One of the best things about the Instant Pot pressure cooker is that it makes certain meals super simple to deal with. It’s like a crock pot, but faster — toss in your ingredients, close it up, and come back when it’s done in an hour or less (usually).
The first question a lot of people ask when they’re gifted one of these things is, “What can I cook in it?” I’m here to tell ya, you can’t go wrong with some classic pulled pork to put on sandwiches and such. The kicker is that I use pork loin rather than shoulder or butt, which is anathema to some people but please, don’t knock it ’til you try it. It’s definitely a less fatty cut but still pulls apart just fine.
So, here’s how I make pulled pork in my Instant Pot.
What You’ll Need:
- Instant Pot
- Pair of tongs
- Cutting board for the prep process
- Mixing bowl (or other large container) for pulling pork in
- A fork or two for pulling the pork after cooking
- 1 small-ish pork loin — Exact weight isn’t too important, but 3.5 lb or less is what I aim for to feed myself, my wife, and our 6yo son, typically with leftovers to spare.
- Dry rub — See step #2 of instructions below.
- Cooking oil of your choice — I use olive oil.
- 2 cans chicken broth OR two bouillon cubes fully dissolved in 2 cups of hot water
- Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Your favorite BBQ sauce (optional but highly recommended)
- Buns to make sandwiches with (optional)
(For steps #1 and #2, your cutting board will come in handy.)
Before starting, you’ll probably want to cut your pork loin into two or three smaller pieces so it’ll fit into the Instant Pot well.
Coat the entire exterior of the pork loin with a dry rub of your choice. Options can include any one or combination of:
- A pre-made seasoning mix — I like this stuff.
- Brown sugar
- Salt & black pepper
- Garlic powder
- …and/or whatever else you like.
Press the “Sauté” button. After letting the Instant Pot heat up a minute or two (it really doesn’t take long), add a bit of cooking oil — you only need enough to lightly coat the bottom.
Put the pork loin into the pot and sear the meat well on all sides (typically takes a minute or two per side). No need to close the lid here, just stand by with your tongs and turn the meat as needed.
Pour in the chicken broth (or bouillon mixture), which will deglaze the pot and give the meat some juice to cook in. At this point, you may (optionally!) pour in a few splashes of worchestershire sauce and/or toss some extra seasonings in there. Up to you.
Put the lid on and make sure it’s securely locked in place (with the vent shut!), then switch the Instant Pot to “Manual” mode and set the timer for 60 minutes.
When the timer goes off, go ahead and carefully open the release valve (no “natural release” necessary) to let all the steam out. Take in that amazing smell.
When it’s safe to open the lid, use your tongs to move the meat to a large bowl or other container — don’t pour the cooking juices out just yet! — then use the tongs and a fork (or just two forks, if you find that more helpful) to shred the meat to your liking.
This is the point where you can decide to stir in some BBQ sauce, and/or some of the cooking juices from the pot if you find the meat is too dry for your tastes. Use however much or little of either thing as you like.
Time to serve! You can eat the pulled pork straight, put it on buns (I like the brioche ones from Aldi), make nachos or quesadillas with it…whatever you like!