Make this Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe for sliders in a fraction of the usual time! Cooked quickly with brown sugar and spices before being tossed in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, this shredded BBQ pork is wonderfully tender and juicy. It makes for great sandwiches and sliders!
What’s in this Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe?
Making shredded pork in an Instant Pot only requires a few ingredients and a few minutes of prep. And cook time is relatively short compared to other cooking methods (like smoked pulled pork) for this BBQ favorite.
- Pork Shoulder: Pork shoulder is best for pulled pork because it has a high fat content, so it turns out really juicy and tender, and it’s easy to shred. I used a 5-pound boneless shoulder for this recipe.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a rich sweet flavor to the dry rub that complements pork and balances out the savory herbs and spices.
- Chicken Stock: Chicken stock prevents the pork from burning on the bottom. Instead of chicken stock, use water or beer.
- Herbs + Spices: Use a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and salt & pepper.
- BBQ Sauce: Use your favorite barbecue sauce, sweet, smoky, or tangy. You can also try this homemade BBQ sauce if you’d like.
Variations on Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
For spicy pulled pork, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the spice rub. You can also choose a spicier BBQ sauce, or mix in some hot sauce.
The secret to making this pork extra juicy is to cook it in chicken stock! This helps to add moisture to the meat as it cooks.
Yes. If using bone-in pork shoulder, add 5 extra minutes to the cook time.
I used a 6-quart Instant Pot for this pulled pork recipe. Use a similarly sized pot for best results.
Slow cooking is the most foolproof method for making pulled pork, but pressure cooking is much faster! To make pulled pork in a slow cooker, follow this recipe for crockpot BBQ pork.
The most reliable way to determine if pulled pork is cooked through is to use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. The temperature should reach at least 195°F (90°C) for the pork to be fully cooked and tender enough to pull apart easily. When the pork is fully cooked, the meat should be very tender and easy to shred with a fork or tongs. If the pork meat is tough or not easily shredding, it needs to cook for a bit longer.
If your pulled pork seems tough after cooking, this is likely because you did a quick pressure release instead of a natural release. Make sure to naturally release the pressure for the best results.
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, place pork in the oven at 250°F until fully heated through. You can also warm it up in a slow cooker for about 2-3 hours.
How to Freeze Instant Pot Pulled Pork
After cooking in the pressure cooker, let the shredded pork cool to room temperature. Place it into freezer-safe resealable bags, and remove as much air as possible while sealing it. Lay the bags flat in the freezer until frozen, then you can rearrange them as needed.
Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with BBQ Pulled Pork
Whether you serve this Instant Pot pulled pork as sliders, or plated up to eat with a fork, you’ll want to load up on some classic BBQ side dishes. Make corn on the cob, Instant Pot mac and cheese, German potato salad, pickled beets, and cornbread. Other classic side dishes which pair well with pulled pork include coleslaw, roasted vegetables, and homemade baked beans.