The Best Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

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This fall-apart tender Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Flavored with garlic powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, barbecue sauce and more, the sweet and savory goodness is out of this world.

A Bowl of Instant Pot Pulled Pork Garnished with Chopped Parsley

Easy Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is one of those low-and-slow-cooked dishes that’s always worth the wait. But sometimes, that wait can be a little bit excruciating. With this simple Instant Pot recipe, you can cook perfectly tenderized pulled pork in just 45 minutes! 

From there, the options are endless. You can put your pulled pork into a sandwich, sprinkle it over a plate of nachos or mix it into a bowl of mac and cheese. However you serve your pork, it’s sure to be the talk of the dinner table. Everyone will be reaching for seconds!

A Pulled Pork Sandwich with Onions on a White Serving Platter

What Makes this Recipe the BEST?

Not only does this pulled pork reach the optimal texture in record time, but it also uses a dreamy combination of flavorings and seasonings. Its barbecue-style taste sets it apart from other recipes with a complexity of flavor that hits all the right notes. Someone could show up to the potluck with pulled pork that was simmered all day long and this recipe would still outshine it!

A Close-Up Shot of a Bowl of Homemade Pulled Pork

What You’ll Need

So, how do you end up with the best tasting pulled pork around? It all starts with the trusty ingredients listed below.

  • Pork Shoulder: 3-4 pounds, boneless and fat trimmed off.
  • Salt & Pepper: You’ll need 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Garlic Powder: Just a teaspoon.
  • Smoked Paprika: The touch of spice that the paprika provides is an excellent contrast to the sweetness of the barbecue sauce and brown sugar.
  • Onion Powder: For more sweetness and savoriness!
  • Oregano: With its earthy and slightly bitter flavor, oregano adds a nice touch to pulled pork.
  • Olive Oil: For cooking.
  • BBQ Sauce: 2 cups, for the sauce. Use your favorite, whether you like it sweet, spicy, or tangy. I love Stubb’s Original as far as bottle, but this Bourbon BBQ Sauce would be great if you want to use a homemade sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: For the sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This works with the BBQ sauce and brown sugar to create a crave-worthy sauce that’s both cooked and served with the pork.
  • Chicken Broth: For cooking.

How to Make BBQ Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot

Get ready to discover your new go-to method for making pulled pork! It seriously couldn’t be simpler.

Combine Seasonings: In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and oregano.

Salt, Oregano, Smoked Paprika and the Rest of the Spice Rub Ingredients in a White Bowl

Season Pork: Rub the seasoning mix over the pork.

A Boneless Shoulder of Pulled Pork in an Instant Pot that has Just Been Rubbed with the Spice Rub

Heat Oil & Brown Pork: Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and set to SAUTE. Once the oil has heated, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.

A Spice-Rubbed and Browned Pork Shoulder Inside of an Instant Pot

Make Sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar.

The Brown Sugar, Vinegar and BBQ Sauce in a Bowl Being Combined with a Wooden Spoon

Add to Pork: Reserve half a cup of the sauce for later and pour the rest of it over the pork.

A Boneless Pork Shoulder in an Instant Pot Covered with Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce

Cook: Add the chicken broth and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 45 minutes.

Chicken Broth Being Poured Into the Inner Pot of an Instant Pot

Release Pressure: Do a natural release for 10 minutes, then turn valve to the vent position. Once the float valve has dropped, remove the lid.

Shred Pork: Transfer the pork to a bowl and use two forks to shred it into small chunks (optionally, you can then transfer the pork to a baking sheet and broil it for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown).

Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork Inside of a Large Glass Mixing Bowl

Add Remaining Sauce: Add the reserved sauce to the pork and mix to combine.

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce Being Poured Over a Bowl of Pulled Pork

Serve: Instant Pot pulled pork can then be served in salads, tacos, wraps, burger buns, sandwiches and more! Or make sliders with Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay good for up to 3 days. It can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave.

You can also reheat it in the Instant Pot by selecting a high pressure cook time of 0 minutes. By the time the Instant Pot comes to pressure, the pork will be nice and toasty!

Can I Freeze Instant Pot Pulled Pork?

Yes! Pulled pork freezes well, if stored properly. Keep it in an airtight container with minimal extra space to avoid freezer burn. Alternatively, you can store it in a sealed plastic freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. Enjoy frozen pulled pork within 2 months and thaw it out in the fridge before reheating.

Got Leftovers?

Tips for Success

Now that we’ve gone over the recipe steps, you’re almost ready to make the pulled pork of your dreams! Just take note of these helpful hints and tips.

  • Broil it Up: I love sticking my pork under the broiler after I shred it up. Just 8-10 minutes enhances the flavor of the meat and adds crispiness.
  • Do a Natural Release: For slow-cooked dishes like pulled pork, I always recommend doing a natural pressure release rather than a quick release. This helps all the yummy flavors set in and intensify.
  • Use Pork Shoulder or Butt: Try to avoid using a cut of pork leaner than shoulder or butt. The higher fat content makes everything as meltingly tender as possible!
Instant Pot Pulled Pork in a White Bowl on a White Countertop

Make it a Meal

Want some ideas for what to serve alongside this pulled pork? Adding one or more of these dishes to the mix would make for a fabulous summer feast.

  • Pair with Potato Salad: Planning a barbecue or potluck? This Creamy Potato Salad is a wonderful side for any dish that incorporates this pulled pork!
  • Serve with a Summer Salad: The freshness of this Healthy No-Mayo Apple Broccoli Salad just screams summer! Its use of both fruits and veggies as well as walnuts and cheddar cheese make it a unique dish that’s sure to be a hit.
  • Pair with Coleslaw: You can never go wrong with a Classic Coleslaw like this one! It’s super quick and easy to throw together.
  • Serve with Cocktails: These fruity Piña Colada Moscow Mules will make you feel like you’re relaxing in a tropical paradise! They can be made with or without alcohol – either way, they’re super refreshing and delicious.
A Platter Holding Two Pulled Pork Sandwiches with a Bowl of Pulled Pork and a Bun in the Background

Things You’ll Need

Brianne Recommends
  • Gotta have an Instant Pot!
  • Tongs make it easy to turn the pork as you are browning it. And you can even use them with a fork for shredding it.
  • If you really want to make the pulling part fly by, these meat claws work great.
  • And as I mentioned earlier, my storebought barbecue sauce of choice is always Stubb’s Original.
barbecue pulled pork sandwiches on sesame seed rolls

The Best Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

This fall-apart tender Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Flavored with garlic powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, barbecue sauce and more, the sweet and savory goodness is out of this world.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 7

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lbs pork shoulder boneless and fat trimmed off
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce (use your favorite)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and oregano.
  •  Rub the seasoning mix over the pork.
  • Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and set to SAUTE.
  • Once the oil has heated, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 3 – 5 minutes per side.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. 
  • Reserve a 1/2 cup and then pour the remaining sauce over the pork.
  • Add the chicken broth and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 45 minutes.
  • Do a natural release for 10 minutes, then turn valve to the vent position. Once float valve has dropped, remove lid.
  • Transfer pork to a bowl and use two forks to shred into small chunks.(Optionally, you can then transfer pork to a baking sheet and broil for 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown).
  • Add the reserved sauce to the pork and mix to combine.
  • This Instant Pot Pulled Pork can then be served in salads, tacos, wraps, burger buns, and sandwiches!

Notes

Serves 6-8.
Nutrition Facts
The Best Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
Amount Per Serving
Calories 407 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 79mg26%
Sodium 1720mg72%
Potassium 663mg19%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 35g39%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 479IU10%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 61mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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