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Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Firecracker Sauce

Firecracker Pulled Pork (Instant Pot & Stovetop)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Smoky, sweet, salty and a little spicy, this Instant Pot pulled pork is bursting with flavor like a firecracker.  You can make it using your pressure cooker or in the oven/ on the stovetop.



2lb, 900 g pork meat (diced should or leg, we used 6 pork steaks)

For the pulled pork rub

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes (or chopped tinned chipotle)

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

For the broth 

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 onion, cut into wedges

45 garlic cloves, roughly sliced

2 bay leaves

For firecracker sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes 

1 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons maple syrup 

To finish: 1-2 tablespoons barbecue sauce of choice, chopped scallions or cilantro.

Instant Pot model used: 6-quart, Dual. Suitable for 8-quart, add a little more chicken stock as the surface is large. 


  • Sprinkle the spice rub over the pork and rub into the meat with your hands. 
  • Add a cup of chicken stock, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to the inner pot. 
  • Add 1 sliced onion, 4-5 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves and add the spiced pork meat. Mix through with the broth using your hands, making sure the garlic and onion get in between meat pieces evenly. 
  • Pop the lid on, lock and make sure the top valve is set to Sealing. Press Manual/Pressure Cook, HIGH pressure and adjust the time to 40 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and the timer will begin. 
  • Once cooked, allow 5-10 minutes for natural release and then use quick release (move the top valve to Venting) to let off the remaining pressure and steam. You can also do quick release right away if you can’t wait.
  • Remove the pork onto a cutting board or into an oven-proof dish. Pour the remaining liquid to a bowl for now. Shred the meat with a fork. You can finish the pork in the oven or the Instant Pot. 
  • Instant Pot. Add shredded meat to the pot and pour in the firecracker sauce. Set to Saute and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes, to heat up and caramelise the sauce slightly. You can add a splash or two of the cooking broth as well. Transfer to a platter and use right away or cool and store for later.  
  • Finish in the oven: Preheat the oven to 425 F / 220 C (you can do this while shredding the meat or waiting for natural release). Transfer the shredded meat to an oven-proof dish or a tray. Spread the sauce over the top and mix through. Pop in the hot oven for 10 minutes until the top has browned. 
  • Brush a little more BBQ sauce over the top for extra shine and even more flavor. 


Coleslaw for pulled pork: We made a super simple coleslaw using 1/4 red cabbage, thinly shredded + 1 grated carrot, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt, and a little salt and pepper. You can also add a little mustard.

Stovetop method: Repeat the first couple of steps and once the pork meat is mixed with the broth, pop the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmering and cook for 2-2.5 hours, until the pork is tender enough for shredding. Check after 2 hours and keep cooking longer if needed. Then repeat the shredding and mixing of the sauce steps from above.

Oven-method:  As above, mix the meat with the broth in a deep oven-proof dish or a Dutch oven. Cover the dish with foil or lid and place in a hot 480 F / 250 C (or the hottest your oven gets) for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 355 F/180 C and cook under foil for 2-2.5 hours. Check the pork after this time to see if it’s tender. If not, cook for 30 more minutes or so. This will depend on the size of the pork cuts. Then repeat the shredding and mixing of the sauce steps from above.

Use this pulled pork in tacos, sliders or sandwiches, with rice or beans, enchiladas, quesadillas, salads and so on. 


  • Serving Size: 5 oz of meat
  • Calories: 418
  • Sugar: 10.6 g
  • Sodium: 941.3 mg
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 37.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 128.1 mg