Insta-Pot Pulled Pork

My dad tells me I’m a porker.

Now without context, that sounds mighty insulting. But according to my parents, I was formed on pulled pork.

My folks were living in my birth state of North Carolina, attending Duke University for post-grad study, when Mom became pregnant with me. During her pregnancy, she’d crave North Carolina BBQ with lots of hot sauce – Louisiana’s or Pete’s. Mom would feed her cravings by eating pulled pork with hot sauce almost daily in Pittsboro, NC where she was doing her field education. My parents would joke that all that hot sauce gave me my fiery temper. Guess I kicked more than my brother did.

Insta-Pot Pulled Pork - so simple and delish
cheryl preggers in sepia tone
Cheryl, carrying me – summer of 1983.

When I was almost two, my family relocated to Kansas City, another BBQ hotspot. Growing up in Kansas City, I inherited both an obsession and snobbishness for BBQ sauce.

Talk to any Kansas Citian, and there’s great debate over what joint serves the best BBQ and who’s got the better sauce. And while the city may be divided over the great existential question – Gates or Arthur Bryant’s? – I am not. Like parents aren’t supposed to play favorites with their kids, I love them both – just in different ways

With all this heritage, I naturally love BBQ’d pulled pork. But let’s get real. I rarely have time to make it properly and tend to a smoker all day long.

Craig gave me an Insta-Pot for my birthday last October and it’s now in regular rotation in my kitchen line-up. I’ve discovered that one of my favorite meals to make in it is a pork roast.  It comes out so quickly and doesn’t require hours in a smoker, the oven, or your slow cooker.

No need to worry if you don’t own an Insta-Pot. I’ve also provided instructions for making it in the Crock-Pot (sorry, This is Us fans).

While, it’s not the same as Kansas City or North Carolina BBQ, this recipe can satisfy my own pulled pork cravings and provides the perfect canvas to slather on my beloved BBQ sauce. Or more accurately, whichever bottle I happened to have opened at the time. Apparently Craig didn’t grow up with multiple varieties of BBQ sauce in the fridge, and he doesn’t understand why I need so many, taking up fridge space. So weird. Anyway, we’ve compromised and have one each.

The pulled pork can be made with just five ingredients: a pork roast, any beer you’ve got on hand, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and your favorite BBQ dry rub. I do prefer Gates rub and always stock up any time I am back in KC or beg my family to bring me some when they visit – thanks, Mom!

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Select “Saute” function on Insta-Pot and heat oil on high setting. While the oil is heating, cut pork roast in half so it cooks faster in the Insta-Pot. If using a larger roast, cut roast into thirds. Sprinkle BBQ rub on all sides of pork. I’m usually pretty heavy-handed with the rub.

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Once oil has heated, sear all sides of pork. I was able to fit both pieces of the roast into the Insta-Pot at the same time so I didn’t need to do it in batches, but that might be necessary if you’re using a larger roast.

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Then just dump remaining ingredients in. I start with the beer and use a wooden spoon to push the meat aside and break up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Then I add 8-10 dashes of Worsterchire sauce and 8 dashes of liquid smoke. And then, just because, I might sprinkle a little more rub on top.

Lock the lid, ensure the vent is closed, and select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” and set it to high for 1 hour and 20 minutes. When finished, natural release for 5 minutes and then quick release if needed. Remove roast and shred with two forks or a pair of tongs.

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Heap about 1/2 cup of of pulled pork onto a toasted bun, and top with your favorite BBQ sauce. Again, I don’t play favorites, but I happened to have a bottle of Bryant’s already open and handy. So Bryant’s it was.

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Oink, oink.


Insta-Pot Pulled Pork

Yields: 11 servings, Serving Size: ½ cup
WW Totals: =  6 Freestyle Points (4 Points if fat is trimmed from roast)
Note: WW total does not include bun or BBQ sauce as those will vary depending on brand – calculate those separately.

Ingredients:

2.5 lb pork butt (shoulder) roast, boneless

1tbsp of canola oil

1 bottle of beer

¼ cup of BBQ dry rub

10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

10 dashes of liquid smoke

BBQ sauce of choice

Insta-Pot Directions:

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hr 20 minutes

  1. Select “Saute” function on Insta-Pot and heat oil on High setting.
  2. Cut pork roast in half (or thirds if using a larger roast). Sprinkle BBQ rub on all sides of pork.
  3. Once oil has heated, sear all sides of pork. If necessary, sear pork sections separately.
  4. Pour in beer and used a wooden spoon to break up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Add 10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce and 10 dashes of liquid smoke.
  5. Lock the lid, ensure the vent is closed, and select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” and set to High for 1 hour 20 minutes. When finished, natural release for 5 minutes and then quick release if needed.
  6. Remove roast and shred with tongs or two forks. Heap 1/2 cup of pork onto a toasted bun, and top with BBQ sauce.

Slow-Cooker Directions:

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 8-10 hrs

  1. Sprinkle BBQ rub on all sides of whole roast.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet at medium high. Sear all sides of roast.
  3. Remove roast from skillet and place in Slow-Cooker. Pour in beer, 10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and 10 dashes of liquid smoke.
  4. Set Slow-Cooker to Low and cook for 8-10 hours, or until pork is tender.
  5. Remove roast and shred with tongs or two forks. Heap 1/2 cup of pork onto a toasted bun, and top with BBQ sauce.

If you’re curious to try Kansas City BBQ sauces or rubs from Gates or Arthur Bryant’s, I’ve linked to each website where you can buy their products online by clicking on the respective name. There are also Gates copycat recipes for the sauce and the rub floating around online which are purportedly the actual Gates recipes. I’ve made both and attest that they are pretty darn excellent.

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2 Replies to “Insta-Pot Pulled Pork”

  1. Rachel, I’m a believer! Your last recipe was great. I just bought my pork roast, so I’ll be ready to roll soon. Thanks!

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