These Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches feature tender pulled pork in a sweet root beer–barbecue sauce. When you cook it in the pressure cooker, you get slow-cooked taste in a fraction of the time! This recipe makes a big batch, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd or for a family dinner with leftovers in mind!
Pulled pork is one of my favorite restaurant meals! Until I started pressure cooking, however, I rarely cooked it at home because of the long cook time. I hated having my house smell like dinner at 10 in the morning. However, with this pressure cooker version, you get the great taste of the original, but reduce the cook time from 11 hours to just 50 minutes.
You’ll enjoy the tender, juicy meat with sweet BBQ flavors. It’s an easy win for dinner, and its perfect for a crowd.
This is one of those meals my boys always want me to have on-hand. I like to freeze it individual portions, so I can have an easy lunch on hand or can heat up a few for a quick dinner.
Making Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches in an Instant Pot
This recipe was originally adapted from the Recipe Girl Cookbook‘s slow cooker recipe. This cookbook features wonderful recipes perfect for every day and special occasions. (I first had Lori’s Snickerdoodle Blondies at the Big Traveling Potluck, and they’re a fixture at our house.)
The original recipe calls for onion soup mix, but I prefer to make my own dry onion soup mix substitute. However, you can absolutely substitute a packet of onion soup mix for the seasonings, then salt and pepper to taste.
Cooking Large Cuts of Meat in Your Pressure Cooker
In this recipe, I cut the pork shoulder into four 1 pound pieces. Dividing the meat helps it cook quickly and more evenly in the pressure cooker.
When pressure cooking, remember the size and thickness of the meat matters more than the amount of meat in your cooking pot. Whether you’re cooking 2 pounds or 6 pounds of pork, as long as they’re all about the same size and thickness, there’s no need to adjust the cook time.
Use an instant-read thermometer to verify your pork is at least 205°F in the thickest part after cooking.
Why Add Root Beer to the Pulled Pork?
First, do you call it “soda” or “pop” or “coke”? Regardless of what you call it, sodas are a must-add ingredient in slow cooker dinners. The acid in the soda helps tenderize the meat and adds a sweetness to the finished meal.
From what I can tell researching the recipe, root beer is originally a Southern addition to traditional pulled pork that’s now popular nationwide. (Some Southern restaurants are now branching out and adding it to ham and cheese sandwiches!)
It doesn’t mater what brand of root beer you use, so just use your favorite since you’ll have leftovers to drink. Regardless of the brand, if you’re a sweet BBQ sauce fan, you’ll love this!
Update: We alternate back and forth between this recipe and my Easy Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork recipe, depending on the ingredients we have on hand. This recipe is so easy to make and comes together with very little prep work. I wanted to make a quick video to walk you through the process!
- 1 5- to 6-pound pork butt/shoulder roast
- 1/4 cup dried minced onion
- 2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup root beer
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
- 10 regular-size hamburger buns
Trim the pork roast of excess fat, getting rid of large, visible slabs. Place the roast on a work surface and cut in to four crosswise pieces.
In a small bowl, combine dried minced onion, beef bouillon granules, onion powder, parsley flakes, celery salt, paprika, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands to rub the spice mixture into the meat on all sides. Place roast in the pressure cooking pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the root beer and 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Pour over the roast in the pressure cooking pot.
Select High Pressure and set the cook time for 50 minutes. When the timer sounds, turn off the pressure cooker and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Finish with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Carefully remove the meat from the pressure cooker to a large platter and shred with two forks. Discard excess fat as you shredded. (You can also use your stand mixer to shredded the pork.)
Skim fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. (I used a fat separator to separate the fat.) Select Saute and simmer cooking liquid to reduce to about 1/2 cup.
Place shredded pork in the cooking pot with remaining 1 cup barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Serve on toasted rolls with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
*If you wish, you can substitute the spices for one envelope (1 ounce) dried onion soup mix and salt and pepper to taste.