Instant Pot Pulled Pork is tender and flavorful pork shoulder (or butt) cooked up quickly in your electric pressure cooker. The pork meat comes out fall-apart tender and makes amazing BBQ pulled pork sandwiches or tacos.
This is a complete guide to making pulled pork in your Instant Pot- everything from which cut of pork to buy, and how much to buy, to trimming, seasoning and cooking!
Is it Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder
So what do your buy at the store to make pulled pork: pork butt, pork shoulder, or Boston butt? Bone-in or boneless?
Buying any of these options will result in the same flavorful pulled pork. Butt, shoulder and Boston butt are pretty much the same thing.. confusing, isn’t it!?
All three are actually cut from the shoulder, hence “pork shoulder”. The pork “butt”, also known as Boston butt, comes from the same area but is a little higher on the foreleg.
Buying boneless or bone-in is up to you. Both will cook perfectly fine in your Instant Pot. Since you will be cutting the pork butt into cubes, you could cut the bone out if you prefer, but it is not totally necessary.
Instant Pot Pork Cooking Times
Do not let people tell you … “pulled pork should be cooked for X minutes in the instant pot”. NO! You need to take note of how much your pork butt weighs and plan accordingly from there.
IT IS 15 MINUTES PER POUND! I usually take about 1/2 pound off the total weight for the fat that is removed during trimming.
Pulled Pork Cooking Times – by weight
How Much Pork to Buy
If you are planning on feeding a crowd or just a couple people it is important to know how many pounds of pork to buy. They can vary anywhere from 3 lbs up to 18 lbs. The best way to calculate is 3 people (adults) per pound of pork.
How to Make Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot
We are going to start by trimming the pork butt. Since we are not cooking “low and slow”, like in smoking, the fat will not render all the way down. The last thing you want in your pulled pork is a big chunk of jiggly fat. Gross.
Trim as much of the white fat that you can from the outside of the butt. Then cut the meat down into 3 inch chunks. If you come across more fat or connective tissue within the meat, cut that out as well.
In a small bowl mix together your dry rub seasoning. Coat the pork butt pieces completely with all of the seasoning.
Pour 1 cup water, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar into the Instant Pot. Place the metal trivet over the liquid. Put the seasoned pork pieces on the trivet.
Close the pot and set to cook for 15 minutes per pound. I had a 4.5 lb pork butt, minus about 1/2 lb in fat, so I set my Instant Pot to cook for 60 minutes.
Do a natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
Pulling Your Pork
Now you will want to “pull” your pork, which is another way of saying shred the pork.
Since the meat will be so tender it is easy to do with two forks. Another easy way to shred meat (especially chicken) is by using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. That makes really quick work of shredding!!
Serving Pulled Pork
We like to eat our Instant Pot Pulled Pork on buns with some KC Style BBQ sauce and coleslaw. It also makes amazing tacos or grilled cheeses.
BTW, this Instant Pot Potato Salad makes a killer side dish for pulled pork sandwiches!
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
You can freeze leftover pulled pork very easily!! Place the cooled pork in a freezer safe bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker
Pork and Cooking Liquid
- 3-5 lb. fresh pork butt (also called pork shoulder or boston butt)
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider
Dry Rub Seasoning
- 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- favorite BBQ sauce
- Start by mixing the dry rub.In a small bowl combine 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp dry mustard. Stir it together so there are no clumps remaining. Set aside.
- Trim and cut your pork butt.With a sharp knife trim any fat or connective tissue from the pork butt. Cut the whole butt into 3 inch chunks. As you cut it open if you find more areas of fat, remove those too. NOTE: take notice of how much your pork butt weighs, this will determine your cooking time.
- Season the pork.Sprinkle and press the dry rub on all sides of the cut pork.
- Pour the cooking liquid in the Instant Pot.Add 1 cup water, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to the pot. Place the trivet over the liquid.
- Add the seasoned pork to the Instant Pot.Place all the seasoned pork pieces in the pot on the trivet.
- Close the lid and set to cook for 15 minutes per pound.Pop the lid on your IP and turn the pressure valve to seal. Set to cook for 15 minutes per pound. Do a 10 minute natural release and then release any remaining pressure with a quick release.
- Shred and serve!Remove the pork from the pot, discard the liquid (or you can use some to pour over your pork if you like)Take two forks and shred the pork. Mix with your favorite BBQ sauce and serve on buns or tacos or pizza or nachos!!