This BBQ Pulled Pork is the definition of low-effort, high-reward. A pulled pork recipe that easily comes together using a pressure cooker (or slow cooker, too!). A homemade dry rub makes the pork shoulder sing with mega flavor and cooks until fall-apart tender. That juicy, succulent pork is then served with BBQ sauce. This recipe is perfect for gatherings (or meal prepping) and the options are endless when it comes to serving: sandwiches, sliders, nachos, mac and cheese, salads, and more!

pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw laying on platter

Whew, today we’re discussing the magic that is PULLED PORK, y’all. I mean, I am a true fiend for meltingly tender meats. Be it beef, chicken, or pork- slowly roasted, braised, or pressure cooked until soft and falling apart…give it to me! This recipe is perfect for literally any occasion and one that you and your peeps will thoroughly enjoy. If you love pulled pork as well, pull up a seat, let’s eat!

Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork 🤤

This crazy-good rich and flavorful pork shoulder is lathered well with a heavily spiced, homemade dry rub full of flavor with depth. This pulled pork recipe is made in under 1 hour thanks to the Instant Pot; it’s cooked in a flavor-packed braising liquid until fall-apart tender. A recipe that is exceptionally versatile with endless ways to serve up! No worries, slow cooker notes included, too!

BBR favorites: lemon bundt cake, my pomegranate braised lamb shanks, this cozy skillet chicken pot pie w/ biscuits, succulent braised short ribs, saucy chicken piccata meatballs, and of course, these beef patties– ooee.

pulled pork sandwiches on platter with chips and pickles

There’s something about pulled pork that screams community to me. It’s a treat that I fondly remember enjoying with family, friends, and everyone in between. Whether it was at a church function, work potluck, family gathering, game-day watch party, and so on…it has a communal vibe that many folks love ♡

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • BBR homemade dry rub: The spices used in my homemade blend for seasoning the pork shoulder include dark brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, and salt/pepper. This blend delivers a sweet, smoky, and well-rounded flavor that sings.
  • Pork shoulder (or Boston butt): I use boneless pork shoulder that’s also referred to as Boston butt. I recommend trimming the excess fat from your pork shoulder and then cutting it into chunks. Which makes it perfect for cooking in the pressure cooker and also for shredding near the end.
  • Oil: I use vegetable oil, but any high heat cooking oil will work for cooking.
  • Onion: More flavor, more texture, more depth.
  • Garlic: What is barbecue without a touch of garlicky goodness?!
  • Chicken stock: Main component for the cooking liquid.
  • Vinegar: I use apple cider vinegar, it tenderizes and helps balance the flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce: It has a unique combo of flavors from various ingredients. Also, it kinda acts like an umami flavor bomb.
  • Dijon mustard: The tang that mustard provides is so delicious- dijon!
  • & for serving: Your favorite BBQ sauce + brioche buns and coleslaw. These are great if you’re taking the sandwich/slider route, but def optional!
ingredients for instant pot bbq pulled pork laying on beige surface

BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe Highlights

First, let’s tap into the main highlights that you’ll appreciate here:

  • EASY & SIMPLE: The convenience of whipping up this pulled pork recipe in a pressure cooker makes it a real dream, y’all. There is very little hands-on work you’ll have to do here, it’s what I call a low-effort, high reward baddie! Which makes this pulled pork a recipe that’s clutch for busy weeknights and everything in between. It’s wildly straightforward and comes together so easily but doesn’t compromise on flavor in the slightest…
  • BIG-TIME FLAVA: Over on this side of the internet, we don’t play around when it comes to flavor. The pork shoulder is well-seasoned with a homemade BBQ spice blend that has a rich + robust flavor. After that, the pork cooks to perfection in even more goodness from the flavor-packed cooking liquid.
  • HELLO VERSATILITY: Don’t you love a recipe that you can flip and switch and use up in a variety of ways? Me too! Listen, while I love piling my BBQ pulled pork right on top of buttery brioche buns with coleslaw…there’s other options! Use your pulled pork on nachos, pizza, in salads, with mac and cheese, etc. The possibilities are truly endless, sky’s the limit! 🙌🏾

How To Make Instant Pot Pulled Pork- PART I:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

Let’s break down making this homemade BBQ pulled pork recipe in sections:

  • Make the spice blend: In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle powder (if using), and salt/pepper- to taste. Stir the spices well to thoroughly combine.
  • Season the pork shoulder: Place the pork shoulder chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle the spice blend over the pork. Use your hands to massage the spices into the pork. Make sure all pork pieces are nicely saturated in the spice blend. Then set seasoned pork aside.
  • Brown the pork: Set the IP to the high sauté function. Add the oil into the pot to heat. Once the oil shimmers, work in batches, add seasoned pork into the pot in an even layer. Cook the pork on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 1 minute on each side. Then transfer the browned pork to a clean plate/platter and repeat the process with the remaining batch of pork. 

⇢ Searing the meat unlocks and brings out huge flavorrr >> aka The Maillard reaction! Do not skip this step. Why? During the browning process, the pork caramelizes and the BBQ dry rub flavors get toasty creating heaps of flavor 🙌🏾

shredded pork with bbq sauce on baking sheet with brioche buns around it

Making Instant Pot Pulled Pork- PART II:

  • Sauté: Add the onion and garlic into the pot. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring every so often, until tender and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Bring it all together: Add the stock, vinegar, worcestershire, and mustard into the pot and stir well, scraping up any bits. Then carefully place the seared pork chunks back into the pot along with any residual juices.
  • Pressure cook: Cover the IP and set to the manual high pressure function, set the time for 45 minutes. After the cooking cycle is complete, let pressure release naturally in the “vent” position, until all steam has ceased.

Finishing & Serving BBQ Pulled Pork- PART III:

  • Shred the pork: Remove the pork chunks from the pot and place onto a large baking sheet/platter. Then use two forks or your hands to shred the meat.
  • Serve: Taste the pork and adjust seasoning to preference by adding more salt/pepper, as desired. Feel free to pour full bbq sauce over the pulled pork, to preference- or top pulled pork with BBQ sauce when assembled in sandwiches/sliders, etc. Enjoy your BBQ pulled pork however you’d like!
bbq pulled pork sandwich with chips on white plate

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

As the recipe is written, I love the ease and straightforward method of cooking this pulled pork in a pressure cooker. Not only does it all come together with a quickness, but the steps involved can all be done within the same vessel. However, if you’d like to go the slow cooker route, that is an alternate cooking method that can surely go down, too. Here’s how:

  • To begin, brown the pork on the stovetop and then sauté the onion/garlic mixture. After that, transfer the browned pork along with the onion/garlic, and all other remaining ingredients into your slow cooker vessel. Stir together and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8. Full slow cooker instructions are included in the recipe card notes, below.

BBQ Pulled Pork- ways to serve it up:

As I said earlier, my usual pulled pork go-to is piled on top of brioche buns and smothered with BBQ sauce and coleslaw, yum 🤤😛…Although, let’s dive into some different options you have to serve up your pulled pork:

  • pulled pork sammies on brioche or hawaiian buns
  • served in or with omelettes (a rich, savory breakfast idea!)
  • paired with potato salad or baked beans
  • quesadillas, nachos, burrito bowls, pizza
  • stuffed inside of baked potatoes (or sweet potatoes!)
  • served with creamy mac and cheese

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

Make sure the leftover pulled pork has cooled completely. To refrigerate: Transfer pulled pork into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. To freeze: Transfer pulled pork into a freezer safe container and keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat: Thaw in the fridge, if frozen. Reheat pulled pork on the stovetop in a skillet with a bit of oil to crisp up the pork. Or microwave until warmed through.

closeup of bbq pulled pork sandwich

Listen, Pulled Pork is LIFE lol. This recipe is so succulent, flavorful, easy to make, and oh so versatile- you need it! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw laying on platter

Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

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  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Southern
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Description

This BBQ Pulled Pork is the definition of low-effort, high-reward. A pulled pork recipe that easily comes together using a pressure cooker (or slow cooker, too!). A homemade dry rub makes the pork shoulder sing with mega flavor and cooks until fall-apart tender. That juicy, succulent pork is then served with BBQ sauce. This recipe is perfect for gatherings (or meal prepping) and the options are endless when it comes to serving: sandwiches, sliders, nachos, mac and cheese, salads, and more!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (or cayenne powder)- optional
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 lb boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat & cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 medium-sized white onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

For serving:

  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle BBQ sauce, we love Sweet Baby Ray’s or Stubb’s!
  • brioche buns, coleslaw, dill/bread & butter pickles- optional

Instructions

  1. Make the spice blend: In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle powder (if using), and salt/pepper- to taste. Stir the spices well to thoroughly combine.
  2. Season the pork shoulder: Place the pork shoulder chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle the spice blend over the pork. Use your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to massage the spices into the pork. Make sure all pork pieces are nicely saturated in the spice blend. Then set seasoned pork aside.
  3. Brown the pork: Set a 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot to the high sauté function. Add the oil into the pot to heat. Once the oil shimmers, work in batches (careful not to overcrowd the pot), add seasoned pork into the pot in an even layer. Cook the pork on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 1 minute on each side. Then transfer the browned pork to a clean plate/platter and repeat the process with the remaining batch of pork. 
  4. Sauté: With all seared pork set aside, add the onion and garlic into the pot. If the pot looks dry, coat with a bit more oil, only as needed. Sauté the onion and garlic, stirring every so often, until tender and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Bring it all together: Add the stock, vinegar, worcestershire, and mustard into the pot and use a wooden utensil to scrape up any bits on the bottom, stir well to combine. Then carefully place the browned pork chunks back into the pot along with any residual juices.
  6. Pressure cook: Cover the IP and set to the manual high pressure function, set the time for 45 minutes. After the cooking cycle is complete, let pressure release naturally in the “vent” position or according to manufacturer’s instructions, until all steam has ceased.
  7. Shred the pork: Remove the pork chunks from the pot and place onto a large baking sheet/platter. Then use two forks or your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to shred the meat. Note: I like to save some of the cooking liquid (au jus) in the pot to pass over the pulled pork to keep it juicy when storing/ not serving right away- highly recommended, but optional.
  8. Serve: Taste the pork and adjust seasoning to preference by adding more salt/pepper, as desired. Feel free to pour full BBQ sauce over the pulled pork, to preference- or top pulled pork with BBQ sauce when assembled in sandwiches/sliders, etc. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Storing & reheating: Make sure the leftover pulled pork has cooled completely. To refrigerate: Transfer pulled pork into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. To freeze: Transfer pulled pork into a freezer safe container and keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat: Thaw in the fridge, if frozen. Reheat pulled pork on the stovetop in a skillet with a bit of oil to crisp up the pork. Or microwave until warmed through.
  2. Slow cooker instructions: Make the spice blend as noted in step #1 and season the pork shoulder as noted in step #2. On the stovetop, heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, work in two batches to brown the pork as noted in step #3. Then sauté the onion and garlic mixture as noted in step #4. Transfer the browned pork (with residual juices) and onion/garlic mixture into your slow cooker vessel. Add the stock, vinegar, worcestershire, and mustard. Carefully stir all ingredients together to fully combine. Cook the pork on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Then follow step #7 and #8 to shred and serve. Enjoy!
  3. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.