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Instant Pot Easy BBQ Pulled Pork

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The first time I saw pulled pork I remember thinking, “why would someone waste a perfectly good pernil by covering it with BBQ sauce?”.

See, the Cuban way of making pork shoulder is to keep it simple. To highlight the flavor of the pork itself. Sometimes we marinade it with Mojo or make a rub with Adobo. But usually we do nothing more then add some salt, maybe some fresh garlic, and cook it low and slow until you have a nice crunchy skin and the juicy, fatty meat. (of course I have to include a link to my Instant Pot Cuban Pork or if you prefer my recipe for Air Fryer Oven Rotisserie Cuban Pork)

However, it took a trip to Nashville for me to realize the magic of BBQ Pulled Pork. Now I get what all the fuss is about.

And one of my favorite ways of making pulled pork is to use the electric pressure cooker. This way allows you to cut the time it takes to make this dish, dramatically. You don’t need to cook it all day in a smoker or in a crock pot. Using an electric pressure cooker allows you to infuse the flavored liquid into the pork using pressure. The following recipe is for the Instant Pot. However, if you have a Mealthy 2.0, it’s even better because the Mealthy 2.0 doesn’t have such a sensitive temperature sensor and so you don’t have to worry about the dreaded “BURN” notice like you do with the Instant Pot. This will allow you do use less water and not have to reduce the liquid as much.

Another reason making it in the electric pressure cooker is so great, is because you can cook the pork from FROZEN! Yes, no need to defrost a huge chunk of meat the night before. This is great for procrastinators, like me.

Instant Pot Easy BBQ Pulled Pork

recipe by Lana Horruitiner-Perez

  • 1 – 4 lb Pork Shoulder/Boston Butt, frozen (if you are using a fresh pork, cut it into large chunks and only cook for 45 mins)
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s either Traditional or Honey BBQ or mix of both)
  • 1/8 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbl Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Tbl Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Dry Rub:

  • 3 Tbl Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbl Lawry’s Salt (or a mixture of Paprika and Cumin and Garlic Salt to make 1 Tbl)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Pepper


In a small bowl mix 3 Tbl Brown Sugar, 1 Tbl Lawry’s Salt, 1 1/2 tsp Salt, and 1/2 tsp Pepper and set aside.

Add 3/4 cups Water, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce, and 1/8 cup Cider Vinegar to the Instant Pot.

Place the Frozen Pork Shoulder into the pot.

Add the rub all over the top and pat it down so it sticks. LOCK the lid into place. Set the vent to SEALED position.

Set the IP to “HIGH PRESSURE” and set the time to 1 hour 30 seconds.

Once it is done, allow to NPR or Natural Pressure Release for 15 mins and then release the rest of the pressure and open the lid. Remove the Pork to a large glass bowl.

Press the “SAUTE” button on the Instant Pot and boil the liquid until it thickens to a light sauce consistency, about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, using 2 forks, shred the pork. Keep some fat, but discard large pieces of fat and skin.

Once the sauce has reduced enough, turn off Saute and add back the pork. Mix well into the sauce. Taste and add salt, pepper, or even a little ore BBQ sauce.

Serve on a bun or click the link to my favorite Disney World’s Copy Cat BBQ Pulled Pork Waffle Fries or Disneyland’s BBQ Pulled Pork Baked Potato.

Buen Provecho!

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