Instant Pot Pulled Pork Butt is tender, juicy and also of the most versatile ways I can think of to use a pork shoulder roast! You can use the BBQ pulled pork for pulled pork sandwiches, pork quesadillas and more.
I could go on and on about pulled pork recipes, and I probably will before we’re done here. Because it’s easy to make and you can do so much with it! Did I mention leftovers are amazing for bbq pulled pork sliders?
Plus, this recipe cooks up delicious meat that is fall apart tender and will quickly become on of your go to dinner recipes.
Why I like making pulled pork in an Instant Pot
The reason Instant Pot cooking has stolen our hearts is that food cooks faster under pressure, in just a fraction of the time it takes in a slow cooker or oven. Speaking of pressure, cooking in an Instant Pot breaks down tougher cuts of meat, making them melt in your mouth delicious.
If you’ve made my Instant Pot Pork Carnitas you know exactly what I’m talking about!
Ingredients in this Instant Pot pulled pork recipe
- extra virgin olive oil
- pork shoulder roast or boneless pork shoulder
- garlic powder, salt and black pepper – these are all seasonings you probably already have in your spice cabinet
- red onion
- chicken broth
- apple cider vinegar
- prepared BBQ sauce – pick your favorite brand. We really like Sweet Baby Ray’s and their no sugar bbq sauce too.
- Buns – if you’re making this pulled pork into sandwiches. You can use hamburger buns, slider buns, or my homemade Hawaiian sweet rolls.
Note: I don’t use any brown sugar in my recipe, especially if I’m adding barbecue sauce at the end. It already has sugar in it and I find it to be sweet enough.
How to make Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Let’s start by making our pulled pork rub. We’re using simple ingredients of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Really, that’s all you need!
Combine it in a small bowl and set it aside.
Cut the pork into several pieces and if there are large amounts of fat, you can trim those as well. Rub the seasoning into the pork pieces.
Note: If you’re trying to get ahead in meal prep, you can prep the pork up to this point and add it to a gallon sized refrigerator bag. Keep it in the fridge overnight or for a day until you’re ready to cook.
Alright, let’s get cooking now!
Press Sauté on your Instant Pot and add a tablespoon olive oil. Once your oil is hot, add half of your pork shoulder pieces.
We’re working in batches here to make sure we don’t crowd the pan and get nice browning on your pork roast.
Sear until the pork is browned on all sides, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. It won’t be cooked through and that’s just fine. Transfer the browned pieces to a plate.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, and cook the remaining pork. Pull those pieces out when they are browned.
Add the last bit of olive oil to your pot along with the red onion. There will be brown bits on the bottom of your pot and those mean flavor! Cook the onions, stirring frequently until the begin to soften.
Next up we add the chicken broth to the pot. Get ready for some sizzle! Use a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add apple cider vinegar and part of the BBQ sauce. Remember, we need liquid for the pot to cook under pressure.
Return the seared pork and any accumulated juices to the pressure cooker and cover, locking the lid into place.
We’ll set this to cook for 50 minutes by setting the pressure cook or manual time, depending on what version you have.
Keep in mind you’ll need to allow time for the Instant pot to begin pressure cooking, plus the time to cook pulled pork inside it.
When cook time is complete, allow the pot to do a pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then do a quick release for any remaining pressure.
Carefully remove lid and shred the pork with two forks. Allow the shredded pork to sit in the warm liquid for 5 minutes to soak up more flavor before serving.
If you’d like, you can top with additional bbq sauce when serving.
What to serve with pulled pork
Serve bbq pulled pork on slider buns or hamburger buns.
Redneck caviar and Coleslaw of any type are right at home, too!
What cut of pork should I use for pulled pork?
The best cut of pork for pulled pork is a pork butt or a boneless pork shoulder. You may see these labeled at the grocery store labeled as a Boston butt. The connective tissues benefit from the electric pressure cooker as it breaks down, yielding tender meat.
You can read more about cuts of pork here.
Can I freeze leftovers for later?
Cool leftover shredded pork butt and place in a large freezer bag, removing as much excess air as possible.
Can I make this instant pot pulled pork without bbq sauce?
Yes, you can. Replace the amount of bbq sauce with additional chicken broth or another liquid for cooking.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 pounds boneless pork butt, trimmed and cut into 4-6 pieces
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ medium red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided (optional)
- Press the “Sauté” mode on the Instant Pot. While the pot heats, mix the garlic powder, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Season the pork shoulder pieces with the seasoning mix.
- When the pot signals “Hot”, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the pork shoulder pieces. Sear until pork is browned on all both sides, approximately 1-2 minutes per side, (when it’s ready to turn it will easily lift from the bottom of the pot. The objective here is to get some color on your pork roast.
- Transfer to a large, rimmed plate. (The rimmed plate will catch any juices). Set aside.
- Repeat Step #2 with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining pork. Once seared, transfer to the rimmed plate with the rest of the pork and set aside.
- Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil plus the red onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar to the pot and use a spoon to gently scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. (This is important both for flavor and to avoid a burn message as the pork cooks).
- Add the pork pieces and any accumulated juices back into the por and add the cover. Make sure the silicone ring is inserted and the vent is closed. Lock the lid into place.
- Set the pressure valve to “seal” and select the “Manual” option on the highest setting. Adjust cook time to 50 minutes under high pressure.
- When cooking time is complete, allow the pot to do a pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then do a quick release for any remaining pressure.
- Carefully remove the lid and shred the pork with two forks. Allow the shredded pork to sit in the warm cooking liquid for 5 minutes to soak up more flavor before serving, if desired.
To serve, transfer the shredded pork with tongs to a large bowl and toss with remaining BBQ sauce.
Top with your favorite BBQ sauce or serve as is.
Leftovers are perfect to use for pulled pork quesadillas or pulled pork sliders.
Leftovers can also be frozen. Place in a freezer safe container and remove as much air as possible.
To reheat from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 569Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 771mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 40g