This instant pot pulled pork is succulent and tender, and goes perfectly with your favorite bbq sauce! Made with a savory and sweet spice rub, this pulled pork is perfect for a crowd, fantastic on a bun, and so much more.
This is one of my Pork recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
With summer just around the corner, you may be craving some delicious cookout-types of foods!
For me, a juicy pulled pork sandwich is a classic summer meal, especially paired with a frosty cold drink.
But with the warm temps, comes my desire to be nowhere near a hot kitchen, let alone stand in one for an hour cooking dinner.
But with this amazing recipe, you don’t have to!
The pork cooks in the Instant Pot (no heating up your house!), and the cooking time is hands-off, so you can go put your feet up or catch an episode of your favorite show.
This pulled pork recipe uses a homemade spice rub (which can absolutely be made ahead of time), and your favorite bottled bbq sauce (saving you time)!
What do I need to make this recipe?
- Pork loin – even though it’s a relatively lean cut of pork, this has plenty of flavor, and isn’t dry at all.
- Brown sugar – the sweetness pairs nicely with all the savory flavors in the rub.
- Kosher salt – salt enhances all the other flavors, and I much prefer kosher versus table salt since it has a lower sodium content.
- Black pepper – adds a hint of spice.
- Smoked paprika – this adds a beautiful deep smoky flavor.
- Garlic powder – adds a savory umami flavor.
- Onion powder – this adds savoriness, and the onion flavor pairs nicely with the pork.
- Ground mustard – adds a bit of tang.
- Cayenne pepper – the heat added here isn’t a crazy amount, it just adds balance.
- Ground cumin – cumin has an earthy smoky flavor.
- Vegetable oil – this neutral flavored oil has a high smoke point, so it can be heated to a high temperature which is perfect for searing.
- Apple cider vinegar – the tangy flavor balances the other sweet and savory flavors.
- Chicken broth – this is a somewhat neutral cooking liquid, we prefer reduced sodium.
- Hot sauce – this doesn’t really add heat, more of a zippy flavor.
How to make pulled pork in the instant pot?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Combine rub seasonings. If you’d like, you can double all of the seasonings and keep the rest of it on hand for other pork or chicken recipes.
- Rub into pork. Really massage it in with your hands.
- Sear. Searing adds extra flavor.
- Add liquids. The pressure cooker needs to have liquid, and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen browned bits from searing the pork.
- Return pork and pressure cook.
- Shred. I like to do this in a bowl.
- Moisten. Add some of the cooking liquid, as well as a small amount of bbq sauce.
Don’t skip adding some of the cooking liquid to the shredded pork, it really adds so much flavor and moistness!
Variations of this recipe
- Pork – if you can’t find or don’t have a boneless pork loin, you can also use a boneless pork shoulder (may be labeled as a boneless pork butt).
- Onion and/or garlic – for an extra oomph of flavor, try chopping a yellow onion and/or a few cloves of garlic and adding them in with the pork.
- Rub – if you’d like to tweak the amounts of the spices used in the spice rub, please feel free.
- Liquid – if you to use a different liquid for this recipe, instead of chicken broth, try your favorite beer, apple juice, soda, or even water.
- Slow cooker – prefer using your crockpot? No problem, check the “chef tips” section below the recipe for the full details.
- Smoking – if you love smoking pork, check out my smoked pork recipe – it’s definitely a reader favorite!
Yep, it sure can! I love using my Instant Pot, but I know not everyone has one, or wants to use it. Please see the “chef tips” section below the full recipe for all the details.
You can use a boneless pork shoulder (may sometimes be called pork butt), or pork loin (what this recipe was developed and tested with). Both are readily available in my grocery store, and I almost always have one in my freezer (buy them when they’re on sale!).
Making pulled pork ahead of time
While this recipe certainly doesn’t take much time to throw together, you can make it entirely ahead of time.
Reheat the shredded pork gently on the stovetop or in the slow cooker on low until hot throughout. You may want to add a splash of water, chicken broth, or additional bbq sauce as it reheats.
The thing I love so much about shredded or pulled pork is that is freezes perfectly!
Just make sure it’s completely cooled, then transfer to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3-6 months.
Leftover pulled pork should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoyed within 4-5 days.
My Favorite Instant Pot!
I love this model’s features like a completely flat bottom insert, as well as a locking insert, making stirring super easy. Plus, it automatically switches to sealing when you lock the lid!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 1/2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 lb boneless pork loin cut into roughly 3" pieces
- 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 – 2 tsp hot sauce
- your favorite bbq sauce
Make the rub
- Combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, cayenne, and cumin in a small mixing bowl.
Season and sear pork
- Rub the seasoning mix liberally into the pork pieces.
- Select “saute” and if you have an option to select “high” select that. Add vegetable oil and when hot, add pork pieces.
- Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, then remove pork pieces to a plate.
Deglaze and add liquids
- To the now empty pot, add chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any browned pork bits.
- Press “cancel”. Pour in vinegar and hot sauce, stirring to combine, then add browned pork pieces back to the pot.
- Secure lid and make sure the valve is on “sealing”. Press “manual” or “pressure cook” and pressure cook on high for 40 minutes.
- When the time is up, don’t touch the pot and just let it sit for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes has passed, move the valve to “venting” to release any remaining pressure. When the pin has dropped, remove the lid.
- ** save the cooking liquid! **
- Carefully remove pork to a large mixing bowl and shred.
- Pour about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the mixing bowl with the pork, stirring to combine.
- Add your favorite bbq sauce, the amount is up to you.
- Serve hot. If you want to make sandwiches, I recommend toasting the buns, adding some pork, then topping with coleslaw.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- I highly recommend a great coleslaw to go alongside this shredded bbq chicken. Either of these two would be great options: Chick-Fil-A copycat coleslaw or classic sweet and tangy coleslaw.
- I’ve estimated that this recipe serves 8, but feel free to divide this into as many servings as you’d like.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- instead of chopping the pork into 3″ pieces, you can either leave it whole, or cut it half.
- Rub seasoning rub into pork.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over MED HIGH heat. Add pork and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, then remove to the insert of a slow cooker.
- Pour in chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen browned bits. Stir in vinegar and hot sauce.
- Pour the liquids from the skillet into the slow cooker insert with the pork.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or HIGH for 4-5 hours (I have the best results cooking on low though).
- Remove pork from the slow cooker to a bowl, and shred.
- Moisten with 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the mixing bowl with the pork, stirring to combine.
- Add your favorite bbq sauce, the amount is up to you.
- Serve as desired.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
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