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Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Cola

instant pot pulled pork recipe

Instant pot pulled pork is almost as good as the real thing. Pork shoulder cooked low and slow in a smoker over hardwood is one of the best things in the world to eat. The only problem is that you have to fire up the old stick burner and labor over the smoke for several hours, but it’s so worth it.

I’m becoming more and more impressed with how well the instant pot turns out food. It was very simple and the pork shoulder cooked up in less than an hour. The finished product was pulled pork that was fork-tender and juicy.

I’ve heard so many of my friends rave about pressure cooker pulled pork, and I just had to try it for myself. Needless to say, they were right. This recipe is a bbq style instant pot pulled pork with Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce. You can use any bbq sauce, but Sweet Baby Ray’s makes it so good.

I also added liquid smoked to give it an added smokey flavor that’s similar to pulled pork cooked on a pit.  There are many ways to cook pulled pork and there are a couple of cuts of meat to use.

What’s the best meat for pulled pork?

There is no doubt that pork shoulder makes the best pulled pork.  There are some who use pork loin, but it’s nowhere as tender or juicy as using a pork shoulder or picnic roast.

best meat for pulled pork

I’ve been smoking meats for years and the average pit master prefers a bone-in pork shoulder for making pulled pork.  The pork loin is leaner and will be drier.  The best way to smoke a pork loin is to leave it whole and smoke it low and slow until it reaches a temp of around 140-145.  Wrap it in foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

Dr. Pepper vs Root Beer vs Cola Instant Pot pulled pork

To be honest, you can’t go wrong with either.  I’ve tasted all three and have to admit that Dr. Pepper pulled pork is the better of the three.  Root beer instant pot pulled pork tastes very similar to using coke or Pepsi.  For this recipe, I used a mini can of Pepsi.  I’ve even heard that Dr. Pepper cherry also makes a really good pressure cooker pulled pork.

How to keep  pulled pork moist

So many people complain about their pulled pork drying out.  There are several ways to keep your pulled pork moist.  I always keep some of the liquid that’s left over after the pulled pork is done.  Pour that liquid over the pork after you shred it.  Another way to keep the pulled pork moist is to not pull it all.  Leave the pork in chunks and pull it as you need it.

How long does it take to cook instant pot pulled pork?

It takes less than an hour.  The whole prep and cook time can be done in around 60 minutes.  It takes no time to cut a 4-5 lb. pork shoulder in a few chunks and get the meat and ingredients in the pressure cooker.  The Instant Pot will take several minutes to build pressure and then there’s the cooking time, and letting the pressure cooker do a natural release takes some time.

best instant pot pulled pork - Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce

What to serve with Instant Pot pulled pork?

For the bbq style pulled pork made in a pressure cooker, I serve typical bbq sides with it like slaw, beans, and potato salad.  My favorite style of pulled pork is without bbq sauce and served like an old-fashioned hot sandwich.  Put the pork in between two pieces of bread and cut it in half.  Put some mashed potatoes in the middle and cover the whole thing with brown gravy.  Hot pork, hot beef, and hot turkey sandwich plates are so good.

How to make Instant Pot pulled pork?

It’s so easy to make but it tastes as if it cooked for hours.  This pulled pork recipe took a little longer because I let it marinate in liquid smoke and bbq rub in the refrigerator before cooking.  After the shoulder sat in the refrigerator for a few hours, I put it straight in the Instant Pot with the cola and that was it.

instant pot pulled pork recipe

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Tasty Instant Pot pulled pork makes great sandwiches
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • Instant Pot


  • 4-5 lb. pork butt roast
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup bbq rub
  • 1 bottle bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup cola


  • Start by cutting your pork shoulder into 4 pieces.
  • In a large bowl add the meat and pour the liquid smoke over the pork
  • Coat all sides with the smoke and do the same with the bbq rub making sure to coat all pieces with the liquid smoke and bbq rub.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours
  • Put the meat in the Instant Pot along with the cola and pressure cook for 45 minutes. Let the Instant Pot naturally release for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the meat from the pressure cooker and let it cool. After it's cooled a bit shred with a fork. Reserve some of the liquid to pour over the pulled pork.


You don't have to shred it all. Not shredding or pulling the pork until ready to use will keep it moist. Either way, keep some of the liquid to mix into the pulled pork.
Keyword bbq, easy sandwich ideas, Instant Pot

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