How to Make Pulled Pork – BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe in a Pressure Cooker

How to make BBQ Pulled Pork and save 5 hours using a pressure cooker.

“It’s no sin to get sauce on your chin.” – Bishop Tutu

Pulled pork happens to be one of our favorite things to eat.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

mmm.. Pulled Pork Sandwich

When we go to barbecue festivals like the Roc City Rib Fest or barbecue restaurants like Famous Dave’s we inevitably get at least one pulled pork sandwich and slather on the sauce. But, until recently, I've never made it at home.

"It's no disgrace to get sauce on your face." - anon.

This month we got a lot of pork in our meat CSA share though High Point Farms, and one of the cuts happened to be pork butt. I had never cooked a pork butt before so I immediately did what I do when I need recipe inspiration: I searched Google. * It turns out pork butt isn't from the pigs bottom! It’s actually called a Boston Butt and is part of the shoulder. It’s also the cut used most often in pulled pork, and almost all of the recipes that included it in their ingredient list were for pulled pork in one form or another.

"It doesn't hurt if you get sauce on your shirt." - Heloise (ok, sorry i'll stop)

Here's our Pulled Pork Recipe Video because I just can't wait any longer to share it.

Most of the recipes online involved hours upon hours of cooking in a crock-pot or smoker. Sometimes as long as 12 hours! Would I wait that long. Yes. Ok. Fine I would, but I'd rather not. Of course, I decided to use the pressure cooker and shave the time down to a little over 1 hour.

I found a few different ways to cook pulled pork in the pressure cooker, and at first wasn’t sure which one to use.

The first method I found on the blog I Eat Mostly Meat, a paleo diet site. He made his own barbecue sauce and cooked the meat in it directly for only 16 minutes before using the natural release method.

The next recipe I found on Food.com and involved cooking the meat completely covered in water and adding the barbecue sauce after it was cooked. The chef here cooked it for 1 hour with natural release, and then used store bought sauce.

Since there was a huge difference in the cooking times, I decided to consult a pressure cooker cookbook to see if they had a recipe and how much time was recommended for this cut of meat. In Miss Vickie book she suggested 35 - 40 minutes using at least two cups of liquid and natural release for pork butt, but didn’t have a pulled pork recipe.

I decided to use a combination of the two methods. I would use store bought sauce that we had on hand (next time we are definitely making our own barbecue sauce), mixed with a little bit of water and cook the meat directly in that. The pork wouldn’t be covered in water, but we would use the recommended two cups of liquid, and I wouldn’t have to take the time to simmer and make my own sauce.

Perfect.

(Super Easy) Pulled Pork Recipe:

3 - 4 lbs pork butt (cut into chunks if needed)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup water
garlic powder, onion powder, paprika - to taste. About half a teaspoon
Buns for sandwiches

Step 1: Cut and Spice

Start by adding the spices to the pork once you've cut it into several pieces.

Pulled pork recipe - cut pork butt

Cut the pork butt into several pieces

Step 2: Brown

Then add the olive oil to the pan and brown each side well. After browned, the pork out to rest on a plate; add the garlic and onion to sauté, until they are just translucent. (I didn’t take the pieces out, and just added the onions and garlic directly on top of the meat; it was do-able but difficult to stir and get everything cooked. Although it’s a little inconvenient to remove the meat, I definitely recommend taking it out of the pan for this step).

pulled pork recipe - add onions and garlic

Brown onions and garlic after the pork, but you may want to remove the pork to have room.

Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients

Add 1 cup barbecue sauce and 1 cup water, and mix well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan and deglaze. The meat won’t be covered, but it should be sitting in a delicious barbecue sauce mixture. Add the meat back to the pressure cooker and lock the lid.

Step 4: Bring to pressure and cook for 60 minutes

Bring to 15 psi. Immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to maintain pressure, and set the timer for 1 hour. (I chose 1 hour instead of 40 minutes because I really wanted to make sure the meat would be falling apart fork tender and not cooked but still tough).

Pulled pork - pressure cooker locked

Pressure cooker locked and ready to go

Step 5: Natural release, Open and Rest

When the time is up remove the pressure cooker from all heat and follow the natural release method.  When equalized carefully open the lid and remove the meat setting it aside. It will be very fragile, so be careful when you try to move it. Cover with tin foil and let is cool for a little while to lock in the juices then using two forks shred the meat.

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork!

Step 6: Add some sauce and serve

Add back some of the sauce and juices from the pot and place a heaping portion on your favorite sandwich roll.

“Strong the sauce in this one truly is.” – Yoda

Pulled Pork Sandwich!

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Enjoy! And the best part is, you can cook this year round.

Humorous Pictures

How did your's come out?

Links:
Pressure Cooker Inspiration:
Pulled Pork: Pork Butt
Pulled Pork in a pressure cooker

Traditional method: pulled pork smoker recipe

About Pork Butts

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Thanks for reading.

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate." ~Julia Child  
Why learn pressure cooking?
It's 7 pm. The end of the work day stomach rumbles...

In one hand, a take out menu. In the other hand, the refrigerator door...its contents staring back almost as blankly as we are towards them. We want a homemade meal, but also want something quick and simple to make.
1. Simple and quick recipes requiring basic skills to become proficient in the kitchen.
2. Quality ingredients, not necessarily 100% organic, but meals without artificials and chemistry class additives.
3. To understand more of the story of our food and take small steps towards self-reliance.

It's true, there are many benefits to pressure cooking: the time savings, the taste, a small step towards self-reliance, sustainability... but the real benefit is in what we learn as we redefine our relationship with food. Good food can be fast. Good food can be easy.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Seaman November 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I love your site! So many people are scared to pressure cook but I’ve been doing it for years. I have a simple recipe for pulled pork that uses pork loin – the pressure makes it tender and pull apart juicy. Not as delicious as pork butt, but definitely a lot more lean. I’ll be posting it soon but I just wanted to drop you a note while I’m thinking about it!

Leslie November 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Can’t wait to see your recipe! We haven’t made pulled pork in a while, I think its about time again.

Trisha December 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Made the barbecued pulled pork…came out amazing, but next time gonna use more barbecue sauce in the recipe… Thanks :)

Steve March 5, 2012 at 1:11 am

In regard to cooking the pulled pork, can I apply the recipes from a slow cooker? Such as put the pork butt in dry with just the rub, and let the juices render out?

Leslie March 5, 2012 at 1:41 am

@Steve – you can use the rubs and other elements of the slow cooker recipes, but you will also need to add at least a little bit of liquid to the pressure cooker. You never want to bring a pressure cooker to pressure without liquid in it or the bottom will scorch. Since the meat takes so long in this recipe I’d recommend at least a cup of water or broth to factor in evaporation.

Peter March 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe. I made it tonight and it turned out great. Next time, however, I might reduce the left over liquids a bit, add a some flour, or increase the amount of BBQ sauce and add less water to get a thicker sauce in the end. Mine was a bit watery.

Zach April 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Another way to very easily make BBQ pulled pork is to can the ingredients in mason jars. When you get home from work, pull one out of your pantry, shred the pork like you normally would and heat it up in a skillet or even the microwave. Takes all of 5-10 minutes from pantry to table.

Mark April 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hi,

Thanks for the Pulled Pork in the pressure cooker recipe! I changed it up some. I did all that you did, except I added a “Rub” to the pork and instead of water, added wine and barbecue sauce. The wine not only adds subtle flavor but helps break down the meat so it’s even more tender. If that’s possible! ;-) I’ve gotten rave reviews from friends, neighbors and co-workers on this recipe!

Leslie May 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Thanks so much Mark! I’m really happy it turned out great. We love the recipe.

John June 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Another thing you can do to give it a smokey flavor is put a tablespoon of Liquid Smoke as well. Yum Yum

Steve McGinn August 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

This is a good recipe , I recommend browning the butt in an other pan its easier …. the key is the BBQ sause … make sure you get one that is “rich” in ingredients … and add a skosh more than a cup of it .don,t pull the pork apart too much or it can get stringy .
60 min is good cooking time … it will not be undercooked. Get some good Big fresh buns and go too it.

Nicole October 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm

This recipe and method was a huge success in my household! My husband and I loved it! Thank you:-)

My changes were: I pre-seasoned the pork with browning, meat seasoning, salt, pepper, onions, ginger, garlic, scallion and hot pepper and left it in the fridge overnight…then in the afternoon I did everything else in your video! It was done in 45 mins. Thank you, you really showed people not to be afraid of taking on heavy daunting cooking tasks, especially since I would label myself the ‘Queen of wingin it!’ LOL!

Georgia January 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I used this recipe with the pressure cooker I got for Christmas. I had never used a pressure cooker before and was quite nervous. I followed the recipe above and cooked it in the pressure cooker for 50 minutes. It was absolutely perfect. I reached in and pulled out a clean bone and immediately gave it to the dog. The meat was tender and flavorful. I would spice up the meat a little more next time as my friends said that it needed more spice. Thanks for the recipe, I really enjoyed making it!!!

Chad January 27, 2013 at 8:31 am

Trying something like it today. I have ALWAYS smoked my butts and will never stop, however my final step is to continue cooking them in a roaster for a few hours. Today, I’m doing a single butt and will try finishing it up in the P.C. A few tips from a BBQ guy, though – 1- Don’t ever cut the butt if you don’t have to. It’s worth the extra time, the fat cap melts into the butt and adds lots of good juice and flavor if you don’t cut it. 2 – to the guy up there that said something about liquid smoke, man that’s just morally wrong. if you want something to taste like smoke, you need fire. 3 – inject and rub. Shoot that baby up!! It cooks faster, and just stays so much more tender and juicy. 4- pull the fat off before you pull it. 5 – if you do a lot, check into a power pork puller. I made mine, but you can buy them online. goes on a power drill and shreds a properly cooked butt in seconds.

Gail March 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Loved this one!!! I bought my pressure cooker brand new and in the box at a church yard sale last summer. I promptly deposited it in the garage with the rest of my treasures, and there it sat until 2 weeks ago when I blew the dust off of it and pulled out the owners manual. Since that time I have used it every night and am now under the firm belief that I could probably benefit with some sort of “put down the pressure cooker therapy”. I am a junkie!!! Anyway just wanted to tell you that I love your site, as soon as I press the “submit” button I will be back looking for more of your yummy recipes. Loved this pork one!! Thanks again.
Gail

Sam Hunneman March 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Just made this with 2 pork tenderloins. Used a couple sliced cloves of garlic in the oil then removed ‘em. Browned it a lot and only pressure-cooked it for 40 minutes. VERY tender. Well received by husband, son & 3 large friends!

Christine April 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

The Pulled Pork came out great ! Only amendment was I used dry ginger ale instead of water, so it came out a bit sweeter. Will try adding some liquid smoke next time.

Arielle September 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

This sounds great! How many servings did you get out of this? I’m looking to adapt the recipe to make about 30-40 pulled pork sliders.

Ellis October 12, 2013 at 7:39 am

I cannot wait to make this today! Thanks for the tutorial.

Helina November 26, 2013 at 7:12 am

It is a awesome post for me but i don’t like it because i don’t have it. But after all recipe is great. Thank you.

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