If you're looking for something to make in your Instant Pot, pork shoulder is a great place to start! Instant Pot Pulled Pork is a great shredded pork recipe for both new and seasoned Instant Pot users alike. PLUS, I've got a new recipe for BBQ Sauce to serve with it linked at the bottom of this post.
One problem I've run into with the Instant Pot is that often recipes come out, well ... bland. I've seen a lot of recipes for pulled pork in the pressure cooker that involve using some kind of barbecue sauce, but I really don't like cooking my meat directly in the sauce the first go 'round.
I prefer to season the meat with a dry rub, and then either simmer the already cooked and shredded pork in my sauce of choice, or set out sauces and let people choose if they want Carolina Gold, Carolina Vinegar, or absolutely nothing at all.
What cut of pork is best for pulled pork?
Call it Pork Shoulder, Pork Butt, or as it's called here most often in South Carolina: Boston Butt - whatever you call it - it's simply the best choice for pulled pork. When choosing a pork shoulder to cook in your Instant Pot, I greatly prefer a boneless pork shoulder to the bone-in options, as the bone ( although it adds great flavor ) messes with the reliability in the cooking time for me.
How do you make pulled pork in an Instant Pot?
Select a boneless pork shoulder between two and five pounds. Cut the pork into roughly half pound chunks ( so a two pound roast would be cut into four pieces and a five pound roast should be cut into ten). As long as you stay in that weight range and cut the meat into chunks, the cooking time should stay the same for Instant Pot Pulled Pork.
Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté, and pour a beer into the liner. I like to use a brown ale like Newcastle for this, but use whatever you drink, keeping in mind that the flavors of the beer will go into the pork, and bitter or fruity beer will mean bitter or fruity pork!
Reduce the beer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, to burn off the alcohol. Once the 8 minutes are up, press Cancel on the Instant Pot,cover the meat in dried spices, add the pork chunks to the pot, close the lid, and set it to Sealing. Press the Manual / Pressure Cook button and set the timer for 60 minutes.
Once 60 minutes have passed, let the pot sit for 20 more minutes untouched ( e.g. 20 minute Natural Pressure Release ), then carefully open the sealing valve to release the rest of the pressure. Shred the meat with two forks, and let the meat sit in the cooking juices until ready to serve.
The Best Sauces for Instant Pot Pulled Pork:
- Carolina Gold ( Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce )
- Carolina Red Sauce ( Spicy Vinegar and Tomato BBQ Sauce )
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 12 ounces beer brown ale or lager
- 4 lb boston butt ( pork shoulder ) boneless
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teapoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Pour in the beer. Let the beer sit in the pot on Sauté mode for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the beer is reducing in the pot, cut the boneless pork shoulder into roughly 1/2 pound chunks.
Combine all of the spices and sugar and rub them on all sides of the meat chunks.
- Place the meat chunks into the simmering beer in the Instant Pot. Add any leftover spice rub and the apple cider vinegar as well.Lock the lid onto the pot and set the vent to Sealing.
- Press cancel to turn off the Sauté function, and then hit Pressure Cook / Manual. Set the timer for 60 minutes.After 60 minutes, let the pot naturally release for 20 minutes ( this means just let it sit and the timer on the pot will go from counting down to counting up. ) Once the timer hits 20 minutes, release the rest of the pressure by carefully opening the sealing valve.
- Once the pin drops and the pressure is released, open the lid and shred the pork in the pot with the juices with two forks. Let the pork sit in the juices until ready to serve.