No Sauce Pulled Pork in a Pressure Cooker

How to Make Pulled Pork without Barbecue Sauce.  Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork is ready in a fraction of the time!

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.

Pasta Fork for Shredding Pulled Pork
Yes, it’s for pasta, but it’s also PERFECT for shredding pulled pork!

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.

No Sauce Pulled Pork in a Pressure Cooker

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.

Another Pressure Cooker Time Saver

While Pulled Pork is awesome, do you feel the same way about brisket? I apply the same technique to beef brisket to cut hours of time out of the cooking process – and still get an amazing result.

Pressure Cooker Beef BrisketPressure Cooker Beef Brisket
Rack of Texas Two Step RibsTexas Two Step BBQ Ribs
(Low Sodium Rib Rub Recipe)

If you make this pulled pork, please come back and let us know how it turned out!

5 from 6 votes
No Sauce Pulled Pork in a Pressure Cooker
No Sauce Pulled Pork in the Pressure Cooker
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

Make amazing pulled pork that doesn’t need sauce in your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Author: Tony Bailey
  • 4 Pounds Pork Shoulder
Pulled Pork Dry Rub
  • 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
Cooking Liquid
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Tablespoon Pulled Pork Dry Rub
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  1. Mix all of the dry rub ingredients together in a food processor and run for about 30 seconds.  (You’ll have some leftover)

  2. 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

  3. Whisk together all of the cooking liquid ingredients into your Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot and bring it to a low boil

  4. Carefully add all of the pork and ensure that it is mostly submerged.

  5. Seal the vessel, raise the temperature and pressure cook for 50 minutes.

  6. After releasing, scoop out the pork into a bowl, leaving the cooking liquid behind.  Use two large forks to pull the pork

Make this awesome Pulled Pork in your Pressure Cooker (or Instant Pot) in under an hour!  And no sauce is needed!!!  It's that good.


  1. I can’t wait to try this out.
    BBQ sauce from the store just has so much sugar, this will be great

  2. Loving the dry rub, looks amazing!

  3. Heather Reid

    This has become my go-to pulled pork recipe and I think you should market the rub. 🙂 Thanks Tony!

  4. Loved the recipe but I cut the salt in half and put in one tablespoon. I thought it was a little too salty still! Are you sure this is a low sodium recipe?

    • Hi Kris – So glad to hear that you like the recipe. After looking it back over, I agree that the sodium could be cut back. I usually don’t use all of the rub, so that may be part of it. Next time I make this I’ll look at reducing the sodium and updating.

  5. My husband and I are addicted to this recipe. We have used this in omelets, quesadillas, etc. You’re a life saver!!!! I did cut down on the salt a bit but otherwise followed the recipe exactly!

  6. like others have said, this is the bomb!!! my kids and my husband love it, we make it all the time. thanks for sharing it!

  7. I have a 2 lb pork roast. Should I cut the cooking time in half?

    • Tony Bailey

      Hi Jaime – Yes, about in half. Depending on your PC, anywhere from 10-15 minutes/pound is the rule of thumb. For a smaller roast, I’d lean on the higher end and go for about 25 minutes. Hope it turns out great!

  8. This is still as amazing as it was the first time I made it. ?

  9. Can I used pork tenderloin instead of shoulder? Any adjustments? That’s what I have on hand.

    • Hi Krista – Because pork tenderloin is a very lean cut with very little fat or connective tissue, it’s not going to “fall apart” and shred up the same way as a pork shoulder. I would recommend a different preparation all together specific to a tenderloin as you’re likely to be disappointed if you use this recipe.

  10. We’re made this several times now and think it’s great! Without the sauce we can use the meat in different dishes. I had made it with frozen boneless country style ribs and had a lot of liquid left. Could I use the left over liquid like a stock to make other dishes, such as lentils or rice? Would be a shame to let all the flavor go to waste.

  11. Great recipe! Nice to allow everyone at the table a choice of their own BBQ sauce!

  12. I’ve made this and it was great. I cut back on the brown sugar a little, but otherwise it was fantastic. Hubby liked it too! Great for leftovers with anything from BBQ to Mexican to Hawaiian! Versatile recipe.

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