Instant Pot Eastern Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork

Eastern North Carolina pulled pork is vinegar based with a bit of kick. This is our favorite recipe – made ready for the Instant Pot!

Eastern North Carolina Pulled Pork

Instant Pot BBQ

Before I met Forrest, I didn’t realize how many different definitions for the ideal pulled pork (or bar-b-cue sauce there were!

I grew up in Colorado, and pretty much anytime we had pulled pork, it would be slathered in a sweet and tangy red sauce.

So imagine my surprise when I was dating Forrest, and when he invited me to have some Eastern Carolina pulled pork.

I was not expecting a vinegar sauce that had no tomatoes anywhere near it! Let alone the expectation to top it with a cole slaw that was also vinegar based.

Fortunately, I realized pretty quickly how delicious it was, and I’ve loved it ever since. Now whenever people talk about bar-b-cue sauces, I always make sure to ask what region it’s from. Because it really does vary SO much (even in North Carolina there are a couple different sauces).

Anyways, I shared a few years ago a Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce recipe awhile ago. I usually make the pork in a slow cooker, but since I love my Instant Pot so much, I thought I should make an Instant Pot recipe. If you are in a hurry, there are vinegar based sauces (we like Scott’s), and you can just pour that over the pork before you cook it!

It turned out better than I expected – it tasted just like it had been slow cooked for hours. The beauty of a pressure cooker, right? With lots of summer parties coming up where pulled pork is often the centerpiece, I thought it was time that I finally share this recipe. I’ve been sitting on it for awhile, waiting for the right time to release it…and that time is now!

This is perfect for summertime (or anytime!)

Traditionally, you top this kind of pulled pork with a vinegar based slaw recipe. We always base ours off of this recipe – but instead of getting all the individual ingredients for the vegetables, we just buy a bag of cole slaw. It works great!

Instant Pot Eastern Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork


  • 1-2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 3-4 lb boneless pork butt (cut into 2” thick chunks)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco)


  1. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Set aside ½ cup.
  2. Turn Instant Pot to Saute setting. Once hot, add olive oil to the bottom. 
  3. Place pork pieces in the pot and sear on all sides for a couple of minutes. 
  4. Add remaining sauce to pork. Put lid on Instant Pot.
  5. Set for 90 minutes high manual pressure. Let pressure release naturally.
  6. Serve with cole slaw on a bun.


For the cole slaw, use a bag of cole slaw with the dressing recipe on this site. 

If you don't want to make the sauce and can find a high quality, vinegar based sauce in the store, you can use that instead and follow the rest of the instructions. We really like Scott's!

Pressure Cooker Pork / Instant Pot Pork / Instant Pot Pulled Pork / Eastern Carolina Pulled Pork / Vinegar Based Sauce / #instantpot #pulledpork #Pressurecooker

Pressure Cooker Pork / Instant Pot Pork / Instant Pot Pulled Pork / Eastern Carolina Pulled Pork / Vinegar Based Sauce / #instantpot #pulledpork #Pressurecooker


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  • This recipe is my favorite ever! Even better than my mom’s! The proportions of seasonings are spot-on making the pork moist and oh so flavorful. I had two pork butts so I was going to freeze one for later. Since this recipe was so quick and easy, I cooked them both, one right after the other. This is definitely a keeper! Oh and the reserved sauce is perfect for later!!
  • Fancy! Instant pots are the BOMB! We'll have to try this one out! My husband likes Texas barbecue since we lived there for a while, but he's always open to trying new kinds of barbecue!
    • Hi! We've done this a lot :) Pour about 3/4 of it on a large piece of uncooked pork roast (at least 3 pounds) and cook on low for about 7-8 hours. Shred and then pour the remaining sauce on top.

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