Sweet, tangy, spicy, this recipe uses lean pork tenderloin, an easy spice rub and an exquisite BBQ sauce to make the most incredible Instant Pot pulled pork sandwiches. This is the kind of recipe that turns heads and has everyone’s attention. It’s THAT good!
If ever there was a recipe that’s perfect for the Instant Pot, it’s pulled pork. Normally done in large smokers with a full day’s cooking times, getting good pulled pork can be time consuming, space consuming, and a big endeavor. Slow cooking pulled pork is an option of course, but with the Instant Pot, we can have the whole thing done in less than 90 minutes! Yep, a feast like his can actually be done in an under an hour and a half with our nifty little electric pressure cooker.
Go Lean with Pork Tenderloin
Pulled pork is commonly done with large cuts of pork shoulder/butt, which are large in size and contains lots of fat. Pork tenderloin, on the other hand, is a very lean and tender cut of pork. It’s also much smaller in size. The average pork tenderloin is usually about 1.25 lbs. in size. Often times, pork tenderloin is sold in packages of two and can be as inexpensive as 10 bucks.
Start with a Simple Rub
Our drool worthy pulled pork will start with some robust flavors to rub directly onto the meat. This includes chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper and a little cayenne. Cut each pork tenderloin into 3 pieces. In a large bowl, mix all the rub ingredients together, then add the meat and get it all good and coated with the spice mix. You can even let the meat sit in a plastic zip-top bag with the spice rub overnight for an extra notch of amazing. But don’t worry if you don’t want to wait overnight, our pulled pork will still be drool worthy.
The Sauce… Oh the SAUCE
Our pork will cook in a combination of the spice rub and ginger ale. This alone would be enough for an excellent pulled pork. But, we’re taking this recipe to the next level with the most amazing sweet, tangy and spicy BBQ sauce. Don’t worry, it’s not too hot at all. Rather, it’s a carnival of flavors that will make every bite one to savor and remember. In fact, this recipe will make plenty of sauce for the sandwiches, but I often recommend doubling the sauce. I like to have these sandwiches smothered and dripping in sauce. Be sure to keep plenty of napkins on hand! The sauce is actually a combination of some pretty standard ingredients – ketchup, Heinz 57 sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, dijon mustard, brown sugar, honey, sriracha and apple cider vinegar. When all mixed together, this magical potion takes everything to the next level.
Pressure Cook for 45 Minutes
We’ve made our rub, we’ve made our sauce, now it’s time for the instant Pot do do it’s magic. Add a can of ginger ale to the pot and mix in a little apple cider vinegar and ⅓ cup of the BBQ sauce. Mix it well. Place the seasoned pork tenderloin pieces directly into the liquid. Secure the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. When the pressure cook time is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
Time to Mix it all Together
Remove pork to a plate and set aside. Remove 1 cup of the liquid and discard the rest. Place pork back into the Instantpot and shred with 2 forks. Add about ½ cup of the liquid and about ½ the BBQ sauce. You can add remaining liquid as desired. Serve on brioche buns with BBQ sauce. Add some sliced pickles and/or jalapeno slices for additional amazingness.
Heather’s Drool Worthy Instant Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8 servings
Sweet, tangy, spicy, this recipe uses lean pork tenderloin, an easy spice rub and an exquisite BBQ sauce to make the most incredible Instant Pot pulled pork sandwiches.
- 2 pork tenderloins (2-3lbs. total)
- 1.5 cups (12oz) ginger ale
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- 1.5 tbs chili powder
- 1.5 tbs paprika
- 1 tbs cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 1 cup ketchup
- 4 tbs brown sugar
- 4 tbs honey
- ½ cup Heinz 57 sauce
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs dijon mustard
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1–2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Cut pork tenderloins into 3 pieces each.
- In a large bowl, mix all the BBQ rub spices and add the pork. Coat well.
- In a medium bowl, add BBQ sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
- Add ginger ale to Instant Pot, mix in 2 tbs apple cider vinegar and ⅓ cup of the BBQ sauce. Mix well. Place pork directly into liquid.
- Secure lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, quick release the remaining pressure.
- When pin drops, carefully remove the lid. Remove pork to a plate and set aside. Remove 1 cup of the liquid and discard the rest. Place pork back into pot and shred with 2 forks. Add ½ cup of the liquid and about ½ the BBQ sauce. Add remaining liquid as desired.
- Serve pulled pork on fresh brioche buns with additional BBQ sauce as desired.
Recipe developed by: Heather Wright
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 45 min (+10min NPR)
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Really good!! Tangy and Juicy! I did halve the recipe since serving a smaller family & also used a bit less of the hotter spices (cayenne, black pepper, sriracha). My parents loved it! I was a bit worried about using pork tenderloin since some other websites that had Instant Pot pulled pork recipes recommended other cuts of pork over tenderloin; But the tenderloin from Costco worked great – very tender, shredded easily, moist. (and a very affordable cut of meat!) This recipe is definitely a keeper!!
I have made this recipe 3times!!! We love it!!!