Library Blog

Cooking with the Library: Instant Pot Pulled Pork

pulled pork sandwich

As the weather warms up, pulled pork is a great picnic food to help you get into the summer spirit! This recipe makes approximately 8 servings, so it’s perfect for a family mealUsing your Instant Pot for pulled pork turns a day-long slow cooking marathon into a task that will take you less than two hoursThis pork rub is easy to modify to your liking, so be sure to experiment with your seasonings. You can also multiply this recipe for more servings. 


Instant Pot Pulled Pork


  •  3-4 lb. boneless pork shoulder or ribeye roast, trimmed and cut into roughly 2-inch cubes 
  • 2 Tbsp. high-heat cooking oil (grapeseed, canola, etc.) 

Pork Seasoning Mix: 

  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper 
  • ½ tsp. cumin 
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder or other (can substitute prepared chili powder) 
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika (use regular if you don’t have smoked, or you can also use a splash of liquid smoke) 
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder 
  • 2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar 


  • 1 cup diced white or yellow onion 
  • 1-2 tsp. minced garlic (can substitute garlic powder) 
  • pinch of Italian seasoning (or, oregano and thyme) 
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (if desired) 

Cooking liquid: 

  • 1-2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce of choice 
  • 12 oz. broth (any is fine), low sodium (for pressurizing) 



  1.  Trim your pork and cut it into roughly 2-inch cubes.
  2. Mix up your dry spices, then rub them thoroughly into the cubed pork. Optionally, put it in a covered container and let it sit for an hour in the fridge to marinade. 
  3. On your Instant Pot, select the Sauté setting on Normal and heat the oil, then brown the meat for a total of about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add the aromatics one at a timefirstthe onion, sauteing until it starts to soften, then add the garlic (watch out–it can burn easily, which will add a harsh taste), the Italian seasonings and (optionally) red pepper flakes. 
  5. Next, add a few ounces of the broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits of meat or spices into the liquid. This will also help prevent a Burn error on your Instant Pot.
  6.  Let it simmer a moment, then add the vinegar, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire, and remaining broth to the pot. Optionally, add additional barbecue sauce if you like sweeter pulled pork, or you can top it off later.
  7. “Cancel” the Sauté setting and place the lid on the Instant Pot so that it locks, making sure your steam valve is closed. 
  8. Use the “Manual” setting and adjust to 60 minutes. Once your cook time has run out, for even more tender meat, you can let the Instant Pot depressurize naturally instead of releasing the valve. A general rule of thumb for this recipe is to cook for between 15 and 20 minutes per pound of pork. 
  9. Once the Instant Pot is depressurized, carefully open the lid.
  10. Use two forks to pull apart the pork, which should easily separateIf you have extra time, you can also continue to let it cook for a while by switching to the slow cooker settingwhich helps the flavors really come out. 
  11. Toast your sandwich buns, then top with French-fried onions or scallions and a drizzle of barbecue sauce.

pulled pork sandwich











Great when paired with some fresh coleslaw! 


Mallory is a Youth Services Librarian at PLYMC. She loves picture books, fantasy, mythology and folklore, and has plenty of suggestions for anyone looking for a magical read. Her favorite part of being a librarian is seeing young learners discover new worlds through reading and STEAM activities. At home, she often escapes into video games, tinkers with tech, tends her container garden, and spends time with her cat, Chuck, and dog, Chance.