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Instant Pot Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Traditional, slow-cooked pulled pork can take up to 8 hours to cook, but when you use the saute setting, you'll be able to produce this juicy, fork-tender batch in just under two hours.


  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika

  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • One 4-pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 6 pieces 

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 12 hamburger potato buns

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, for serving

  • 4 cups coleslaw, for serving 


Special equipment: an Instant Pot® multi-cooker

Combine paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork.

Turn the Instant Pot® (see Cook's Note) to the high saute setting. Add the oil and once hot, add the pork and cook in two batches, turning, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Switch the Instant Pot® to the warm setting, remove the pork and transfer to a plate. 

Whisk 3/4 cup water into the drippings in the Instant Pot®. Add the vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 cups water and whisk to combine. Add the pork back. Follow the manufacturer's guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 1 hour. 

After the pressure cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid and transfer the pork to a large bowl. 

Switch the Instant Pot® to the normal saute setting and simmer the juices until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. While the juices are reducing use a ladle to remove any fat that rises to the top. Season to taste with salt. 

Meanwhile, use 2 forks to shred the pork in to small chunks. 

Add 3 cups of the reduced cooking liquid to the chunked pork and season with salt and vinegar to taste. Serve in hamburger buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.


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