Enjoy a BBQ style meal anytime with our Instant Pot pulled pork recipe. Made with our special dry rub seasonings and a sweet and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.
Every now and then, I get a craving for BBQ. Now, since I don't have a smoker, I've had to learn how to improvise and make a BBQ style meal in my own kitchen.
For example, we have a slow cooker pork sandwich recipe that works pretty well for us. Notice I said it works, not that it's the perfect substitution for slow smoked meat.
Let me be the first to say, nothing replaces the low and slow process of smoking bbq pulled pork. With that being said, if you live a place that doesn't allow grills or smokers, then a kitchen method might be your only option.
For today's post, Kim decided to adapt that recipe for preparation in her Instant Pot. The main concern for me was the pork drying out and being tough.
While pressure cookers create meals quickly, if not used properly, you can end up eating well-seasoned shoe leather. Fortunately, Kim has gained a lot of experience working with our pressure cooker and has discovered an important aspect to creating pressure cooker recipes.
Natural release seems to be vital in keeping meat tender and juicy. For that reason, she allowed the Instant Pot to complete a full natural release. Hence the long cooking time.
I'll say this though, it was worth the wait. You can chose to do a quick release after 20-minutes, but do so at your own risk.
With that little bit of information out of the way, how about we get started making this shredded pork.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Instructions:
First, gather up all the ingredients you need. Trust me, there are a lot of them for this pressure cooker pulled pork.
After that, go ahead and grab a small bowl and combine all of the dry rub spices. Use a fork or a whisk to break down all the clumps.
Set the dry rub aside and start prepping your pork roast. Next, remove the netting the from the butt or shoulder.
At this point, you can either trim away some of the large pieces of fat or leave them in place like we did. I leave that option up to you.
Personally, I like to keep all the fat on my pork, then remove it during the shredding process. Much like a burger, fat equals flavor so, I tend to leave it place when cooking any meat.
After you've prepped the pressure cooker pork shoulder, it's time to apply the rub. Make sure to coat the roast entirely with the seasonings.
Also, massage the dry rub into the meat with your hands. You can use latex or kitchen gloves if you don't like touching raw pork.
The point is, the spices need to be pressed into the butt or shoulder and allowed to rest so they're properly absorbed. Once the dry rub is in place, put the meat into your fridge to rest for at least 30-minutes.
Overnight is best, but 30-minutes will suffice.
Then, while the roast is resting, get your BBQ sauce ready. In a medium to large mixing bowl, combine all of the BBQ sauce ingredients.
Once again, use a fork or whisk to mix everything together and break down any large clumps. Pour the sauce directly into your Instant Pot liner.
Afterward, once the roast has rested, place it into the liner and submerge it into the sauce. Close the lid, seal the valve, and set the manual/high pressure button to cook, using the following formula (3lbs. x 15-minutes =45-minutes, using the 12 psi tab).
According to the Instant Pot website, pork needs to cook for 15-minutes per pound. Our roast, with fat, was between 3-3.5 lbs, hence the 50-minute cooking time.
When the timer goes off, you will need to let the pressure cooker complete a natural release for at least 20-minutes. Otherwise, the meat will most likely be dry and tough.
Last, use tongs to shred the pork and remove any excess fat pieces, if desired. That's it you're all done.
You can serve this pork as a sandwich, or a main course. The Instant Pot pulled pork can be stored in your fridge for up to 3-days in a sealed container.
In closing, Kim and I hope you like this adaptation. Hopefully, it will help you enjoy a BBQ flavored dish when you either don't have access to a smoker or just don't feel like waiting 12 hours for a low and slow meal.
Pulled Pork Recipe Tips:
The consistency of our BBQ sauce is closer to a North Carolina thickness, meaning it's thin. If you like thick BBQ sauce, you have two options: cook it down using the sauté function on your cooker, or use a corn starch slurry as a thickening agent.
Another way to lock in juices when working with large cuts of meat is to saute it first. Once you add the rub, you could saute the meat for a minute or so on each side just seal in all the juices.
Apple cider vinegar is usually the vinegar of choice when it comes to BBQ. However, feel free to experiment with a different type of vinegar.
I'm sure sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar would add a unique flavor to the dish.
All out of brown sugar, then try mixing molasses and white cane sugar together to make your own homemade brown sugar.
Can't get enough BBQ? Then take a look at our grilled BBQ chicken breast. It can be made on a gas or charcoal grill or on a stove-top griddle pan.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 2 pounds pork shoulder
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 15 ounces tomato sauce, 1 can
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 2 cups water
- In a small bowl, prepare and combine all the dry rub seasonings. Set aside.¼ cup light brown sugar1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon seasoned salt1 teaspoon garlic powder½ teaspoon chipotle powder½ teaspoon dry mustard½ teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon onion powder½ teaspoon ground ginger½ teaspoon chili powder½ teaspoon cayenne pepper¼ teaspoon ground cumin½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Remove any netting from the pork and check for any large pieces of fat. Some of the fat will melt away during the cooking process, but large, thick pieces may need to be cut off prior to cooking. (We left the pork shoulder in one large piece to keep the integrity of the meat. However, feel free to cut it into smaller pieces to reduce cooking times.)2 pounds pork shoulder
- After any netting and fat have been removed from the pork, apply the dry rub. Make sure to message it in liberally over the entire piece of pork. Place the pork in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- While the pork is resting, make the BBQ sauce. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the BBQ sauce. Pour the sauce into the liner of the Instant Pot.15 ounces tomato sauce2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar1 cup light brown sugar2 tablespoons molasses1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce1 tablespoon liquid smoke2 teaspoons garlic powder2 teaspoons onion powder2 teaspoons kosher salt½ teaspoon allspice2 cups water
- After the pork has rested, place it into the Instant Pot directly into the sauce. Close the lid, make sure the valve is set to “sealing,” and use the manual (pressure cook) button to adjust the time. According to the Instant Pot website, pork should cook for 15 minutes per pound. Our pork shoulder was 3.5 pounds, so we cooked it for 50 minutes.
- Once the time is up, allow a natural release for at least 20 minutes (we did a full which was 40). The longer you can wait, the less likely the meat will be tough. Carefully, open the valve to release any pressure, then remove the lid.
- Shred the pork with meat claws, two forks, or tongs either directly in the Instant Pot or by transferring it to a bowl or plate.
- The BBQ sauce will be thin, but it can be cooked down some using the saute function or thickened with a cornstarch slurry. We like to serve it the way that it is. After shredding the pork, place it back into the sauce or ladle the sauce over it. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.