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Spicy Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Alright, I caved. I got an Instant Pot. Well, kind of. I was asked to develop a bunch of Instant Pot recipes for work which, of course, meant I was kind of forced to get one. So here we are, my very first Instant Pot meal for this blog, so I figured we would all get started with some spicy Instant Pot BBQ pulled pork. Why? Because I had a theory I needed to prove.

bbq pulled pork sandwich
bbq pulled pork sandwiches with sauce

You see, the reason I was so skeptical of getting an Instant Pot was because I didn’t believe the hype. I think there are a lot of kitchen appliances out there that are over hyped that I don’t see a need to get, like juicers. Sorry to those who really love to juice things.

The thing is, I saw no need for an Instant Pot if I have a slow cooker. Sure, a slow cooker takes more time, but why would I want something to cook quickly when cooking slowly really does make food taste better? It seemed pointless, so I waited for such a long time before giving it a try myself.


Until, of course, the work assignment where I was asked to make Instant Pot recipes, so here we are. I now have an Instant Pot on hand and, to my amazement (disappointment? utter astonishment?), I was proven wrong. Instant Pots are apparently worth all of the hype they deserve.

Why? Because here’s the thing…Instant Pot meals are almost as good as slow cooker meals in terms of quality, and they cook in almost a quarter to an eighth of the amount of time. For example, I could have slow-cooked this pulled pork in my Instant Pot for 8 hours and it would have been phenomenal. But instead, it took me 1 hour to make Instant Pot pulled pork from start to finish, and the quality was just as good.

I know all of your Instant Pot skeptics aren’t going to believe me, I get it. I was obviously there, too. But I promise you if you grab an Instant Pot yourself and try this recipe, you really aren’t going to be disappointed.

instant pot with spicy pulled pork
building a bbq pulled pork sandwich

My bun preference and sandwich toppings

Now the following recipe only makes the Instant Pot BBQ pulled pork. As you can see, I pictured it with toppings, so I thought I would make a note.


For pulled pork, I prefer sesame seed or potato buns. Obviously grab what you can get, but these are my personal preference. Plus, if you grab sesame seed buns, you can make burgers later in the week.

To make coleslaw, simply do this: go to the deli counter and order some coleslaw. Seriously, why bother getting the ingredients to make a huge batch of your own that you probably won’t finish, when the deli counter likely has some already made? Just save yourself the time.

I also like adding pickles to my BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, preferably bread and butter pickles. But if it’s just a sour pickle, I’ll take what I can get.

Easy sides for your sandwich

Here are a few sides that you can make to round out your meal.

What other Instant Pot recipes should I make? Let me know in the comments, shoot me an email, or send me a DM. Seriously, I’m always open for suggestions.

spicy pulled ork sandwich with cole slaw

Spicy Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Prep a few pounds of this BBQ pulled pork for the week for easy salads and sandwiches.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch
Keyword: bbq pulled pork, instant pot, pulled pork

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (or pressure cooker)

Ingredients

  • 4 lb. pork loin or butt
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup broth vegetable, chicken, or beef
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Trim some of the fat off the pork, then chop the pork up into four smaller chunks. If the bone is still in the pork, that is fine. You can cook it with the bone.
  • Mix together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  • Rub the mixture on all sides of the pork. Let it sit with the dry rub for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the Instant Pot onto the Sauté feature. Once it is hot, add in a bit of cooking oil (olive oil or canola oil) to it and place two of the chunks of pork.
  • Sear on each side for 3 minutes, flipping with a pair of tongs. Remove the two pork chunks and repeat again with the other two. You may need to scrape up the burnt pork bits on the bottom with some extra oil and a wooden spoon.
  • While cooking, mix together the BBQ sauce, hot sauce, broth, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Move all of the seared pork chunks to the Instant Pot, then pour in the sauce.
  • Seal the lid and switch the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook/Manual. Set the timer for 50 minutes. The Instant Pot will take some time to come to pressure, then the timer will start.
  • When the timer goes off, instantly release the pressure. Make sure the Instant Pot isn't under a shallow counter, the steam will need space! For your safety, press the seal with a wooden spoon to avoid burns.
  • Once the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and turn off the Instant Pot. Using tongs, move the pork to a cutting board or shallow bowl to shred the pork with two forks. Remove any bones at this time.
  • Move the shredded pork back to the sauce and mix. Serve on toasted sesame buns with coleslaw and extra BBQ sauce.

Notes

For a spicier sauce, add in less BBQ sauce and more hot sauce. For example, add in 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce and 3/4 cup of hot sauce. 

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