Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork

About: I love to spend time in the kitchen to relax and feed those I love with great eats and treats.

How do you get juicy, tender, flavorful pulled pork in under 2 hours? You pressure cook it. I'd happily enter this recipe in any barbecue competition, though I'd rather save the pork for myself! 

This recipe from the book Pressure Cooker Perfection by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen is a winner.  Even better for us in Ohio, it can be made inside, year round. My dad made sure to ask for some for his Father's day meal, and we'll be enjoying it many more times to come. 

The pork is simply prepared with a sweet-spicy rub, the juices that result from containing all the flavor in the pressure cooker get boiled down to make fantastic barbecue sauce. Slow and low definitely has its place, but I'm glad to be able to bring the barbecue inside in a fraction of the time most other pulled pork recipes call for. 

Serves 6-8 

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

You'll need:

3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar, plus extra as needed (I used light brown sugar.)
2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 (4-pound) boneless pork roast (often labeled Boston butt), trimmed and cut crosswise into 4 pieces
3/4 cup cider vinegar, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke 
6-8 hamburger buns (we like King's Hawaiian) 

Step 2: Prepare Pork

Combine sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, then rub mixture evenly over pork. 

Combine vinegar, water, ketchup, and liquid smoke in pressure cooker pot. 

Step 3: Cook Pork

Nestle spice-rubbed pork into pot. 

Lock pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure. 

Remove pot from heat and allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

6-quart Electric Pressure cooker instructions: Pressure cook on high 45 minutes, turn the cooker off immediately after the pressurized cooking time and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes; do not let the cooker switch to the warm setting. Use the browning setting to simmer the sauce in the next step. 

Step 4: Pull Pork, Reduce Sauce, Enjoy

Transfer pork to large plate or bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding any fat. Using large spoon (I used a fat separator then transferred sauce to small saucepan), skim excess fat from surface of sauce. Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until thickened and measures 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, extra sugar (I add about 1/4 cup light brown sugar; we like sweet bbq sauce), and extra vinegar (I add 1 tsp. at the end of simmering to brighten the flavor) to taste. 

Stir 1 cup sauce into shredded pork, then add extra sauce to taste. 

Serve shredded pork on buns with remaining sauce. 

Add some coleslaw and baked beans for an authentic Southern barbecue worthy meal.  

BBQ Contest

Participated in the
BBQ Contest

Father's Day Contest

Participated in the
Father's Day Contest

Be the First to Share


    • STEM Contest

      STEM Contest
    • Cookies Contest

      Cookies Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest

    11 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I've been using this recipe as a base for quite some time now. With less chili powder and using some quality BBQ sauce instead of the liquid smoke that I can't find around here. And with an old fashioned pressure cooker.

    Thanks for the recipe!


    3 years ago

    Really great! Out of all the recipes I've seen, this is definitely a keeper. Thanks!


    3 years ago

    This recipe is too good! We have made it so many times. On mye way to the supermarket to buy the ingredients, to make it again.

    Thank you!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you! I'm also in love with this recipe, now we can enjoy barbecue no matter what the weather is!


    4 years ago

    I've wanted to try making pulled pork for a long time but the 5 to 10
    hours required in the recipes I've found always kept me from trying. I
    made it following your recipe on Sunday and it came out great! I only
    had a problem, after about 30 minutes it run dry and stuck to the bottom
    of the cooker, probably because mine it's an old model and it lets out a
    bit more steam than it should. So released the pressure, added more liquid and put it on again, and I was rewarded with a tender and juicy pulled pork just a tiny bit of it charred on the bottom. The sauce was ok but not special, but I guess that's because lots of the goodiness was stuck on the bottom of the cooker. Definitely something I'm going to make again, thank you for sharing!

    How long does one reduce the sauce, and does anyone have suggestions on how to remove the oil/fat from the sauce without chilling it?

    1 reply

    As per the final step, the sauce takes 15-20 minutes. I pour the sauce into a fat separator and reduce the sauce in a small saucepan. If you want to reduce in your PC, you can skim the fat off. I usually keep about one cup of liquid to pour over the pork after shredding, then reduce the rest for sauce.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have made this a few times now with great results. It's the first thing I ever pressure cooked! I always adjust the barbecue sauce to our family's taste when I'm reducing it, adding garlic and onion powder, and more brown sugar. The meat is tender, juicy and delicious, and there's plenty of leftover sauce, which is great on grilled pork chops, ribs or for dipping. Thanks for an awesome recipe!


    4 years ago on Step 4

    I just bought a 4 qt pressure cooker today and this is the first recipe I tried. It turned out fantastic. I eyeballed the measurements for the rub (I recently moved and must have lost my measuring spoons in the process). I used a Chipotle Chili powder and didn't have any Paprika. It turned out amazing. I couldn't even get the meat out of the pot without it falling apart, it was so juicy. I will definitely be making this again!

    I did make this, didn't take a photo. I followed the recipe as written. It was not exactly to my taste, I think the chili powder isn't what I normally think of for BBQ. That said, the pork coupled with cole slaw and homemade beer bread made the guests happy and I was not embarrassed to serve it, just not a recipe I will make again.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for a pressure cooker recipe! I use mine a lot. This will be perfect for the cold days of Winter when we are all wishing it was Summer.