Instant Pot Pulled Pork is super easy to make and absolutely delicious. It’s perfect for Super Bowl gatherings or any time you want a no-fuss recipe that can be made ahead of time and reheated for an amazing meal.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
This delicious and easy recipe produces tender pulled pork flavored with spices. You should definitely make it because:
- Inexpensive: This recipe uses a pork butt also knows as Boston butt which is an inexpensive cut of meat that can feed a crowd.
- Make Ahead of Time: The pulled pork can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, covered for a day or two. Take it to your potluck or party and reheat the pulled pork right before it’s time for serving.
- Simple to Make: Other than a handful of preparations, this recipe is pretty much hands off. The Instant Pot does most of the work!
- Time Saving: Traditionally, pulled pork is cooked at a low temperature for an extended period of time. While this is great, cooking the pulled pork in an Instant Pot produces as good a result at a fraction of the time.
- Versatile: Pulled pork can be served in many different ways, making it the perfect dish.
How I Made the Dry Rub
This delicious pulled pork recipe starts with a simple dry rub that is used to coat the pork.
Making the dry rub was super simple. All I did was to add all of the dry rub ingredients to a 1-cup mason jar, screw on the lid, and give the jar a good shake to combine all ingredients.
It doesn’t get much easier than that!
What I Used To Make The Pulled Pork
Once I had the dry rub made, the remaining ingredients for the pulled pork were pretty basic.
- The Pork: When I make pulled pork, I always like to use a boneless pork butt.
- The Dry Rub: The dry rub was a mixture of spices and other ingredients as described above.
- The Oil: I seared the pork in some olive oil.
- The Liquids: I only used two simple liquids – chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce.
Cooking The Pork In The Instant Pot
- I started by trimming the pork of any thick fat. Then, I cut the pork into four pieces.
- Next, I rubbed each of the pieces of pork with the dry rub. This was the messiest part of the recipe.
- I heated olive oil in the Instant Pot on the sauté function. Then, I added two of the pieces of pork. I seared each of the pieces of pork for about 2 minutes per side. Next, I removed the seared pork and repeated the process with the other two pieces of pork.
- Once the pork was seared, I added part of the chicken broth to the Instant Pot to deglaze the pan and scraped up the bits from the searing.
- Then, I added the rest of the chicken broth and the Worcestershire sauce. I returned the seared pork to the Instant Pot, making sure that the pieces didn’t overlap on one another.
Next, I secured the Instant Pot lid and made sure that the vent was closed. I programmed the Instant Pot on manual, high pressure for 90 minutes and walked away.
Finishing the Recipe
After 90 minutes, I let the Instant Pot depressurize normally. This took another 20 minutes or so.
- I removed the lid and then removed the pieces of pork. They were literally falling apart!
- Once I had removed all of the pork, I used two forks to “pull” the pork or shred it into pieces. While doing this, I discarded any remaining globs of fat.
- I transferred the pulled pork to a large saucepan and added some barbecue sauce. Then, I stirred everything together and heated the pulled pork over medium heat until it was heated through.
I served the Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork on toasted buns with my Quick and Easy Coleslaw, French fries and dill pickles. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
While any cut of pork can be used for pulled pork, pork butt is probably the best cut. The reason is that it is a relatively fatty piece of meat. During the cooking process, the fat melts away leaving incredibly moist and tender meat.
The terms pork butt and Boston butt are used interchangeably. It’s a relatively inexpensive piece of meat cut from the upper front part of the pig’s shoulder. Therefore, it’s also referred to as pork shoulder.
In the mid 1700’s, the New England butchers would take cuts of pork that weren’t necessarily desirable and pack them into barrels called “butts” for shipment elsewhere – thus the name Boston Butt!
As it turns out, “butt” was an old English measurement for wine casks of a particular size and volume.
The reason that it’s called pulled pork is that the meat is literally pulled apart.
There are basically three ways to make pulled pork. One way is to cook the meat in a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot. Another way is to cook it for a relatively long time in a slow cooker. The final way is to cook it covered in a relatively low temperature oven for a long time, i.e., low and slow.
The advantage of using an Instant Pot, or pressure cooker for making pulled pork is that it’s a must faster way to cook the pork.
A lot of recipes call for including barbecue sauce in the liquid for cooking the pork. My preference is to let the dry rub do its job in the cooking of the pork and then add the barbecue sauce right before serving the pulled pork. This, however, is a matter of preference.
I’m a big fan of pulled pork and have several other recipes that you might find of interest:
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Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 1 Instant Pot
- ¼ cup (1.875-ounces) dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ Tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ Tablespoon chili powder
- ½ Tablespoon paprika
- ½ Tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 3 pounds boneless pork butt, trimmed of thick fat and cut into 4 pieces (See Tip 1)
- Dry Rub (from above) (See Tip 2)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup favorite barbecue sauce (See Tip 3)
- Combine all dry rub ingredients in a jar with a lid. Screw lid on jar. Shake well to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Rub each of the pieces of pork with dry rub, making sure to cover the entire surface.
- Program Instant Pot on sauté function. Add olive oil. When sauté function reads "Hot" add two pieces of pork. Sear pork for about 2 minutes per side. Remove seared pork; repeat with remaining pork.
- Turn off Instant Pot. Add about ½ cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan and scrape up browned bits from searing the pork. Add remaining 1 cup of chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Return seared pork to Instant Pot making sure that the pieces are not overlapping.
- Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and ensure that vent is closed. Program Instant Pot on manual, high pressure for 90 minutes.
- Allow Instant Pot to depressurize normally, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and remove pork. Discard the liquid. Using two forks "pull" or shred pork, discarding any remaining globs of fat.
- Transfer pulled pork to saucepan. Add barbecue sauce; stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until heated through. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.
- Yield: 6 servings.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- Pork butt is the same as Boston butt and pork shoulder. While this is the preferable cut of meat, you could also use pork loin and/or bone-in pork.
- You will likely not need to use all of the dry rub.
- I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce. However, use your favorite barbecue sauce, either store-bought or homemade.