Fall apart tender and juicy instant pot pulled pork is an easy recipe that gives you the base for different dishes all year long. Making it requires very little hands-on time so it's the perfect addition to your weekly meal prep plans!
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So, have you gotten on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet? It took me a while - I just got mine last year - but I've become a huge fan. It's so great for making a variety of things including grains, hard boiled eggs and my new favorite, this Pulled Pork!
Smoked pulled pork was something my ex-husband used to make. I always liked it but it's something I've never really made on my own. The Instant pot changed that. You can make wonderful pulled pork in the Instant Pot in just over an hour. Much easier than smoking it, especially since most of us probably don't have access to a smoker.
Pulled pork makes an amazing base for so many things - sliders, tacos, enchiladas - you name it. With all the flavor it has it's also great just on its own with some mashed or roasted potatoes an easy, quick dinner. I created this version without BBQ sauce or anything like that so you can customize it with your own flavors once you decide what you're going to use it for. By adding beer and pressure cooking it, the pork has plenty of flavor all on its own!
This recipe is a great one to add to your list for weekly meal prep too. The beauty of using the Instant Pot is that you can get this going and then work on your other meal prep while it’s cooking.
Making Pulled Pork in an Instant Pot
Since I'm mostly focused on small batch recipes, I use a 3 quart Instant Pot for all of my recipes. They should all also work in a 6 quart Instant Pot as well though I don't test all of them in that size.
As I mentioned, the beauty of using an Instant Pot to make pulled pork is you can achieve tender and juicy pork that's perfectly cooked in just over an hour instead of several hours it would take to slow cook or smoke it. And with only a few ingredients needed it's a snap to pull it together.
You start with a boneless pork shoulder - about 2 to 3 pounds works best but you could do more if you are using a 6 quart Instant Pot. Pork shoulder works best for pulled pork as you want a bit of fat for flavor and to keep the meat nice and juicy. If it's an option, ask your butcher counter to trim any large sections of fat from the pork shoulder. If they won't do it at the store, you'll want to trim it at home before you start.
Next comes a bit of beer and some water, along with a few spices for some nice flavor. You'll cook it for 50 minutes on high pressure and then let the steam release naturally for 20 minutes. Once it's cooked you remove the pork from the Instant Pot and shred it then you are either ready to eat or add it to something else.
Pulled pork is great served with these Parmesan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes or these Steamed Carrots for an elegant yet easy weeknight meal. Add some more ground cumin and a squeeze of lime juice and it's a great base for tacos or burritos. Or add some BBQ sauce and you've got the perfect beginning to some pulled pork sliders for your next summer BBQ.
Can you freeze the leftovers?
Yes! You’ll notice this is not my usual recipe for two and it’s exactly for that reason. Refrigerate what you’ll eat in the next few days and then freeze the rest so you have to for next week or a few weeks from now! Reheating frozen pulled pork is pretty easy. You can always microwave it but I prefer to freeze it in foil and then reheat the foil packet in the oven or toaster oven at 225°F until the desired temperature is reached.
things you may want for this recipe
Instant Pot - You'll definitely need one! I'm a pretty big fan and think it makes sense for just about every kitchen. If you are cooking for one or two the 3-quart size is perfect, other than a whole chicken you can cook just about anything in it.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 2 ½ pounds of boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
- 12 ounces of beer
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- a touch of liquid smoke, optional
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- After you've trimmed the pork cut it into two or three pieces so it will fit into your Instant Pot
- In a small bowl mix the sugar, garlic, onion, thyme, cumin, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper. Rub onto the pork.
- Place the wire rack in the bottom of your Instant Pot and add the pork pieces. Add the beer, apple juice and vinegar. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and lock it. Be sure the vent is set to the closed position.
- Cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. Let the steam release naturally for 20 minutes then quick release if necessary.
- Remove the pork pieces from the Instant Pot and shred with a fork. Serve with your favorite side or refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
- If you freeze the pulled pork you can reheat it in an oven or toaster oven at 225°F until it reaches the desired temperature.
- The pork will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator and up to about 6 months in the freezer.
- The cook time includes the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.