(Last Updated On: July 7, 2023)
This perfect pulled pork recipe for sliders is made in the instant pot. It is smothered in a delicious dry rub seasoning mix and a liquid sauce. The dry rub seasoning mix includes seven spices. The liquid sauce includes barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. The liquid smoke gives the pork its savory taste. We serve the pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls.
At our house, we call them pulled pork sandwiches, and they pair well with mac and cheese, potato chips, potato wedges, boiled baby potatoes, or French fries. Our favorite side dish with these pulled pork sandwiches is potato salad.
Sliders are small sandwiches such as hamburger sliders or turkey sliders that are typically eaten as snacks or appetizers. They are a great way to serve this pulled pork recipe using Hawaiian rolls. Each of us has two or three for dinner. But first, to make these perfect pulled pork sandwiches, we must prepare the pulled pork and this recipe will guide you through it all.
🧂 What’s in this BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe?
There are lots of seasonings in this pulled pork recipe, which are called dry rub mix seasoning spices, also known as dry ingredients. There are also liquid seasoning sauce ingredients, also known as wet ingredients.
The dry ingredients are brown sugar that is mixed together with chili powder, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, cumin powder, fennel seeds, and cayenne pepper. The liquid seasoning sauce is mixed together with barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, and liquid smoke.
Then, the dry ingredients are rubbed on the pork and put into the instant pot to brown. Later, the liquid ingredients are poured over the pulled pork while still in the instant pot. To make the pulled pork super tender, it will cook in the instant pot for 65 minutes.
👩🍳 Key Ingredients
- 3 to 5 pounds of boneless pork shoulder roasts or pork butt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Dry Rub Mix Seasoning Spices
- 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 teaspoons of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Liquid Seasoning Sauce Ingredients
- One cup barbecue sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- One cup of chicken broth (water is okay for less sodium content)
- 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
🔪 How to Make Perfect Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot (Step-By-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)
Step 1. Cut the Pork
To make the best pulled pork recipe, use approximately 3 pounds (1.36 kg) to 5 pounds (2.27 kg) of pork shoulder roast. We picked out the best cut of meat we could find from the grocery store, however, you can choose any of your favorite cuts of meat such as pork butt, or whichever you prefer.
After you have your perfect cut of meat, then on a large cutting board, cut the pork with a sharp knife into large chunks. If there is any excess fat you don’t like, you can cut that away, but some fat left on the meat is okay.
Step 2. Mix the Dry Ingredients
In a medium bowl, add 2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar together with 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds. Then mix thoroughly.
Step 3. Rub the Pork
Rub each pork roast chunk with the dry rub seasoning spices on the front, then turn it over and do the back, sides, and underneath. Save any leftover dry rub seasoning spices for later.
Step 4. Add Olive Oil to the Instant Pot
After that, get the instant pot ready by adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of the instant pot.
Step 5. Turn Instant Pot on Sauté
Then, set the instant pot to sauté. On our instant pot, the sauté button can be found at the bottom left.
Step 6. Put the Seasoned Pork into the Instant Pot
Place the pork chunks with the dry rub spices on them in the instant pot. While the instant pot is set to sauté, brown the pork for about 5 to 10 minutes. Brown the chunks on all sides of the pork, turning the chunks as they are browning, but some pink left in the pork is okay.
Step 7. Brown the Pulled Pork
The photo below shows the chunks of pork that are browned in the instant pot on the sauté setting for about 5 to 10 minutes with the dry rub seasoning spices on it. Leave the pork chunks set in the instant for now, but turn off the sauté button while we make the liquid seasoning sauce in the next step below.
Step 8. Mix the Liquid Seasoning Sauce
In a small bowl, mix the liquid seasoning sauce ingredients of 1 cup of barbecue sauce together with 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup of Chicken broth (or 1 cup of water to cut sodium content), and 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke. Liquid smoke gives the pork a smoky flavor.
Note: As mentioned above, if there are any dry rub seasoning spices left, add the extra together with the liquid seasoning sauce now. We certainly don’t want to throw away any good spices.
Step 9. Add Liquid Seasoning to the Instant Pot
Pour the liquid seasoning sauce over the browned pork roast chunks in the instant pot. Lift each piece of pork roast so that the liquid seasoning sauce gets underneath all the pork chunks.
Step 10. Set the Instant Pot to Manual
Set the instant pot to manual and set the cooking time to 65 minutes. After 65 minutes of cooking the pork, let the instant pot release naturally, which takes about 20 minutes.
Good to know – It is good to know the minimum internal temperature of pork should be between 145 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit, with a resting period of 3 minutes before carving or eating. When cooking pork in any other recipe, always read the package of pork you buy for the internal temperature. The easiest way to check the internal temperature of meats is to use a meat thermometer. But it is also good to know that this pork recipe passed the internal temperature test.
Note: You might think that 65 minutes isn’t a long time to make pork this tender, and with other cooking methods, you would be right. But with this method, it is. After the 65 minutes of cooking time is up, the pork is so tender that it falls apart easily when we get ready to pull the pork apart in the next few steps below.
Step 11. Remove the Instant Pot Lid
After the instant pot has slowly released naturally for 20 minutes, remove the lid. We are now ready to pull the pork apart in the next step below.
Step 12. Pull the BBQ Pulled Pork Apart
Then, for the best results, take 2 forks and gently pull apart and separate the tender pulled pork in the instant pot. You don’t have to pull every single piece of pork apart, but just enough, so it is the right size to put on the Hawaiian roll sliders.
If you are not ready to serve dinner yet, you can put the lid back on the instant pot and press the slow cook button until you are ready to eat.
🌟 Recipe Variations
- Sprinkle some hot red pepper flakes on your pulled pork sandwich, but sprinkle lightly, it’s hot.
- You can use hamburger buns or different dinner rolls of your choice instead of Hawaiian rolls.
Put any leftover pulled pork in a bowl covered with aluminum foil, or plastic wrap, or in an airtight container, and then place it in the refrigerator. I always like to finish eating it within three days. Reheat it in the instant pot or microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.
There are a few different ways you can cook pulled pork. You can use a crock pot, Dutch oven, or pressure cooker, or put a roasting pan in an oven and bake it, but you will have to adjust the cooking time and temperature.
💡 Final Thoughts
I hope you enjoyed making this easy pulled pork recipe! By following the directions in this post, you will have the most tender-made pulled pork ready to serve on sliders. Cooking this recipe is simple and quick. The longest part is just waiting for the instant pot to do the cooking.
Serve this great recipe on rolls for sliders or bigger buns for sandwiches. They taste great on Hawaiian rolls. Also, some side dishes can be Caesar salad or anything else that sounds good to you.
💙 More Pork Recipes You Will Love
- Pulled Pork Nachos – If you have any leftover pulled pork from this recipe we just made, you can make these hot and spicy pulled pork nachos for your next dinner in about 30 minutes. This nacho recipe includes black beans, refried beans, and cheese. Super delicious and easy to make.
- Pork Chops with Sauerkraut – A delicious combination of pork chops and sauerkraut. The pork chops are so tender they fall apart with a fork.
🗂️ Recipe Card
Perfect Pulled Pork Recipe (Instant Pot)
- 3-5 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast (or butt roast)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Dry Rub Seasoning Spices
- Cut the pork roast into large chunks.
- In a bowl, prepare the dry rub seasoning spices.
- Rub the dry rub seasoning spices all over the chunks of pork. Add any extra dry rub seasoning spices to the liquid seasoning sauce that will be made in the instructions below.
- Add the olive oil to the bottom of the instant pot.
- Set the instant pot on sauté.
- Put the pork in the instant pot and brown on all sides for about 5 to 10 minutes. Some pink showing is okay.
- In a bowl, prepare the liquid seasoning sauce. Mix the barbecue sauce, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Stir this together.
- Pour the liquid seasoning sauce all over the browned pork, underneath it too.
- Cook pork roast chunks in the instant pot on manual for 65 minutes. After 65 minutes, let the instant pot release naturally, which takes about 20 minutes.
- Remove the instant pot lid and use 2 forks to pull apart the pork chunks.
A wife, a mother to a son and a daughter, and a grandmother to three granddaughters. Flo loves sharing recipes passed down from her own mother, her mother-in-law, and her grandmother as well as new recipes created with her daughter, Tamara Ray.
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