This is the best, and the fastest, pulled pork I’ve ever made. And it truly is a No Sauce Pulled Pork. Sometimes people say “no sauce”, but you still end up putting some sauce on it. Not here. When you pressure cook pulled pork in a sauce-like cooking liquid, it stays moist and flavorful, and is still fall apart tender. Read on to find out how to make it in your own Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot….
How to Make Pulled Pork in a Pressure Cooker
One big difference over using a slow cooker for pulled pork is that you don’t want to put the pork shoulder in whole for cooking. If you’re cooking for 8 hours, it’ll fall apart. When you’re cooking for under an hour, you will need to help puled pork along a bit.
Now, there are recipes that call for cooking a whole pork shoulder in a pressure cooker. While that’s an easy pulled pork recipe, it will usually take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half of pressure cooking time. I’ve done it this way, and it’s good, but I still thought the meat was too chewy.
So I experimented with slicing the pork shoulder into two inch cubes before putting it in the pressure cooker. This let me cut the cooking time in the pressure cooker down to 45 minutes.
Doing it this way makes amazingly tender pulled pork.
How to Shred Pulled Pork
After the pork shoulder has cooked and transferred to a bowl, you’ll be ready to shred it up. I’ve found that a pasta fork is the best tool to do the shredding. Especially a plastic one that won’t scrape up your bowl like a regular for can.
How to Make Pulled Pork without Barbecue Sauce
I’ve made pulled pork in a pressure cooker many, many times. And my usual pressure cooker pulled pork recipe involves cooking the pork shoulder in the steamer basked above the water. While it’s pretty good, after recently making braised short ribs in the pressure cooker, where they braised in beef stock and red wine, I wondered if I could do the same for pulled pork?
In my other pulled pork recipe, I make a cider based barbecue sauce to add to the pulled pork after it cooks. So my hypothesis was that I could make a No Sauce Pulled Pork if I incorporated those same flavors into the cooking liquid. It would also let me add more Liquid Smoke. Adding Liquid Smoke to the cooking liquid gets this much closed to the flavors you get from a smoked pulled pork without needing to put it in a smoker.
Making this a Low Sodium and a Low Sugar Pulled Pork Recipe
Take a look the ingredients of most commercial bbq sauces and you’ll see a shockingly high amount of sugar and sodium. That’s one of the big advantages of this No Sauce Pulled Pork Recipe….you can avoid the bottled sauce and it uses a lower sodium rub for the pork shoulder.
In both my Texas Two Step Ribs and Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket, I’ve experimented with cutting the amount of salt way back and used low sodium rubs. Unless you are a total Salt Monster, you won’t miss much.
And our kids agree, this really is the best pressure cooker pulled pork I’ve made so far.
Make amazing pulled pork that doesn’t need sauce in your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
- 4 Pounds Pork Shoulder
- 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Garlic
- 3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Dry Mustard
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 2 Cups Water
- 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
- 1 Tablespoon Pulled Pork Dry Rub
- 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
Mix all of the dry rub ingredients together in a food processor and run for about 30 seconds. (You’ll have some leftover)
Slice up the pulled pork shoulder into cubes approximately 1-2 inches on each side and place in a large mixing bowl. Coat them with the rub and let it rest for up to an hour
Whisk together all of the cooking liquid ingredients into your Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot and bring it to a low boil
Carefully add all of the pork and ensure that it is mostly submerged.
Seal the vessel, raise the temperature and pressure cook for 50 minutes.
After releasing, scoop out the pork into a bowl, leaving the cooking liquid behind. Use two large forks to pull the pork