Step 5

Check Pork Shoulder’s Tenderness

Check if the pork is tender enough. If the pork is still tough, Pressure Cook at High Pressure for another 10 minutes.

Then, place the pork in a large container.

pork in instant pot

Step 6

Thicken BBQ Sauce

Bring the BBQ sauce to a simmer with “Saute” function.

Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tips. If the BBQ sauce is very oily, use a [amazon link="B0002YTGIQ" title="Fat separator" /] to separate some of the fat from the BBQ sauce.

In a container, mix 4 tbsp (32g) all-purpose flour with ¼ cup (63ml) cold water. Make sure to mix it really well.

When the BBQ Sauce is simmering, mix the flour mixture into the BBQ sauce one-third at a time until your desired thickness.

homemade bbq sauce

Step 7

Season BBQ Sauce

Taste the BBQ sauce and add more brown sugar or kosher salt as needed. For reference, we added 2 pinches of salt and 2 tsp brown sugar at the end to balance the flavors.

Taste test once more to make sure everything is perfectly seasoned.

  • Option 1 (as shown in the photo below): Shred the pork. Place pulled pork in the BBQ sauce, then serve pressure cooker pulled pork.
  • Option 2 (proceed to next step): You can place the whole pork cubes in the oven to further enhance the flavors.

pulled pork in instant pot

Step 8

Optional Flavor-Enhancing – Crisp Pork Shoulder

Coat pork cubes generously with BBQ Sauce.

Place pork under a broiler or the top rack of a preheated 450°F toaster oven until the surface is crisped (roughly 8 to 10 minutes).

Flip the cubed pork, brush each piece with more BBQ sauce, then place them in the oven again until the surface is crisped.

instant pot shredded pork

Step 9

Shred Pork & Serve Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Shred Instant Pot Pulled Pork with 2 forks.

If you like a saucier Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork, you can place pulled pork in Instant Pot.

Then serve pressure cooker pulled pork in sandwiches, sliders, or with your favorite side dishes.

pulled pork recipe instant pot

instant pot bbq pulled pork

What to Serve with Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork

You can enjoy this pressure cooker pulled pork for lunch, dinner, appetizers, party finger food, potluck, or picnic.

Or you can host a BBQ feast and serve these flavor-bursting BBQ Pulled Pork with other main dishes like Instant Pot RibsInstant Pot Brisket, Instant Pot BBQ Chicken, burnt ends, or smoked sausages.

There are many delicious side dishes you can serve with this BBQ Pulled Pork Instant Pot recipe. Such as salads, coleslaw, cornbread, nachos, poutine, calamari, onion rings, fries, cheesy grits, and more.

Good Sides for Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork:

Got Leftover Pulled Pork? You gotta try our BBQ Pulled Pork Waffles!

Enjoy Amy + Jacky’s Instant Pot Pulled Pork 2.0!

4.98 from 46 votes

Instant Pot Pulled Pork 2.0

Author: Amy + Jacky
How to make Instant Pot Pulled Pork with homemade Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce. Irresistibly tender juicy pressure cooker pulled pork bursting with sweet, savory, smoky flavors. Deliciously satisfying yet easy meal to serve a crowd. Budget-friendly make-ahead meals for dinners, parties, potlucks, picnics, BBQs, and more!
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Servings 6 - 8
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Rate this Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds (1730g) pork shoulder (pork butt meat) , cut into 2 – 2¼ inches cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil or vegetable oil

Pulled Pork Dry Rub:

BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork:

Thickener

  • 4 tablespoons (32g) all purpose flour or cornstarch
  • ¼ cup (63ml) cold tap water

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Instructions 

  • Rub Pulled Pork Dry Rub: Mix all Dry Rub ingredients, then rub it all over the cubed pork. Put pork in fridge for 30 minutes up to overnight.
  • Optional – Saute Onion and Garlic: Heat up Instant Pot using “Sauté More” function. Wait until it says “HOT” on the screen (roughly 8 mins).
    Add 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil or vegetable oil in Instant Pot. Make sure the oil coats the whole bottom of the pot.
    Add in sliced onions and 1 tbsp (12.5g) brown sugar, then saute for 3 minutes.
    Add in minced garlic, then saute for another minute.
  • Deglaze Instant Pot: Add ¾ cup (188ml) unsalted chicken stock in Instant Pot. Then completely deglaze the bottom of the pot by scrubbing the flavorful brown bits with a wooden spoon.
  • Pressure Cook Pork Shoulder: Add ⅛ cup (31ml) maple syrup, ⅛ cup (31ml) honey, 2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp (30ml) Dijon mustard, and 3 drops liquid smoke to the Instant Pot. Give it a quick mix.
    Place all cubed pork in Instant Pot.
    Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tips: Try to keep the pork's skin side facing up and make sure they’re at least partially submerged in cooking liquid.
    Layer 1 cup (250ml) of ketchup on top of the pork. Do not mix.
    With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 35 minutes, then Natural Release for 15 minutes. Open the lid carefully.
  • Check Pork Shoulder’s Tenderness: Check if the pork is tender enough. If the pork is still tough, Pressure Cook at High Pressure for another 10 minutes.
    Then, place pork in a large container.
  • Thicken BBQ Sauce: Bring BBQ sauce to a simmer with “Saute” function.
    In a container, mix 4 tbsp (32g) all-purpose flour with ¼ cup (63ml) cold water. Make sure to mix it really well.
    When BBQ Sauce is simmering, mix the flour mixture into the BBQ sauce one-third at a time until your desired thickness.
  • Season BBQ Sauce: Taste BBQ sauce and add more brown sugar or kosher salt as needed. For reference, we added 2 pinches of salt and 2 tsp brown sugar at the end to balance flavors.
    Taste test once more to make sure everything is perfectly seasoned.
    Option 1: Shred pork, place pulled pork in BBQ sauce, then serve BBQ pulled pork.
    Option 2 (proceed to next step): You can place the whole pork cubes in oven to further enhance the flavors.
  • Optional Flavor-Enhancing – Crisp Pork Shoulder: Coat pork cubes generously with BBQ Sauce.
    Place pork under a broiler or the top rack of a preheated 450°F toaster oven until the surface is crisped (roughly 8 to 10 minutes).
    Flip the cubed pork, brush each piece with more BBQ sauce, then place them in oven again until the surface is crisped.
  • Shred Pork & Serve: Shred BBQ Pulled Pork with 2 forks.
    If you like a saucier Pulled Pork, place pulled pork back in BBQ sauce. Then serve it in sandwiches, sliders, or with your favorite side dishes. Enjoy~

Video

Notes

1. Pork Shoulder:
  • Skin on vs. Skin off: Keeping the skin and fat cap on will keep the nearby meat very moist. But the BBQ sauce will be very oily. You can use a Fat separator to remove the oil from the BBQ sauce before serving.
  • Shopping Tip: It's already an inexpensive cut, but it's usually even cheaper in Asian markets. It’s often labeled as Pork Butt Meat or Char Siu Meat. 
  • Bone-in Pork Shoulder: Dry rub the bones too. You can cook the bones with the meat because they’ll add flavor to the sauce.
2. Dry Rub & BBQ Sauce: If you don’t want to make your own Dry Rub or BBQ Sauce, you can substitute them with store-bought Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce.
3. Spicy Level:
  • Medium Spicy: use ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Mild Spicy: use ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
4. Storage Duration: Instant Pot pulled pork can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 – 5 days.
5. Leftover Pulled Pork: We seriously encourage you to try making BBQ Pulled Pork Savory Waffles!
Total Cooking Time: The total cooking time stated in recipe does not include inactive cooking time.
Rate Amy + Jacky's Recipe: If you've tried our recipe, rate the recipe in the Comments section. Thank you!
Calories: 307kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot bbq pulled pork, instant pot pulled pork, instant pot shredded pork, pressure cooker pulled pork, pulled pork in instant pot, pulled pork instant pot

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 729mg | Potassium: 674mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 332IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg

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instant pot pulled pork | pulled pork instant pot | pressure cooker pulled pork | bbq pulled pork
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