• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Remaining ingredients:

  • 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder/pork butt*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (plus more for serving)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 8 burger buns (for serving, toasted if desired)


1In a small bowl, stir together all spice rub ingredients until well combined.


2Cut the pork into 4 pieces and trim off excess fat. Rub the pork on all sides with the spice rub.


3Pour olive oil into Instant Pot insert and turn it on saute mode. When the pot is hot, place the pork in the Instant Pot and brown on all sides. You may need to do this in two batches. Transfer the browned pork to a clean plate.

4Turn off Instant Pot. Pour about half of the chicken broth into the pot and use a rubber spatula to scrape up any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the broth, the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey (or brown sugar). Stir to combine.

5Return the pork to the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure for 60 minutes.

6The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to pressurize and then the cook time will begin. When the cook time is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes (just leave the Instant Pot alone). Then, quick release any remaining pressure by carefully turning the steam release valve to the venting position (use either the handle of a long spoon or a potholder to turn the valve).

7Transfer pork to a large bowl.


8In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water until dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce in the Instant Pot. Turn the Instant Pot on saute and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot.

9Meanwhile, use two forks to shred the pork. Stir it back into the thickened sauce. Serve pork on burger buns topped with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.



  • To make this recipe using pork tenderloin, reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes at high pressure. You do not need to cut the tenderloin into smaller pieces.
  • Leftover pulled pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove, with some of the sauce, or in the microwave.
  • To freeze pulled pork: Freeze the meat in some of the sauce, sealed airtight, in a container that is just big enough for the pork and sauce. If there is too much air space around the meat it is more likely to get freezer burn. Pork may be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost the pulled pork overnight in the refrigerator and then gently warm the pork and sauce together, covered, in a saucepan over low heat.