Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min


3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons hot paprika

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

One 4-pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 6 pieces 

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons tomato paste

12 hamburger potato buns

1 cup barbecue sauce, for serving

4 cups coleslaw, for serving 


Special equipment:
an Instant Pot® multi-cooker
  1. Combine paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork.
  2. Turn the Instant Pot® (see Cook's Note) to the high saute setting. Add the oil and once hot, add the pork and cook in two batches, turning, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Switch the Instant Pot® to the warm setting, remove the pork and transfer to a plate. 
  3. Whisk 3/4 cup water into the drippings in the Instant Pot®. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 cups water and whisk to combine. Add the pork back. Follow the manufacturer's guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 1 hour. 
  4. After the pressure cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid and transfer the pork to a large bowl. 
  5. Switch the Instant Pot® to the normal saute setting and simmer the juices until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. While the juices are reducing use a ladle to remove any fat that rises to the top. Season to taste with salt. 
  6. Meanwhile, use 2 forks to shred the pork in to small chunks. 
  7. Add 3 cups of the reduced cooking liquid to the chunked pork and season with salt and vinegar to taste. Serve in hamburger buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.

Cook’s Note

Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer's guide.

Let's Get Cooking!

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39 Reviews

Jack Cox

Here are my notes for whomever might want some tips to take this from 3 starts to a true 5 star potential:<div><br /></div><div>1. To the gentleman who said he left all the fat on - Yes, fat is important - especially when cooking something like a tenderloin.  However, there is so much fat and connective tissue in a pork shoulder that will render down that you most certainly should trim the fat cap and the bigger fat deposits before making this.  Otherwise you end up with slimy, unappetizing pieces in with your mouth watering, succulent pork.</div><div><br /></div><div><span>2. The sauce is a bit boring as is.  I added a teaspoon of liquid smoke and about a teaspoon of red paper flakes.  I might also consider adding some bourbon in place of the water.  Also, for a switch up, instead of tomato paste, consider using the same amount of mustard for a mustard based sauc</span><br /></div><div><br /></div><div>3.  The pork doesn't need an hour in the pressure cook.  The usual 40 minutes is plenty.  At an hour your risk turning it a bit mushy, especially if you add a lot of the finishing sauce to it.</div><div><br /></div><div>4. On the subject of fat, the recipe mentions skimming the fat during the final reduction phase as almost an afterthought.  It's not.  You are going to end up with around a 1/4-1/2 cup of rendered fat left and you don't want to just pour that into the pork and make it greasy.  Easiest way is after reducing the sauce, remove the Instant Pot liner and gently tip it into another bowl, draining as much oil as you can.  I actually also use a bulb baster and pull out the sauce from the bottom as well.  I don't like my pork drowning in sauce anyway, so this lets me put a bit in at a time until I'm happy with the result.</div><div><br /></div><div><br /></div>

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