Tender, flavorful Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork is perfect for pulled pork sandwiches with slaw. You’ll LOVE how quick and easy it is to make pulled pork in the Instant Pot!
I include my grape jelly BBQ sauce recipe to go with this pulled pork, but feel free to use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce for this one!
If you could choose only one meaty sandwich to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be??
For me, it would be these BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches served with coleslaw. Hands down.
Ever since I got my Instant Pot, we’ve been making pulled pork on the regular because it’s just SO EASY and comes out so perfectly tender every time. It’s also much faster than traditional shredded pork recipes that require hours of roasting in the oven.
The 8-quart instant pot is perfect for making recipes like this. If you’re on the fence about which one to get, or looking to get a second pot, then definitely go for the 8-quart one over the 6-quart.
When you pair tender shredded pork and a super flavorful, smoky, tangy, sweet, and sour barbecue sauce and add some cool, refreshing coleslaw on top, you’ve got sandwich heaven.
Ready to go to sandwich heaven? Let’s go!
Grape jelly BBQ sauce
This BBQ shredded pork is made with a homemade grape jelly BBQ sauce that is so good! It has all the right notes that a good barbecue sauce should have:
- Sweetness from grape jelly (this also adds a nice flavor that is not just sugary, and don’t worry, the BBQ sauce doesn’t taste like jelly)
- Tomato-ness from ketchup (is there a better word to describe that? haha)
- Smokiness from hickory liquid smoke – this is a MUST got a good smoky BBQ sauce
- Additional flavor from Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and a few seasonings
You simply mix all the ingredients together and it’s ready to be used for your pulled pork!
No time to bother with homemade BBQ sauce? Just use 2 cups of your favorite store-bought sauce. This pulled pork turns out fantastic either way.
How to make Instant Pot pulled pork
Start by cutting up your pork loin into 2-3 inch cubes. They don’t have to be perfect by any means!
Then hit the Saute button on your Instant Pot, add a bit of olive oil, and brown the cubed pork for a few minutes each on a few sides. Don’t worry if you can’t get all the sides – we just want a little bit of browned pork to add some savory flavor to this pulled pork. By the way, this is the reason I love my 8-quart Instant Pot – it has more surface area for browning and sauteing food!
Next, add a half a cup of water to the Instant Pot and about a cup of the grape jelly barbecue sauce (no need to measure, just add about half).
Close the lid, set the valve to sealing, and cook at high pressure on the manual setting for 40 minutes.
Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes, then manually release the pressure carefully using a kitchen towel to touch the valve so you don’t get burned.
Now you have two options. I love recipe options, it’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, but in the kitchen:
- Option 1: Turn the saute function on and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid in the Instant Pot thickens, stirring frequently to prevent burning and to shred the pork. Add additional BBQ sauce to taste, and then turn off the Instant Pot.
- Option 2: Remove the cooked pork from the Instant Pot, shred it with two forks, then stir in additional BBQ sauce to taste.
I prefer Option 1 because it makes a saucier, more flavorful pulled pork because you’re mixing in all the flavorful liquid released from cooking the pork. It takes a few minutes of sauteing time, but saves you the effort of shredding the pork, since it pretty much shreds itself while you stir.
The downside to Option 1 is that you do end up with a little more fat in the pulled pork because you are stirring it in. And it can also make pulled pork that is a little too saucy for sandwiches.
Your choice with which way to go on this one!!
Coleslaw and pulled pork
I typically make a pretty basic coleslaw to serve with BBQ pulled pork. I love how the cooling creamy flavor of coleslaw pairs with the zesty BBQ flavor of the pork.
I make my own quick coleslaw dressing with these ingredients:
- Water (to thin out the dressing)
- Lemon juice
- Fresh herbs (dill and/or parsley)
- Salt & pepper
Pro tip for making the best coleslaw: Massage the coleslaw mix (or chopped cabbage) with your hands to break it up a bit. You can do this right in the bag that the slaw mix comes in, or in a large bowl. This helps soften the cabbage a bit and take on the dressing better.
My mama taught me that one. 🙂
Leftovers, reheating, and freezing pulled pork
This recipe makes a large amount and you might have leftovers if you’re not cooking for a large family. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. Look below for serving ideas for leftover pulled pork so you’re not eating sandwiches 3 days in a row.
To reheat leftovers, simply microwave the pulled pork, or saute it in a skillet for a few minutes over medium heat (you might need to add a tiny bit of water so it doesn’t get too dry). Keep the heat on low and stir frequently
To freeze pulled pork, let it cool completely, then transfer in 2-4 serving portions to a freezer safe storage bag or container. I prefer the storage bags because you can lay them flat to freeze, then stack them upright to save space in the freezer. They also thaw faster because they’re thin.
To thaw pulled pork, simply take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw in the fridge. Then reheat using the instructions above.
How else can I serve pulled pork other than sandwiches?
- In a sweet potato pulled pork hash (this is one of our FAVORITE dinner recipes)
- In tacos
- In a pulled pork black bean quesadilla
- Over a baked potato
- On a pizza (I made a pulled pork pizza with asparagus that sounds like a strange combination, but it works well together!)
- Over rice with some slaw on the side
- With a side of coleslaw orzo salad for a refreshing summer meal
Other saucy meaty recipes you will love:
- Instant Pot BBQ pulled chicken – one of the most popular recipes on Babaganosh, everyone who tries it LOVES it!
- Instant Pot Buffalo chicken
- Creamy pork chops with mushrooms
- Oven baked BBQ chicken
- Creamy sun-dried tomato chicken thighs
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don’t forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork with Slaw
- 2 lb pork loin diced into 2-3 inch cubes
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup water
For the BBQ sauce (or use 2 cups store-bought BBQ sauce)
- 1 cup grape jelly
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or use regular, white wine, or red wine vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoons chili powder or more to taste, for spice
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- 1 lb coleslaw mix (1 package, or about 4 cups slaw / thinly sliced cabbage)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from ½ lemon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill or parsley (or ½ tablespoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper or to taste
Make the pulled pork
- Combine all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a bowl and mix well. Or use 2 cups of store-bought BBQ sauce.
- Turn the Instant Pot on to the sauté mode. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the cubed pork for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Flip the cubed pork and sauté on the other side for 2-3 minutes. It’s ok if the pork is not seared all around!
- Cancel the sauté mode. Stir the cubed pork to make sure it is not stuck to the bottom of the pot - this will make sure you don't get the 'burn' notice. Add ½ cup water and top the pork with 1 cup of the barbecue sauce (about half - no need to measure).
- Close the lid and set the valve to sealing. Cook the pork on the manual setting at high pressure for 40 minutes. Naturally release pressure for 10-15 minutes, then manually release the rest.
- Optional step: For even more flavor, leave the cooked pork in the pot, turn the pot on to sauté mode and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened to your liking. Stir in additional barbecue sauce, to taste. Bonus: The stirring will help break up the pork so you don't need to shred it as much!
- Remove the cooked pork from the Instant Pot, shred the pork with two forks and stir in the rest of the barbecue sauce (or to taste).
Make the coleslaw and serve
- Pro tip for making coleslaw: Place the slaw mix in a large bowl and massage it and squeeze it with your hands to soften it. It will take on the dressing better!
- Combine all the ingredients for the coleslaw dressing and mix well. Add the slaw mix and stir together. Serve with pulled pork in sandwiches, or chill until serving.
- Use store-bought BBQ sauce
- Skip the step where you brown the cubed pork
- Skip the optional step of reducing the BBQ sauce after the pork has cooked - just remove the pork from the Instant Pot, shred, and add additional BBQ sauce