Eastern North Carolina pulled pork is vinegar-based with a bit of kick. This is our favorite recipe – made ready for the Instant Pot!
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 coleslaw 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 barb-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 of different sauces).
Anyways, I shared a few years ago an Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce recipe a while 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 a while, 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 coleslaw. 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)
- Cut pork into a few pieces so it fits nicely in the Instant Pot. You don't want any piece to be more than 2-3" thick.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute and heat oil.
- Sear the sides of the pork for a few minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Set aside ½ cup.
- Add remaining sauce to pork. Put lid on Instant Pot.
- Set for 90 minutes high manual pressure. Let pressure release naturally.
- Mix in reserved sauce.
- 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!
Other Posts You May Enjoy:
- Instant Pot Cornish Hen Recipe
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup
- Easy Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
This was fantastic and so quick and easy! The vinegar mix was spot on. I did add about a tablespoon of liquid smoke to give it a bit of that wood smoked flavor. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed it!
Misty Venne says
Jumping into the instant pot world & like you, my favorite kind of BBQ meat is vinegar based. I don’t care for all the heavy ketchup-y sauce. I’m almost certain I use this recipe in my crock pot for chicken breast & pork butt. So in looking for an instant pot alternative, I found yours! Made it last night. The consistency & everything was wonderful! I’m guessing all that pressure does something to the flavor of the vinegar base & that’s why you said to set 1/2 cup aside for after. Because I tasted before & after adding back in the 1/2 cup & there was a huge taste difference. SOOO glad you said to do that lol! I could have added even more back in the end but I wanted to get it served up. Lunch for today too 😉 thank you!!
Thank you so much for your positive review. I’m so glad you loved it!
How large of a piece of pork do you suggest using with this recipe and the stated cook time in the instant pot?
Between 3 and 4 lb, cut into pieces.
How long for manual release, just got done
I would do 10 minutes.
Instructions are not very clear. Mix remaining ingredients, set aside 1/2 cup is the first step; do you mean mix all ingredients and set aside 1/2 cup, not sure what “remaining” ingredients to mix since this was the first step? Also what do I do with the 1/2 cup set aside; instructions say to cook 90 min high pressure, then NPR, and then serve on buns but doesn’t say what to do with the reserved cup? TIA, can’t wait to try this.
So sorry, Jaimie! Just some mistyped instructions. I mean mix all the ingredients except for the pork, then side aside 1/2 cup. Add the 1/2 cup after you shred it – I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this.
You are very welcome1
If you were going to substitute scotts would you use that in place of just the vinegar’s that are used and do everything else as stated? We love scotts on pulled pork and just got an instapot and want to try this!
Cathy Fowler says
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!!
Oh this made my day! Thank you so much for your sharing!
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!
How would you suggest doing this in a crock pot? Looks delicious!
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.