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Instant Pot Pulled Pork (Barbacoa Inspired)

Istant Pot Pulled Pork (Barbacoa Inspired Recipe)

One of my favourite recipes to make in an Instant Pot is pulled pork. It’s fuss-free and I can make a big batch of moist, shredded meat in one go and use it up in multiple meals. In today’s recipe, I want to share my Instant Pot pulled pork inspired by the flavours of barbacoa meat recipes.

Barbacoa actually refers to a method of slow-cooking meat such as beef, pork or lamb over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with special maguey leaves. These days, barbacoa meat is often steamed until tender or slow-cooked in a crock pot or over a barbecue. Barbacoa is often associated with Mexican and Caribbean cuisines, and to me, it’s more about the flavours and spices used than the cooking method itself.

Istant Pot Pulled Pork (Barbacoa Inspired Recipe)

This barbacoa pulled pork is juicy, tender and full of gorgeous flavours. I love to serve it on a bed of white rice with a side of salad and guacamole or hot salsa. You can use this pulled pork in tacos, nachos, with fried plantains or sweet potatoes, as a topping over baked jacket potatoes, or as a protein on top of a salad.

You can freeze pulled pork to use up later on or refrigerate it for up to 3 days. This recipe is paleo, gluten-free and Whole30 friendly (omit the honey).

Istant Pot Pulled Pork (Barbacoa Inspired Recipe)

Before you get cooking

Pork: I like using the shoulder or leg of the pork for pulled pork. I generally buy diced pork shoulder or pork steaks and then cut them into smaller pieces. You can use pork, beef or lamb for this recipe.

Chipotle chili: I used chipotle chili flakes, which add smokey flavour and a little heat to the dish without making it too spicy.You can use a whole dried chipotle chili or tinned chipotle chili. Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of regular chili or cayenne pepper.

Making instant pot pulled pork - ingredients

Barbacoa Pulle Pork - Instant Pot Recipe

Barbacoa Inspired Pulled Pork – Instant Pot Recipe

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Entrée
  • Method: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Barbacoa is a method of slow-cooking meat such as beef, pork or lamb over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with special maguey leaves. These days, barbacoa meat is often steamed until tender or slow-cooked in a crock pot or over a barbecue.




  1. Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add coconut oil and once hot, add the onion and cooke for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add the pork, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and spices, stir and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button.
  3. Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual (High Pressure) and adjust to 20 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
  4. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 3-4 minutes and then use the quick release method before opening the lid.
  5. Using a potato masher, press down the meat and flake it into shreds. You could do this with a fork, but I find that the masher works really well. Press Sauté key again and cook the shredded meat in its broth for 7-8 minutes, stirring a few times. This will evaporate some of the liquid and thicken the sauce.
  6. Serve the pork with extra lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

Keywords: Barbacoa Pulled Pork shredded tacos burritos rice spices traditional fire hole ground shoulder

Share this recipe for pulled pork on Pinterest from here!

Barbacoa Pulled Pork - Instant Pot Recipe


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  • Reply
    March 19, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    What is a brown onion?

    • Reply
      March 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      A spanish onion – a yellow or white onion will work just fine.

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  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I’m excited to try this!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      Our pleasure, let us know how you go.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I am a busy work from home mom who hasn’t been able to cook dinner in the last three nights bc work is taking over my life. I pulled out some pork stew chunks I had last night and made it this morning using this recipe. I didn’t have lime so i used lemon, also didnt have chipotle chili flakes, but i did have a few chipotle chilli powder blends, so i mixed those in instead. My house smells delicious and it taste AMAZING. We will eat it over whote rice or in tortillas. Wonderful, easy recipe.

    • Reply
      January 21, 2019 at 7:01 am

      Thank you! Happy you enjoyed this recipe.

  • Reply
    Lance K. Mertz
    October 5, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I did a few things differently. I have several large Ancho style dried peppers on hand, so I soaked one in hot water then blended it into a broth and added enough water to make a cup, then added chicken better than bullion to that. I also put in 1 1/2 tsp chipotle ground pepper. That was the spice element. The rest I pretty much followed the recipe, I think I had less meat. It turned out tender and perfect for a soft taco. Great recipe.

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