Carolina Style Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

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It's time once again for the monthly Taste Creations blog hop!  Our theme this month is crock pot or instant pot recipes, and I made carolina style pulled pork in my Instant Pot.

Carolina style pulled pork piled on the base of a hamburger bun, with the top of the hamburger bun beside it, aside a small dish of coleslaw.

I love pretty much any kind of BBQ and pulled pork, and am lucky to have some amazing BBQ restaurants near me.  But I'm also lucky enough to have a friend who shared her awesome recipe for Carolina style pulled pork for the crock pot, and I happen to have a pretty new Instant Pot pressure cooker, so I decided to adapt the recipe for the Instant Pot.  Of course, nothing beats low-and slow cooked pulled pork like Big Green Egg pulled pork, but when you're in a rush, this Instant Pot version is amazing!

Carolina style pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw and on a sesame seed bun, on a wooden cutting board with a black chalkboard backdrop.

And oh man, did it ever work well.  I LOVE that vinegar-and-mustard-based Carolina pork BBQ so much!  I also love the region's penchant for putting the coleslaw on the pulled pork sandwich.  A good vinegar cole slaw is absolutely delicious on a pork sandwich!

Carolina Pulled Pork rub ingredients including salt, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, and mustard, all sitting on a wooden cutting board.

It all starts with a rub.

Instant Pot Carolina Pulled Pork Rub:

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard (can also use 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder)

Combine the rub ingredients and rub on your favored cut of pork.  I used pork shoulder, because everyone says you should use pork shoulder and the fat will just magically melt away and I decided to give it a try.  For the record, everyone lies.  It was delicious, yes, but I had to pick apart the meat from the fat with surgical precision to get it to my liking after it was cooked.

I spared you a picture of the raw meat slathered in the rub, because it just wasn't photogenic.  Making raw meat appealing is beyond my photo styling skills.

Liquid cooking ingredients for Carolina Pulled Pork, including apple cider, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and an onion, displayed on a wooden cutting board.

Instant Pots (or other pressure cookers) need liquid to come up to pressure and cook properly.  This was my mixture in the bottom of the pot:

Instant Pot Carolina Pulled Pork Cooking Liquid Ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks

Put the chunks of onion and liquids in the bottom of the instant pot.  Layer the rub-covered pork on top.  Seal the lid, and cook on high pressure on the manual setting for 60 minutes.  Let the meat do a natural pressure release.  (I will never call it NPR, because that is, forever and always, going to mean National Public Radio to me.)

Glass bowl full of shredded pulled pork cooked with Carolina style flavorings.

After the meat is cooked and the pressure released, pull out the meat and shred it.  It did fall apart like magic, I have to say.  But I had SO MUCH FAT to pick out.  I'm very picky about fat, and can't stand running into any in my pulled pork, so it was a tedious thing shredding the pork.  I'm going back to using a pork loin after this.  I don't care if it's a bit dry.  That's what BBQ sauce is for.  I used Trader Joe's Carolina Gold BBQ sauce for this meal, but you can easily make homemade Carolina gold BBQ sauce, too.

Carolina style pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw and on a sesame seed bun, on a wooden cutting board with a black chalkboard backdrop.

But I have to admit that my finished Carolina pulled pork sandwich was amazingly delicious.  I'm definitely going to be using my Instant Pot to be making pulled pork again soon.

If you're looking for other easy, amazing pork recipes, check out this delicious crockpot carnitas recipe.

Printable, One Page Instant Pot Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe:

Want a free printable, one page version of the recipe?  Here you go:

Other Crock Pot and Instant Pot Recipes from the Taste Creations Blog Hop:

Ready for some other fabulous and comforting crock pot and Instant Pot recipes?  Follow my Instant Pot Recipes Pinterest page, and check out the other fabulous recipes from my blogger friends in this blog hop:

Our Good Life: Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Chili

Mom Home Guide: Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

Other Instant Pot Recipes You Might Like:

navigational image directing readers to Mexican shredded beef burrito bowl recipe.

navigational image directing readers to recipe for no bean Instant Pot chili

Navigational image leading reader to Instant Pot Indian spiced spinach rice recipe.

Other BBQ Recipes You Might Like:

navigational image leading reader to cherry BBQ sauce recipe.

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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