This Instant Pot Pulled Pork is so flavorful, especially when made extra crispy by putting it under the broiler for a few minutes. Since it freezes and reheats well, I like to keep pulled pork on hand for a quick meal of barbeque sandwiches or sliders. It also makes a good addition to tacos, wraps, loaded baked potatoes, salads or rice bowls. Pulled pork is ideal for picnics and potlucks, too.
In a previous post, I explained how to make Pulled Pork in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. Those methods work great, too. The Instant Pot speeds things up and is my choice when I'm home to tend to it and don't need the set-it-and-forget-it lengthy cooking time of a slow cooker.
My previous slower cooker pulled pork recipe is several years old and focuses on making it as low-fat as possible. At that time, low-fat recipes were considered to be the healthiest. That has changed and there is presently debate about the pros and cons of fat in your diet--I won't try to settle that issue here. In this recipe, my goal was to make the pork as flavorful and tender as possible with crispy edges when placed under the broiler. That goal requires using a fattier cut of pork roast. Most of the fat melts off into a liquid as it cooks. To me, this method yields the best taste and texture.
This recipe is so simple. It requires only 3 ingredients, plus barbecue sauce or whatever condiments you like on your pulled pork. I season the meat with my dry spice blend from a previous post, 14-Spice Dry Rub. That spice blend plus a bottle of beer is all you need to make flavorful pulled pork.
Step-by-step photos for making
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients.
- boneless pork roast -- A pork roast with some visible fat will yield moist pulled pork with crispy edges. Pork butt roasts--often labeled Boston or pork shoulder--are a good, flavorful choice.
- Bottle of beer -- I prefer a dark beer, but any kind will do
- Dry Spice Rub Mix. Here's my 14-spice recipe, or buy a dry rub at the store.
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Barbecue sauce, if desired
- Buns, if making sandwiches or sliders
view on Amazon: dry rub spice mixes
Step 2. Cut the pork roast into 3 to 4" pieces. Pat dry with a paper towel and roll it in the dry spice rub.
Step 3. Set the Instant Pot (IP) on SAUTE.
view Instant Pots on Amazon: 6-quart (most popular size), 8-quart (for large batch cooking)
Step 4. Add oil and then pork pieces in batches in a single layer, turning to brown on all sides. Remove browned pork to a plate and brown the remaining pieces.
Step 5. Add beer and deglaze the IP, scraping and stirring in the browned bits from the bottom. Then return the browned pork pieces to the IP.
Step 6. Secure the lid on the IP and set the vent to SEALING. Press MANUAL (it automatically sets it at HIGH PRESSURE), then press the "+" button repeatedly until 60 (minutes) is displayed. When the cooking cycle is complete and the machine beeps, press CANCEL or unplug the IP to turn it off. Allow it to naturally release.
- NOTE: Although actual cooking time is 60 minutes, total time from turning on IP, building pressure, and to the end of the natural release time is approx. 2 hrs 15 minutes.
Step 7. Use tongs to transfer cooked pork to a large baking sheet (I use a 13x18 half-sheet pan); shred it using two forks, removing and discarding any visible pieces of fat.
view on Amazon: Oxo 12-inch tongs, half-sheet pan
Step 8. Degrease liquid, if desired. This is optional--some people prefer to leave all or some of the fat. It's up to you. If the liquid is particularly fatty, I prefer to remove some of the fat from the liquid, just leaving enough fat for moisture, flavor and crispiness. Here are 3 ways to degrease the liquid.
- Option 1: spoon grease layer off top -- you can't get it all this way, but you can remove some of it.
- Option 2: pour liquid into a grease separator and release grease-free liquid from the bottom (pictured below)
view on Amazon: degreaser
- Option 3 (if you have time to chill broth overnight): chill liquid completely in the refrigerator until the fat on top solidifies and can be scraped off. If you're making the pulled pork a day ahead, this is the easiest method. Chill the liquid overnight, and the grease easily scrapes off the top the next day.
Step 9. Spread out the shredded pork in an even layer on the baking pan. Pour a cup of the degreased cooking liquid over the pork; toss with tongs to evenly distribute.
Step 10. Broil for a total of approx.15 minutes, stopping and stirring every 4-5 minutes, until desired crispiness is achieved. The browned, caramelized bits add great flavor. Add additional liquid, as needed, if pork is drier than desired.
- For moister meat, stir in more liquid after broiling is finished. For dryer/crisper meat, broil (stirring as needed to prevent burning) until all liquid has cooked away.
FREEZE IT. Pulled pork freezes and reheats well. If I'm making it for a party, I prepare it well in advance and freeze it in a large ziploc bags. Making it ahead reduces party prep stress! I freeze the leftover liquid, too.
SAVE LEFTOVER BROTHY LIQUID! Use it for adding moisture when reheating leftovers. If you run out of liquid and the meat is dry, add chicken broth and/or drizzle it with some olive oil.
REHEATING TIP: Reheat pulled pork in a hot skillet with a little oil, tossing until heated through and crispiness is restored. If too dry, add some of the leftover liquid.
- on a bun with a drizzle of barbecue sauce; coleslaw, onions, and pickles are optional
- as a topping for salad and rice bowls
- add it to chili or stew
- as a topping for loaded baked potatoes
- add it to grilled sandwich/panini along with melted cheese and thinly sliced red onions, pickles are optional
Barbecue sauce is a must! Use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce, or make some of your own. I like to serve a selection of my homemade barbecue sauces in condiment bottles, just like the barbecue restaurants. It's easy and tidy this way. Here's my easy recipe for 3 sauces to suit a variety of tastes:
View my Barbecue Sauce recipes--Sweet & Tangy, Spicy, or Smoky
view on Amazon: condiment bottles with caps
Barbecue sauce can be mixed into the pulled pork before serving. (If your meat is on the dry side, this will fix that problem!) Since my husband isn't a fan of barbecue sauce, I don't mix it in but rather serve it on the side and let everyone drizzle on as much sauce as they like.
Turn these into sliders for a party. Simply use mini-sized buns, and you've got a perfect party food.
Make it a Yummy day!
Other posts that may interest you:
14-Spice Dry Rub Mix Recipe--For Chicken, Pork, or Beef
3 Barbecue Sauces--Sweet & Tangy, Spicy, and Smoky
Classic Creamy Potato Salad
Slow Cooker Corn-on-the-Cob
Pulled Pork | Instant Pot
Servings: makes 8-9 cups
- 4-5 pound boneless pork roast*
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup 14-spice dry rub mix (for recipe, go to www.TheYummyLife.com/recipes/69); or use store-bought spice rub
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (12-oz.) bottle beer
- salt, to taste
- barbecue sauce (for recipe, go to www.TheYummyLife.com/recipes/71), or use bottled store-bought sauce
- buns, if making sandwiches or sliders
*A pork roast with some visible fat will yield flavorful, crispy, and moist pulled pork. (You may choose to remove some or all of the fat after it cooks.) Pork butt roasts--often labeled Boston or pork shoulder--are a good, flavorful choice for pulled pork.
PREP AND BROWN PORK:
Pat pork roast dry with paper towel. Cut into 3-4" pieces. Pour dry spice rub into shallow dish. Roll each piece of pork in spice rub, covering all sides. Set Instant Pot (IP) on SAUTE, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add pork pieces in batches in a single layer, turning to brown on all sides. Remove browned pork to a plate, add remaining oil and pork to IP, brown on all sides and remove to plate. Add beer and deglaze the IP, scraping and stirring in the browned bits from the bottom.
COOK AND SHRED PORK:
Add browned pork back into beer liquid in IP. Secure lid on IP and set vent to SEALING. Press MANUAL (it automatically sets it at HIGH PRESSURE), then press the "+" button repeatedly until 60 (minutes) is displayed. When cooking cycle is complete and machine beeps, press CANCEL or unplug IP to turn it off. Allow to naturally release.
NOTE: Although actual cooking time is 60 minutes, total time from turning on IP, building pressure, and to the end of the natural release time is approx. 2 hrs 15 minutes.
Use tongs to transfer cooked pork to large baking sheet (like a 13x18 half-sheet pan); shred it using two forks, removing and discarding any visible pieces of fat.
Degrease liquid, if desired, by (1) spooning grease layer off top, or (2) pouring liquid into a grease separator, or (3) chilling liquid in refrigerator until fat on top solidifies and can be scraped off. NOTE: Leaving, at least, a small amount of grease will assist in browning and crisping.
BROIL, BROWN, AND CRISP PORK:
Place oven rack 5-6 inches from broiler and preheat broiler on high. Spread out the shredded pork in an even layer in baking pan. Pour 1 cup of the degreased cooking liquid over the pork. (If liquid is degreased, drizzle on 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to assist browning, and crisping.) Toss with tongs to evenly distribute. Broil for total of approx. 15 minutes, stopping and stirring every 4-5 minutes, until desired browning and crispiness is achieved. Add additional liquid, as needed, if pork is drier than desired.
For a moister meat, stir in more liquid after broiling is finished. For dryer/crisper meat, broil (stirring as needed to prevent burning) until all liquid has cooked away.
Taste and add salt, if needed.
FREEZES AND REHEATS WELL. In addition to freezing pulled pork, freeze separately any remaining cooking liquid to use for moistening reheated thawed pork.
SERVE shredded pork on buns, plain or with barbecue sauce.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD: After broiling shredded pork, mix with barbecue sauce instead of broth. Heat through.
Nutritional Info (for 1/2 cup pulled pork using degreased liquid): 126 calories, 3.4g fat, .6g carbs, 0g fiber, 21.2g protein.