This Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe makes incredibly tender and flavorful BBQ pulled pork sandwiches! Much quicker than a slow cooker or your oven, this Instant Pot pork is ready to eat in under an hour.
If you love pulled pork but hate waiting eight hours for it to cook in the slow cooker, then you will love this quick update on the classic recipe. The meat is incredibly tender and the sauce cooks right with it in the pot. If you’ve got 45 minutes and a few ingredients, you can make this easy Instant Pot Pork for dinner tonight!
Easy Pulled Pork Recipe
Pulled pork is a traditionally southern dish. Shredded pork is slow-cooked, then topped with BBQ sauce and piled high on sandwich buns. It can be braised in the oven or on the stovetop, slow-cooked in a crockpot, or cooked quickly in the Instant Pot. It then pulled apart, creating shreds of meat.
For the Instant Pot version, you’ll need a pork shoulder roast seasoned with salt and pepper. I cooked it with a simple sweet and sour sauce, then finished with my favorite barbecue sauce. You can also use this method without the sauce, just add a cup of chicken or beef broth to the pot. It takes less than an hour to have super tender pork that tastes like it’s been cooking all day. Bonus, it freezes and reheats beautifully, and the leftovers make for great lunches for the week!
What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?
The best cut of meat for BBQ pulled pork is a pork shoulder. Pork tenderloin is not recommended because it doesn’t shred well. A lean pork loin will work, but it doesn’t have the fat content needed for a juicy shred.
Look for pork shoulder, also known as pork butt, or Boston butt. It’s a pork roast sold in both bone-in or boneless varieties (definitely go boneless for the Instant Pot recipe) and you can often find great sales in the spring and summer. Boneless will run around 3 pounds, while bone-in is 5-7 pounds and has a huge shoulder bone.
How to Make Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot
Brown the meat for the best flavor. Season your meat generously with salt and pepper and use the saute function on your instant pot to brown the meat. Browning first caramelizes the meat and really enhances the flavor. Omit this step if you are short on time.
Add the secret sauce. The secret ingredient for adding lots of flavor and southern BBQ taste in this recipe is apple cider vinegar. It serves a dual purpose. The acid in the vinegar acts as a tenderizer and the tanginess adds a unique taste that you find in BBQ sauces in North Carolina.
Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. If you can let it naturally release all the way, great, if not, let it do its thing for 10-15 minutes then finish with a quick release. Remove the lid and either shred the pork in the pot or transfer it to another bowl or cutting board.
Sauce it! Between the secret sauce and the juices from the meat, your pork will be pretty saucy. It’s up to you if you want to add more BBQ sauce to it, but you can drain some of the liquid off first if you want.
What temperature should pulled pork be cooked to?
Ideally, pulled pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. This high temp helps the collagen will break down making the meat super tender and juicy.
My favorite thing to make with this recipe is just a simple BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich served on a split sandwich roll or hamburger bun. I topped these with some shredded cabbage and sliced green onions, but our favorite topping is homemade coleslaw. Cheddar cheese is delicious with some chopped red onion, too.
If sandwiches aren’t your thing, you can also make wraps, pork tacos, or quesadillas.
Of course, any good BBQ recipe is going to have some awesome sides to go with it. Some of our favorites:
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Bacon Ranch Red Potato Salad
- Easy Homemade French Fries
- Broccoli Salad
- Easy Skillet Potatoes
- Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Storage, Freezing and Reheating
Storage: If you happen to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezing: Cool completely and place in freezer bags within 2 hours. Squeeze out as much air as possible, leaving about an inch at the top to allow for expansion.
Reheating: Thaw in the fridge overnight and heat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
More Instant Pot Recipes to Try:
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 pound pork butt or shoulder cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup BBQ sauce plus more for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, mustard, chicken broth, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside,
- Heat your Instant Pot to saute. When the display read HOT, add oil to the pot.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the pork and arrange in the bottom of the instant pot. Cook 4-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
- Turn off the saute function and pour the vinegar mixture over the pork. Put the lid on the instant pot and turn to seal. Set the timer to cook for 35 minutes on high pressure. When timer beeps, let naturally release for 10-15 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Once pressure is released, open the lid and transfer the meat to a cutting board or bowl and shred with two forks. Add BBQ sauce and serve as sandwiches, on top of baked potatoes or in wraps.