If you are looking for a way to make your own homemade pulled pork without spending hours over the stove or smoker, this recipe is it! The Instant Pot pulled pork is ideal to pair with a simple homemade spice rub and barbecue sauce mixture. Let the Instant Pot do all of the work while you relax with a favorite drink and enjoy spending time with family.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
One of my favorite things about using an Instant Pot is that you can make so many meals in less time. In the heat of summer, that is especially nice for the meals I would normally bake or roast. There is no need for me to heat up my kitchen to make a delicious pulled pork recipe. I can let the Instant Pot do the work and give me just as good, if not better, results.
Pulled pork is super versatile and a favorite for many meals in our home. While the spice rub and barbecue sauce are definitely more traditional for a sandwich, you can also use this for other recipes or just by itself. Pork doesn't have to be dry and tough. Instead, it can be a tender and juicy meat with flavorful sauces that pair well with many of your favorite sides.
What's the Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork?
The boneless pork butt is my go-to choice for making pulled pork. The meat is marbled well with fat, and while tough when cooked fast, it becomes very tender and easy to shred or "pull" when cooked slowly. In the Instant Pot, it is easy to cook faster while also making sure the meat is tender.
I have used a picnic ham in the past for pulled pork. While I prefer the pork butt, both can work for this recipe when cut into pieces and seasoned well. Just know that the added fat in the pork butt will provide richer flavor in the end results.
Can I Cook a Pork Butt From Frozen in the Instant Pot?
You can! One of the benefits of the Instant Pot is that you can safely and easily cook meat from frozen without adding much longer to the cooking time. However, you will find that the pot will take longer to reach cooking temperature before the pot actually begins pressure cooking.
If you start the pork roast from frozen, add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time. You will also want to allow for an additional 10-15 minutes for your Instant Pot to reach full pressure.
Can I Use Different Spice Blends?
If you want to use this cooking process but use a different non-barbecue flavor profile, you can definitely do that. This recipe is my personal favorite, but you can also add different blends of spices to create a different flavor profile. Sweet and spicy tend to work best with the sweeter meat of pork, but you can do anything you wish to make this fit your needs.
- Add taco seasoning place of the dry rub and salsa in place of the barbecue sauce.
- Use a verde salsa or green chili sauce.
- Add brown sugar, garlic, and sriracha then mix in apple sauce or apple butter for a sweet sauce.
- Use any generic barbecue spice blend or rub in place of the rub listed below.
- Make your own homemade barbecue sauce instead of a bottled sauce.
What to do With Leftover Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is one of those meals that always has leftovers in our home. It is hard to find a pork butt smaller than 3-4 pounds, so we usually cook the whole thing, then separate out portions for meals the next day.
Leftovers are one of my favorite things! I love that I can so easily turn one meal into 2 or 3 meals and even create different flavor profiles with the same basic cooking style. Below are some fun ideas that work well with pulled pork leftovers.
- Turn into barbecue pulled pork nachos.
- Make pulled pork quesadillas.
- Mix into your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.
- Add to a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Top a large garden salad with pulled pork.
- Turn into a pork stew with black beans, corn, tomatoes, and spices.
- Make a pulled pork barbecue style shepherd's pie.
- Create a pulled pork pizza with barbecue sauce, red onions, and mozzarella cheese.
- Serve with fried eggs and your favorite toasted bread.
- Turn into pork taquitos or flautas.
- Make pork tacos with a crispy cole slaw.
- Stuff potatoes or sweet potatoes with pulled pork.
Leftover pulled pork can also easily be portioned, bagged, dated, and labeled then frozen for up to four months. This is a great way to have a future meal on hand at all times!
- Pork butt
- Brown sugar
- Ground mustard
- Black pepper
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika
- All spice
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Chicken broth
- Worcestershire sauce
- Liquid smoke
- Olive oil
- Barbecue sauce
How to Make Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot
Wash and pat dry your pork butt, then trim any excess fat off the edges and cut into 4 equal pieces.
In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt, ground mustard, black pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, all spice, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into the Instant Pot and turn on the saute feature.
Roll each portion of pork in the spice blend.
Then sear each one individually for 2-3 minutes on each side. Once each piece of pork has browned on all sides, remove from the Instant Pot and set aside on a plate.
After all have been browned, press cancel then add ½ cup chicken broth to the Instant Pot and use a spoon to scrape any bits of cooked on food off the bottom of the pot. Make sure all bits are scraped up so it doesn't give you a burn notice later.
Add in the remaining broth, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke then stir well.
Put the pieces of pork into the Instant Pot and then place the lid on and set to seal.
Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure and cook for 1 hour then let the pressure naturally release for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove the pork chunks from the Instant Pot and shred.
Top with the liquid from the pot or your favorite barbecue sauce.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
When serving this as a sandwich, you will likely make your favorite sandwich sides. Things like French fries, tater tots, or even chips are common as sides to pulled pork. You could even make homemade baked zucchini chips to add something just a bit healthier to the plate. Of course, I would reach for the Canadian poutine recipe and make it a super rich meal as a treat.
Classic weekend barbecue sides can also work with this recipe. Barbecue baked beans, potato salad, an easy pasta salad, or similar items pair great alongside a pulled pork sandwich.
If serving alone and not on a bun, you may want to serve with baked macaroni and cheese. Homestyle scalloped potatoes, mashed potato pancakes, loaded cauliflower casserole, slow cooker baked potatoes, or these yummy bacon wrapped Brussels sprouts are all great additions. Get creative and add what your family enjoys alongside this delicious Instant Pot meal.
If you don't like the boring look of your Instant Pot on the counter, grab one of these fun Instant Pot wraps or Instant Pot decals! They are so fun to personalize to your kitchen and super affordable. They make using an Instant Pot that much more fun!
- 4 lb boneless pork roast
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp all spice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Liquid smoke
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½-1 cup barbecue sauce
- 8 hamburger buns
- Trim excess fat off the pork butt then cut it into 4 equal pieces;
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar and spices until blended;
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on the saute function;
- Roll each piece of pork butt into the seasoning blend until coated on all sides;
- Now, cook each piece of pork for 2-3 minutes on each side to brown and then remove and set aside on a plate;
- When all of the pork pieces have been browned, you will press cancel on the Instant Pot and add in ½ cup chicken broth;
- Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits of cooked on food off the bottom of the Instant Pot making sure non are left;
- Now, mix in the remaining chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke then stir;
- Add the pork back into the Instant Pot and then cover and seal the lid;
- Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure and cook for 60 minutes;
- Once the cooking cycle completes, let the pressure naturally release for an additional 20 minutes;
- Remove the pork from the Instant Pot and shred then top with your favorite barbecue sauce or liquid from the Instant Pot;
- Serve on a toasted bun with your favorite sides.
This pairs great with a homemade cole slaw on a toasted bun.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 904Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 205mgSodium: 1343mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 58g