The ultimate Instant Pot pulled pork seasoned with a tasty pork dry rub and cooked to perfection using a much improved cooking method that works like magic.
There is no question that smoked pulled pork takes the crown every time. But if you really want that juicy pulled pork sandwich quick, Instant Pot pulled pork will do the trick.
The problem with pulled pork made in a pressure cooker is that it tends to taste bland and the meat comes out a little dry and tough in my opinion. The added liquid required for building up pressure dilutes the flavor and ruins the texture.
My solution to make pressure cooked pork butt taste better is to cook it in isolation from any added liquids. You want the pork to cook in its own fat and juices. This way the meat will be more flavorful, juicy and have a softer texture.
The best way to make pulled pork in a Instant Pot
So, how do you do that? It’s very simple. All you need to do is cook the meat in mason jars. Just cut up 3 pounds of pork butt into 2-inch pieces, stuff into four 16-ounce mason jars, put the lids on and cook in a pressure cooker.
This method is not new, this is how canned meat is made anyway, and is similar to canned pork. But it works like magic for making pulled pork. Sounds pretty simple, right? Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Cooked this way, pulled pork tastes a dozen times better and has a superior texture.
What if you don’t have or don’t want to use mason jars?
No problem! Simply wrap seasoned pork pieces tightly in several layers of heavy duty aluminum foil, place on the rack inside your Instant Pot and cook like that. I tested this method several times and it works very well too.
How long to cook pork using this method?
This depends on what kind of texture and tenderness you want to achieve. Here is a summary table that will be of help.
|Pork Butt Pressure Cooking Time||Taste Results|
|45 minutes||Fairly juicy meat, but somewhat tough still. Some pieces are easier to shred than others. Tastes way better compared to the one cooked directly in the pressure cooker.|
|60 minutes||Best balance of juiciness and tenderness IMHO. The meat pulls fairly easily. Just a tad drier than the 45-minute one but barely. It tastes great.|
|80 minutes||The meat is fork tender, literally disintegrates as you push a fork through it. A little drier but mixed with the juices it tastes great. You can almost spread it with a fork. I like this one a lot, actually. The meat almost melts in your mouth.|
Dry rub for pork butt
Oh, and don’t forget to put a good rub on the meat. Even smoked pork benefits from a good dry rub. If you want to give the meat that awesome smoky flavor you can add some liquid smoke. I provided the recipe for my special homemade pulled pork dry rub below. I’ve been using this rub for years on anything from pork butts to pork loins and even chicken. It makes any meat taste great.
- Do let the pressure cooker depressurize naturally. If you don’t a fair amount of the liquids from the jars will get expelled. You want all the juices to stay inside the jars. This is less of an issue if using foil.
- The liquid inside the jars will be very hot even after a 20 minute natural depressurization. Carefully remove the jars from the pressure cooker using a jar lifter, or a towel, and let cool down for about 20 minutes before opening.
- Open the jars slowly and carefully to avoid spilling hot liquids.
- Any unopened jars must still be refrigerated. They will keep in the fridge for a few weeks easily.
- When wrapping pork butt in foil, keep all seams at the top to prevent water from getting in and natural juices from leaking out.
Must try recipes that use pulled pork
Diana Rattray’s Macaroni and Cheese with Pulled Pork
Pulled Pork King Ranch Casserole by Serene from House of Yumm
Diana Rattray’s Pulled Pork Barbecue Biscuit Cups
Pulled Pork Shepherd’s Pie by Steve from The Black Peppercorn
Marian Blazes’ s Arepas With Pulled Pork and Cilantro Garlic Mayonnaise
Leftover Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese by Janelle from Num’s the Word
Derrick Riches’s Fresh Pulled Pork Spring Rolls With Mustard Barbecue Dipping Sauce
Diana Rattray’s Pulled Pork Barbecue Biscuit Cups
Best Way to Make Pulled Pork in Instant Pot
- 3 lbs pork butt cut into 2-inch pieces
For the dry rub
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp Ancho chile powder optional
- 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 Tbsp dried rosemary
- In a small bowl, combine all of the dry rub ingredients.
- Throw pork butt pieces in a large bowl. Add the seasonings and mix well.
- Stuff pork into 4 16-oz mason jars leaving about 1/2" head space. Close until finger tight. Alternatively, wrap the pork tightly in several layers of heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Place the jars or the foil pack (seam facing up) on the removable rack of the Instant Pot. Pour enough water to reach about 1/3 of the height of the jars or the foil pack.
- Cover the pressure cooker and make sure the pressure valve is sealed. Set for MANUAL, HIGH pressure for 60 minutes cook time.
- When the pressure cook time is up, let the pressure cooker naturally release for 20 minutes. Then open the valve completely to quickly release all the remaining pressure.
- Remove the jars or the foil pack from the Instant Pot. If cooking pork in mason jars, let the jars cool for about 20 minutes before opening them. If cooking in foil, let the pork rest for 5 minutes before opening.
- Dump the meat in a bowl together with the liquids. Shred with forks, mix with juices and keep warm until ready to serve.
Hi, should I add the liquid smoke to the meat and seasonings before cooking or mix it with the shredded meat after?
Before cooking. That will give you the best results.
I have a feeling I’m going to spend way too much time on your blog!!! I stumbled onto it looking for extra crispy chicken wings and the technique you presented caught my attention. Then looking into this instant pot recipe I found out that you truly researched your recipes and techniques adding tips and variations to the recipes that I rarely see on blogs these days… I haven’t made anything yet but that’s about to change soon.
Congratulations on your blog,
Thank you, Claudia. Enjoy those recipes and post your feedback once you try them. Happy cooking!
Hi Victor, This sounds like a great concept however I have concerns about the safety of pressurizing sealed mason jars. When they are finish cooking are the jars sealed as if they were pressurized during the canning process. Thank you.
Hi Al, yes, these will be sealed. This is the same process as the one used for pressure canning meat and vegetables. The only difference is that you can’t guarantee that the product can be safely stored at room temperature, so I would refrigerate it. I do a fair but of meat canning, for that I use a pressure canner that allows me to set pressure to 15 PSI and cooking time is about 80 minutes. Then the meat is safe to store at room temp. But the process is practically the same.
This was the first time I made pulled pork in a pressure cooker. My husband makes smoked pulled pork all the time so we’ve never made it any other way. I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out so juicy and so delicious! My husband complimented me and said the pork was fabulous though lacked smoky flavor. I will include liquid smoke next time. Otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing. The seasonings are spot on. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe!
You are very welcome, Angela. Glad you and your husband liked my recipe. Adding liquid smoke is an excellent idea. Why haven’t I thought of it myself?;)