This Instant Pot Pulled Pork is the ultimate recipe to make tender and flavorful pulled pork from a Pork Butt or Shoulder.
You don’t need a low and slow BBQ pit to make amazing pulled pork at home. In fact, all you need is an Instant Pot and about a quarter of the time needed to cook it on the barbecue or in the oven.
The Instant Pot is an incredible tool in the kitchen for making dishes that usually take a long time. In the pressure cooker, you can drastically cut down the cooking time for dishes like this tender pork roast.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet (go directly to Amazon and order one!), you really should consider it. We have a free Instant Pot starter guide when you join our mailing list. You can also check out our Instant Pot page for more information.
The best thing about pulled pork is that it can be used in so many dishes. So you can make a large batch of it and use it throughout the week with other dishes.
Other things you can do with it are to add it to a salad, make burritos, or put it on top of roasted cauliflower for a delicious low-carb meal.
Which Cut of Pork to Use
There are a few different cuts of pork that make good pulled pork. My favorite is pork shoulder (also called pork butt), but you can use pork pork leg or loin as well.
Pork shoulder can come with or without the bone. I prefer it not to have a bone. If you can’t get it boneless, you can always remove the bone yourself before cooking, or cook it as is and remove the bone later.
It can also come with a large cap of fat on the top (and maybe even skin). You’ll want to remove both before cooking.
Pork leg usually comes in one big chunk, where shoulder is more marbled. It can turn out slightly more dry than shoulder, which is why I usually choose shoulder instead of pork leg, but it’s still a good choice.
Pork loin is the leanest cut of meat and doesn’t have much fat. It’s also usually sold in smaller roasts that are thinner. Pork loin will cook a lot faster in the Instant Pot. Overcooking can quickly lead to dry pork. That’s why I mostly avoid this cut.
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How To Cook Pork Shoulder
Pork shoulder generally come tied up or covered with a string netting. This is to keep the meat together in one piece while it cooks. You’ll want to remove any string or covering.
It’s much faster to cook the pork shoulder in pieces, prepare the pork shoulder by first cutting off any skin and fat, and then cutting it into large chunks – 3 or 4 pieces is fine.
Apply a Dry Rub
I am a firm believer in dry rub. I put it on almost all the meats I make. If you’ve tried our super popular oven-baked baby back ribs, you’ve already tried our homemade dry rub. It’s one of our most popular recipes. It’s so good.
For this roast, I always use the same homemade dry rub. For a 3 lb pork, I mix up half of the amount called for in that recipe and I use it all to generously coat the pork. The one ingredient I don’t include in the rub is the brown sugar and this is because it will quickly burn in the Instant Pot on saute mode.
Pat the pork dry before putting on the rub. Get it into all the little nooks. Then let is sit for about 5 minutes.
Sear the Pork
Start by searing the pork on all sides. This will give the pork a nice browned and flavorful crust.
I sear the pork directly in the Instant Pot on saute mode in olive oil. Once it’s browned, about 3 minutes per side, I remove it from the pot and turn off the machine.
Be aware that the dry rub will begin to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot if you take too long with this step. It should just take about 6 minutes. If the rub is starting to burn on the bottom, remove the roast and add more oil to the pot.
As soon as the pork is mostly browned, turn off saute mode. It will remain hot enough to finish the sear.
Pressure Cook the Pork Roast
There will be some browned bits on the bottom of the pot from searing the pork. You need to get that up by adding liquid to the pot. Don’t do this while saute mode is still on. It’s very hot and the liquid will steam up immediately and can burn your arm if you’re not careful.
Add the broth and scrape the bits up with a spatula. This adds great flavor to the meat as it cooks.
Close the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook (or manual, depending on which version you have). Since you’ve cut the pork into smaller pieces, it won’t matter what size pork shoulder you’re cooking. It will take 50 minutes.
After the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. It will take 15-20 minutes.
If for some reason the meat isn’t fork tender and falls apart easily when you pull it, you can put it back in for another 10 minutes.
I’ve cooked dozens of pork shoulders this way and have never had to put one back on. It’s always perfectly tender.
Shred It and Serve It
Take the pork out of the Instant Pot and shred it. It will fall apart quite easily.
Now you can use it to make whatever you want. I love adding our homemade bourbon bbq sauce to the pork and making pulled pork sandwiches, or just serving the bbq pork in a bowl with cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro and cucumbers.
Another great way to use pulled pork is in these delicious BBQ Pulled Pork Egg Rolls. They’re easy to put together and make a fun and tasty appetizer. I love to watch people eat them because they’re surprised and excited by the filling.
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Instant Pot Pulled Pork Shoulder
- 3 lb boneless pork shoulder skin and fat cap removed
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 1 cup beef or pork stock
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 stalk celery cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- Remove any skin and fat from the pork shoulder, pat dry, and cut it into large chunks.
- Combine the salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic and mustard powder in a small bowl. Coat each piece of pork with the rub.
- Heat the Instant Pot on Saute mode and add the cooking oil. When hot, sear the pork chunks on all sides until browned (about 2 mins per side). Remove from the pot.
- Add the beef stock to the pot and whisk rapidly to scrap all the browned bits off the bottom. Add back in the pork, along with the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves.
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing.
- Select the Pressure Cook button and set to 50 minutes. When finished, allow the pressure to release naturally (about 20 minutes). Remove the meat and shred it.
- You can use a pork shoulder, butt, leg, loin or belly. Remove skin, fat cap, and any bones.
- If you don’t wish to use the dry rub, sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning salt.
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