Make absolutely perfect, fall-apart tender Boston Butt in your Instant Pot! BBQ pulled pork has never been faster or more delicious when you cook it using this method.
Why We Love It
Boston Butt (also known as Pork Butt) is the ideal choice to make perfect BBQ pulled pork. And when you cook it in your Instant Pot, dinner is done quickly and perfectly, every single time.
This recipe is totally fool proof and always a crowd pleaser. Make it for an easy weeknight dinner, for game day, or
- Boston Butt, also known as Pork Butt.
- BBQ Sauce
- Water. The Instant Pot needs to create steam to build pressure, so you’ll need to add some liquid to the inner pot.
- Oil. This is used for browning the meat.
Best Cut for Pulled Pork
Boston Butt, also known as Pork Butt, is the best cut of meat for making pulled pork.
It has a large fat cap, plenty of marbling, and tough muscle fibers. When cooked under pressure in the Instant Pot, the fat renders and the meat becomes ultra tender and flavorful, even moreso than pork shoulder.
It’s also great when cooked on low heat slowly, in a slow cooker or dutch oven.
Boston Butt is also a budget friendly choice! It’s significantly less expensive than other cuts and feeds a crowd.
And despite its misleading name, a pork butt actually comes from the upper shoulder of the animal! I get pretty much all my pork products from Porter Road.
First, do the prep work.
Slice the onion, mince the garlic, and cut the pork butt into four 2-3 inch wide pieces, weighing approximately 1 lb each. Cutting it allows the pork to cook evenly and a little faster than if you were cooking one large piece.
Step 1: Brown the meat.
Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat half of the oil in the inner pot. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot, add the pork pieces and brown on all sides. This takes about 4-5 minutes per side. Set the pork aside.
Step 2: Deglaze and saute onions.
Add the rest of the oil and saute the onions and garlic until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Step 3: Add the pork and bbq sauce.
Return the pork to the inner pot. Add the water and half of the bbq sauce. Carefully close and secure the lid.
Step 4: Cook the pork.
Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 70 minutes. Allow for a Natural Pressure Release and allow the pressure to naturally dissipate. Once the steam release valve falls, carefully open the lid.
Step 5: Shred the pork.
Transfer the cooked pork to a large bowl or cutting board. Use two forks to shred it into bite sized pieces. Set aside any large pieces of fat.
Step 6: Simmer together.
Remove and discard about 1/2 of the liquid remaining in the Instant Pot. Add the shredded pork to the remaining cooking liquid, and stir in the rest of the bbq sauce. Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and bring the pork to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
It is possible to overcook the pork, so don’t let it simmer for much longer than that. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Slow Cooker Adaptation
Boston Butt is absolutely delicious when cooked in your slow cooker! To make it in the slow cooker:
Add all the cooking ingredients except water to your slow cooker. Set to low heat and cook for 8-9 hours. Shred the pork and return it to the slow cooker. Stir in the remaining bbq sauce and cover the slow cooker. Simmer the shredded pork for another 15-20 minutes.
FAQ & Tips
A 4 lb. pork butt that’s been cut into pieces 2-3 inches wide and approximately 1 pound each should cook on High Pressure for 60 minutes. Once it’s done cooking, allow 15-20 minutes for a natural pressure release.
Important: The Instant Pot cooks based on the density of the pieces of food in the inner pot. So if your roast is larger or smaller, as long as you cut it into pieces approximately 1 lb. each, you do not need to adjust the cooking time at all. However, if you cook your roast whole or cut it into larger or smaller pieces, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Cooked pulled pork freezes beautifully. To freeze, allow the meat to cool completely. Transfer the meat and liquid to an airtight, freezer-safe bag or container. Squeeze all the air out, then seal the bag. Set it in the freezer. For best taste, use the pork within 3-4 months, per USDA. To defrost, set the bag or container on a plate in the refrigerator overnight.
👉 Be sure to use my freezer inventory chart to keep track of your frozen pork and other freezer contents!
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container or bag. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, per USDA.
To get the most tender meat, use a natural pressure release (NPR) on your Instant Pot. This means that once the cooking time is done, do not turn or press the steam release valve. Simply do nothing and wait for the pressure to naturally dissipate. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
If you still find your pulled pork is cooked but not yet fork-tender, it will need to cook for longer. Return the pork to the Instant Pot, close the lid, and cook on High Pressure for another 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally dissipate again (NPR), and then try to shred the pork again.
Pulled pork is great with traditional bbq side dishes. Some of my favorites are:
➡️ Broccoli & Bacon Salad
➡️ Purple Cabbage Slaw
➡️ Pickled Cabbage
➡️ Broccoli Ranch Slaw
➡️ Sweet Potatoes
➡️ French Fries
They’re also great with pickles, potato salad, cornbread, rolls, and corn on the cobb!
More Instant Pot Dinners
Making this recipe? I’d love to hear about your experience with it!
Please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom.
Instant Pot Boston Butt
- 4 – 4.25 lb. boston butt (also known as pork butt)
- 2 cups bbq sauce divided
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Slice the onion, mince the garlic, and cut the pork butt into four 2-3 inch wide pieces, weighing approximately 1 lb. each.
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Heat half of the oil in the inner pot. In batches, brown the pork pieces on all sides. This takes about 4-5 minutes per side. Set the pork aside.
- Add the rest of the oil and saute the onions and garlic until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Return the pork to the inner pot. Add the water and half of the bbq sauce. Carefully close and secure the lid.
- Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 70 minutes. Allow for a Natural Pressure Release and allow the pressure to naturally dissipate. Once the steam release valve falls, carefully open the lid.
- Transfer the cooked pork to a large bowl or cutting board. Use two forks to shred it into bite sized pieces. Set aside any large pieces of fat.
- Remove and discard about 1/2 of the liquid remaining in the Instant Pot. Add the shredded pork to the remaining cooking liquid, and stir in the rest of the bbq sauce. Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and bring the pork to a simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.Serve immediately.