This North Carolina-style Pulled Pork recipe can be made in your slow cooker, multicooker or pressure cooker, which, in our opinon, is much better than spending a full day hanging over a grill. C'mon, it's just too hot for that!
The moist heat of the multicooker effortlessly tenderized the boneless pork butt roast (often labeled Boston butt), which can be tough. The multicooker, however, couldn’t deliver a smoky flavor, so the recipe calls for adding liquid smoke to the braising liquid.
The pork was infused with classic barbecue flavors by rubbing it with a sweet and spicy dry rub made with brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. A simple homemade vinegar-based sauce served as the braising liquid, which had the added benefit of deepening the flavor of the sauce.
Don’t shred the meat too finely in step 3; it will break up more as the meat is combined with the sauce.
North Carolina-style Pulled Pork
Makes 8 servings.
Pressure cook total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Slow cook total time: 6 hours 45 minutes
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, plus extra as needed
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 (4 pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and quartered
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
½ cup water
½ cup ketchup
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
8 hamburger buns
1. Combine sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in bowl, then rub mixture evenly over pork. Combine ¾ cup vinegar, water, ketchup and liquid smoke in multicooker, then nestle pork into multicooker.
To pressure cook: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off multicooker and let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick-release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
To slow cook: Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until pork is tender and knife slips easily in and out of meat, 5 to 6 hours. (If using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function and increase cooking range to 9 to 10 hours.) Turn off multicooker and carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
2. Transfer pork to large bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces, discarding any excess fat.
3. Let braising liquid settle, then skim excess fat from surface using large spoon. Using highest sauté or browning function, cook liquid until reduced to about 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and season with salt, pepper, extra sugar, and extra vinegar to taste. Stir 1 cup sauce into shredded pork, then add extra sauce to taste.
4. Serve shredded pork on buns. Pass remaining sauce separately.