All-American Pulled Pork
By :Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
Here’s our standard recipe for pulled pork. We use smoked paprika to give the meat that characteristic “smoker” flavor, rather than a bottled barbecue sauce that can end up too sweet. Even without burnt ends, the flavor will be intense and sweet. Remove any big fatty blobs from the pork so that the sauce is not too greasy.
Votes: 63
Rating: 4.27
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Course Main Course
Cuisine Modern
Difficulty Easy
Browse Category Kid-Friendly, Meat
Duration 1-2 hours
Main Ingredient Pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
8 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 2 tbsp mild smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp standard chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground dried mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut in half and any large chunks of fat removed
Course Main Course
Cuisine Modern
Difficulty Easy
Browse Category Kid-Friendly, Meat
Duration 1-2 hours
Main Ingredient Pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
8 servings
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 2 tbsp mild smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp standard chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground dried mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut in half and any large chunks of fat removed
Votes: 63
Rating: 4.27
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
  1. Pour the cider into cooker. Mix the smoked paprika, brown sugar, chile powder, dried mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pat and rub this mixture all over the pork. Set the meat in the cooker and lock the lid onto the pot.
  2. Option 1 - Max Pressure Cooker  
    Set the cooker to 'Pressure Cooker', on MAX level and set for 1 hour with the Keep Warm setting off.
  3. Option 2 - All Pressure Cookers  
    Set the cooker to 'Meat/Stew or Pressure Cook (Manual)' on High pressure for 1 hour and 20 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
  4. Option 3 - Slow Cook Option  
    Set the cooker to 'Slow Cook' on High for 5 hours with the Keep Warm setting off. (or on for no more than 4 hours)
  5. If you’ve used a pressure setting, once the machine has finished cooking, turn it off and allow its pressure to return to normal naturally, about 30 minutes.
  6. Unlatch the lid ad open the pot. Use a meat fork and a large, slotted spoon or a large spatula to transfer the pork to a nearby cutting board (or transfer hunks of the pork, should the thing come apart). Use a flatware tablespoon to skim any excess surface fat from the sauce.
  7. Press Saute and set the time for 10 minutes.
  8. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring a few times. Cook until the sauce has reduced to about half its volume, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the meat with two forks. When the sauce has reduced to the right consistency, turn off the SAUTE function and stir the shredded meat into the sauce in the pot. Set aside for 5 minutes with the lid on top but askew to blend the flavors and let the meat further absorb the sauce.
Recipe Notes

• We prefer this pulled pork in slider buns, topped with lots of coleslaw.
• We also like it next to scrambled eggs for a weekend brunch.

78 replies
  1. ChrisLVey
    ChrisLVey says:

    Great recipie! Easy to make my only suggestion is to add some apple butter bbq sauce on the bun and it is perfect!

  2. Bex77
    Bex77 says:

    Easy way to cook pulled pork!! Needs more spice added to the rub. Sauteing the sauce needs more sugar or honey so it caramilses, other than that its great!!

  3. Rmizzell
    Rmizzell says:

    The meat was so tender, the flavor was amazing. The only downside was the sauce in the pot left from cooking was very acidic so we used our own bbq sauce.

  4. george_v
    george_v says:

    Loved it so much! There was a lot of juice, though. Took me more than 20 minutes of sautéing on high to reduce the excessive liquid. But! The result was “oh, my…”
    We’ll make it every week!

  5. ansimpson83
    ansimpson83 says:

    Whole family loved it!! No bbq sauce needed!! So great with slaw!!! Meat was super moist and so flavorful, def my new go to for pulled pork, maybe even gonna try chicken deer and beef with this recipe!!!

  6. Amynutrition79
    Amynutrition79 says:

    I had only a frozen roast that i slow cooked with rack, some water ok the bottom and some jar bbq poured ok top of meat for 4.5 hours then pressure cooked it without rack for 20 mintues with some more sauce and some of the recipe spices. Did the reduction of the sauce at the end and everything cooked perfectly! Just wrote this review to give you an idea of what to do if only frozen roast

  7. Evanegdom
    Evanegdom says:

    The apple cider vinegar caused it to be quite acidic so I didn’t end up using the liquid as sauce and used BBQ sauce instead. It sat for about 2 hours before we got home and ate so this may have played a factor. Will definitely make again – the meat was very tender and the flavor with our favorite BBQ sauce was awesome.

  8. periopnurse1
    periopnurse1 says:

    So good! The spices were right on and even my pickiest eater loved this dish. We ate this on the buns, as suggested, and are looking forward to nachos the next time we do this! YUM!!

  9. Recman26
    Recman26 says:

    I thought the sauce was smokey yet not very flavorful. It could have been just a bit sweeter despite using the Hawaiian rolls.

  10. CarolC82
    CarolC82 says:

    My youngest daughter is very picky. She was literally eating this straight from the pot. I will continue to make this! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Ginacapcod
    Ginacapcod says:

    Got the pork at Fresh Market and made the recipie last night. It was easy and delicious and i recommend it. I cut fat off before I cooked I and got more off, easily, after cooking it. The pulled pork was raved about by all!

  12. Kook with Keith
    Kook with Keith says:

    It was good. I would try it again. Maybe add a bit of bbq sauce to it. I liked it but it felt like it was missing something

  13. Cashmere59
    Cashmere59 says:

    I havent madw this yet but reading the reviews. One said apple cider vinegar was too acidic. Recipe calls for apple cider, not vinegar.

  14. Movingtroll
    Movingtroll says:

    Yum! A big hit with the family. At the end when I boiled down the sauce, I added some honey and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce.

  15. lucky9lives7
    lucky9lives7 says:

    Way too apple cider vinegar flavor for me. My daughter wouldn’t eat it, husband ate it smothered in sweet bbq sauce. A real bummer, this took some time to prepare and im a bit dissapointed.

  16. Marlene99
    Marlene99 says:

    This was great! Was ready to make this and didn’t have Apple Cider. So I mixed Apple Cider Vinegar, Apple Juice, a little water & BQ Sauce; then adjusted as I TASTED it. Didn’t notice until I read Reviews that recipe called for Apple Cider (not the vinegar). Used “Pressure Cooker Option”. WOW Meat was moist and flavorable. We like vinegar-based BQ sauce. Thanks for publishing this recipe.

  17. Milesas
    Milesas says:

    Felt like this had no flavor? Maybe its becaise I couldnt find apple cider and just used apple juice? My husband liked it though! I probably would not make this recipe again.

  18. Milesas
    Milesas says:

    Had a hard time getting my sauce to boil down so we added flour. Maybe thatsbwhy it felt like it didnt have much flavor.

  19. Kzack14
    Kzack14 says:

    Cooked this in the instant pot mini, following the pressure cook method. Meat was very tender and juicy. Flavor wasn’t the best and very strong/overbearing for me. Decent meal.

  20. Tosh Tipton
    Tosh Tipton says:

    Made this tonight in 2 batches- as I had a 6 lb. pork roast. As many said – the meat was super tender and flavor was not overwhelming. As I didn’t have cider, the liquid was apple juice… but I tried to simmer /reduce it on the stove after the end of the cooking as it was far from a sauce. We used BBQ sauce and mustard on sweet Hawaiian rolls!! 🙂

  21. Instant Pot
    Instant Pot says:

    You can do both. This recipe recommends not using the trivet and to place the pork directly in the apple cider. .

  22. says:

    Loved it! I loved the sweetness from the apple cider and just enough barbecue flavor. We added just a very small amount of barbecue sauce at the end. I don’t like pulled pork that is totally sauce overdone.

  23. rjcook1980
    rjcook1980 says:

    Says total time 1 hr 10 mins. After completely done it took over 2 hrs. Lets just say, dinner was an hour late and we were starving by the time we were sitting down to eat.

  24. rjcook1980
    rjcook1980 says:

    It says total time 1 hr 10 mins. After completely done it took over 2 hrs. Lets just say, dinner was an hour late and we were starving by the time we were sitting down to eat. My kids and husband did eat it and likes it so that’s the only reason i give it 3 Stars. I will probably make it again but not on a weekday when I won’t have 2 hours to make it.

  25. Chris Dillard
    Chris Dillard says:

    I added the same apple wood seasoning that i use to smoke a butt to mine, flavor is awesome

  26. andieb102
    andieb102 says:

    Flavor is lacking. It took way linger than 1hour 10 mins. Needed BBQ sauce at the end. I doubt ill make it again.

  27. Bressler6515
    Bressler6515 says:

    Recipe is very misleading. Says cooktime is 1 hour total time 1 hour 10 min, but with anything other than a max pressure cooker it has to cook for an hour and 20 min then naturally pressure release for 30 min then a few other steps.

  28. Instant Pot
    Instant Pot says:

    Hi Bressler6515,

    Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry you found it misleading as we are only able to show 1 overall cook time. This recipe has three different ways of making it depending on your model.

  29. Patti
    Patti says:

    I am a diabetic and need to know nutritional values of the food I eat, especially the carbohydrate count per serving. Please post on your recipes. Thanks

  30. Instant Pot
    Instant Pot says:

    Hi Patti,

    Thank you for the feedback.

    We only have the nutritional values for certain recipes if they were provided to us.

    Even the ones we have on our site are not exact as the nutritional values are estimates and can vary depending on the brand of ingredients you choose.

    There are sites that can help make estimates.

  31. njlyles7
    njlyles7 says:

    As an Instant Pot newbie I was confused by the instructions. When Option 1 mentioned Max Pressure I didn’t realize until too late that it was a reference for a type of Instant Pot. I have the Duo 60 so U fall into Iption 2. Also if you are lazy like me and don’t want to skim fat it will take longer to reduce the sauce. That being said it came out quite tasty but yes it took about two hours. Hope this helps.

  32. lisajoy63
    lisajoy63 says:

    Tasty & easy.
    Everything went well with the recipe so i will definitely use it again. I used Option 1.

  33. gallapa
    gallapa says:

    Delicious flavour. Meat was tender and moist. Not saucy like most pulled porks but that didn’t matter.

  34. says:

    For my taste, it wasn’t sweet enough. The smokey paprika did that trick, but personally (I know I am picky) I like more sauce and sweeter. I wont be making it again without some adjustments to ingredients.

  35. Smithca73
    Smithca73 says:

    Not as sweet as some pulled pork (a good thing). Agree w comments that the sauce didnt seem to want to thicken… even added a bit of cornstarch. Was still very tasty- would make again for sure!

  36. judyindaskyz
    judyindaskyz says:

    Should I have used the rack or just put the neat directly into the pot? I used the rack and the meat was kinda hard to shred.

  37. nmm1958
    nmm1958 says:

    Um…OOPS….for some reason my brain read Apple Cider vinegar. I questioned that and then when the whole kitchen smelled of vinegar I knew it was gonna be bad. I had a huge chunk of pork shoulder that I cut in two pieces and this only affected the smaller chunk. But all was not lost. I made the second chunk with just water. I didn’t want all the pork with one flavor. I cooked both pieces for 1.5 hrs and let it natural release for an hour. It was Sunday and I had the whole day to do this and was not in a hurry. SO, the little vinegary hunk turned out fine after I smothered it is sauce.I didn’t even need a fork to shred, I could literally do it with my fingers. It is moist and delish! I love that I didn’t have to brown it first as in other recipes. In fact there are a bunch or recipes out there that say don’t bother browning. I think I will never brown meat again! I might change up the rub for future use as I like to experiment. This recipe was a winner despite my mistake!

  38. Paquette311
    Paquette311 says:

    I made this, but used McCormick Pulled BBQ seasoning which called for cider vinegar, ketchup, and brown sugar. Delish!

  39. Nnovosel
    Nnovosel says:

    It was easy to make and pretty yummy. It was not the best I have ever had but I looked for recipes starting at 5pm and had shopping and dinner ready by 7pm. No complaints.

  40. Studio316
    Studio316 says:

    First time ever making pulled pork. We’ve had the instant pit for a few weeks now and LOVE the great recipes on this app!!

  41. Teresa Stanley
    Teresa Stanley says:

    After an hour and 20 min and then sit time to release in my Duo, my pork butt was still very tough. The flavor was good on the outer pieces but not sure whether the inside was not cooked enough or the whole thing was overcooked??

  42. Perrdom
    Perrdom says:

    My very first crack at using an instant pot. I was very nervous about trying this but we LOVED IT. My wife even went for seconds. An “instant” success. Will definitely make this recipe again.

  43. vzitella
    vzitella says:

    Definitely the best pulled pork I have ever tasted!!!
    And the easiest to make!!!
    Thank you for this recipe.

  44. celebjock89
    celebjock89 says:

    This was pretty good. The pork shoulder cooked perfectly on the meat/stew setting for 80 minutes. It was super tender and pretty flavorful. I added twice as much brown sugar due to some of the other comments for this recipe but it still was more spicy than sweet. Next time I’m going to halve the amount of chili pepper and paprika and triple the brown sugar and see what I think then. Overall, a very quick and delicious recipe though.

  45. mbravo101
    mbravo101 says:

    Absolutely delicious!! Very easy to make, it cooked perfectly in 1 hr and 20 min. The whole family loved it .

  46. Gene
    Gene says:

    Made a pork broth with the trimmings as I smoked the tenderloin on the grill. Seasoned with smoked sea salt, smoked paprika, smoked chilli powder, and chipotle powder….along with the seasonings in the recipe. Used apple juice rather than cider. Cooked pork in broth, then pulled and slow cooked again an hour. Twas AWESOME!!! Will make again.

  47. Pinky4141
    Pinky4141 says:

    Too much vinegar! Wound up not using the gravy but put some BBQ sauce on the meat and it did the trick.

  48. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    Unfortunately the pork burned on the bottom of the pot, so the instant pot never came to pressure, so the whole thing just burned and was kind of ruined. Be careful with how you lay your food in the pot

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.