Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork is done in only a fraction of the time compared to a traditional recipe, yet it still holds all of the big barbeque flavor you crave!
The other day we lost one of the greatest minds of our time, and I have been getting a lot of messages about it. Just to clarify a few things, Stephen Hawking and I weren’t actually fierce academic rivals. I never met the man. As far as I am aware, he has always conceded I make an infinitely better BBQ Pulled Pork. Unfortunately, his recipes only worked in theory.
During the summertime, I enjoy spending a lazy Saturday smoking a pork shoulder to make authentic BBQ Pulled Pork. However, not everyone has 8 hours free to fuss over a smoker all day. Enter the Instant Pot. Your family can enjoy great barbecue flavor in a fraction of the time and effort.
What is Instant Pot
Instant Pot is a new cooking appliance that combines the ease of a slow cooker with the speed of a pressure cooker. Meals that once took hours can be prepared in minutes. It is no wonder why this multitasking appliance has taken the world by storm. I was initially skeptical of it, thinking it was a fad, but I promise you, it is here to stay.
The Instant Pot can saute, pressure cook, slow cook, steam and more. If you don’t already have one in your kitchen, click here to order an Instant Pot (Amazon affiliate link). If you are still on the fence, just read the 27,000+ Amazon reviews.
How to Make Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Making pulled pork in an Instant Pot is a little different than slow cooker pulled pork. The Instant Pot gives you the ability to sear the meat, which is a great way to add additional flavor. If you are pressed for time, you can skip that step, but the maillard reaction that browns the meat will add another layer of flavor.
The best meat for pulled pork is pork shoulder, otherwise known as Boston butt. You want a fatty cut of pork because it will render into mouthwateringly tender and juicy shreds when it is done cooking. Please don’t use a leaner cut like pork loin. You will be wasting money on more expensive meat, and your final product will be much drier, with much less flavor.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Cooking Time
A four-pound pork shoulder will take 90 minutes to pressure cook in an Instant Pot. When cooking is completed, let the steam release from the pot and remove the lid. The pork shoulder will be fork tender, allowing it to be effortlessly shredded into pulled pork.
You will notice there is a lot of excess liquid, but that will incorporate into the meat as you shred it. You need liquid to generate the steam needed for pressure, but you don’t want too much liquid that the final product turns into a soup. For this reason, my recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of cider vinegar. Many other recipes call for considerably more liquid, often a couple cups of flavorless water that will do nothing other than dilute the flavor.
Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
- 4 lb Pork Shoulder
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce (plus more for sandwiches)
- 1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
- ½ cup Cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard
- 12 Buns (lightly toasted)
- Set saute on Instant Pot and add cooking oil. Cut pork shoulder in half to fit into Instant Pot, and set in the hot oil. Let sear on all sides until a brown crust is formed. (This first step is optional, but adds more flavor)
- Remove pork from Instant Pot and deglaze bottom of the pot with 1/2 cup cider vinegar, scraping off any cooked on bits with a wooden spoon.
- Mix BBQ seasoning together and liberally coat the pork.
- Place pork back in the Instant Pot and pour BBQ sauce and liquid smoke over meat.
- Secure lid on Instant Pot, turn venting to "Sealed", and set Pressure Cook for 90 minutes.
- After 90 minutes carefully release the steam by turning knob to "Venting".
- Remove the lid, and using two forks, shred the pulled pork.
- Serve the pulled pork on a hamburger bun and drizzle with additional BBQ sauce as desired.
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