Pressure cooker pork shoulder with Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce gives you the same fall-apart tender result as the slow cooker in a fraction of the time!
I’ve written about my grandmother on here quite a few times. Honestly, no one – not even my mom – had more culinary influence on me than her. One of my most prized possessions is her set of recipe books, filled with magazine clippings and recipe cards. Granddaughter gold, that is.
One of my most vivid memories from my grandmother’s kitchen is her pressure cooker. It was totally old-school, with a little round thing that sat on top of the pressure valve. I remember it hissing and shimmying around and having no idea what was going on in that pot. All I remember was the goodness that came out of it. As much as I love my beef stew, I will never replicate the amazing beef stew that she cooked up in that pressure cooker. It was a fixture in her kitchen. I don’t remember her ever using a slow cooker – I don’t even think she owned a slow cooker – but I sure do remember that pressure cooker!
I have owned a pressure cooker for a long time, but I’ve only used my traditional pressure cooker a handful of times. First off, it’s too big (I really had no idea what I was doing when I bought it). Second of all…it always just sort of freaked me out. You know, all that hot food under pressure. It’s a little scary. When I got my Instant Pot (<–affiliate link) at Christmas, I vowed to get over my fear of the pressure cooker. For some reason, an electric pressure cooker seemed a little less scary. I think I have conquered my fears.
I don’t think that I trusted that pressure cooker pork shoulder would be as perfectly tender as slow cooker pork shoulder. Silly me. I based this recipe on one that I found in the book Pressure Cooker Perfection from America’s Test Kitchen. I coated the pork shoulder with a sweet and slightly spicy rub, set it in a mixture I whisked up of Dr. Pepper and ketchup, lidded up, and set the pressure. I then headed downstairs to work out while the magic happened in my Instant Pot. An hour and fifteen minutes later (that includes time to pressurize, cook time, and time to de-pressurize), I had a perfectly tender pork shoulder (okay, not perfectly tender – I realized after cooking it that I really should have cut it into four smaller pieces. But it was definitely cooked through, and the surface areas were perfectly tender, so if you cut it, it would definitely be completely tender). While I was resting and shredding the pork, I simmered the sauce to thicken it.
Pressure cooker pork shoulder eliminates the need to think about what you’re going to put in your slow cooker in the morning. I’m definitely not abandoning my love for my slow cooker, but sometimes at 7:15 in the morning I don’t want to think about dinner. Plus, there are some things that you can do in a pressure cooker that aren’t quite as easy in the slow cooker…I’ll share some of those with you coming up. However, if you wanted to make this in the slow cooker, you totally can – just put it in the slow cooker, cook on low for 8-10 hours, then simmer the sauce on the stove while you shred the meat.
Pressure cooker pork shoulder with Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce will make you fall in love with pressure cooking!
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the cost to you. For more information, please see my disclosures. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Yield: 10-12 servings
This recipe is adapted from the book Pressure Cooker Perfection from America's Test Kitchen.
20 minPrep Time:
1 hr, 25 Cook Time:
1 hr, 45 Total Time:
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3-4 pound pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces and trimmed of visible fat.
- 1/2 cup Dr. Pepper
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- salt and pepper, to taste
- hamburger buns, for serving (optional)
- coleslaw, for serving (optional)
- In a small bowl, stir together the rub ingredients. Coat the pieces of the pork shoulder with the rub.
- In your pressure cooker, whisk together the Dr. Pepper and ketchup. Set the pork shoulder into the pressure cooker. Cover and cook over high pressure for 45 minutes according to the manufacturer's directions for your pressure cooker.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes (if you are using an electric pressure cooker, turn it off or unplug it so that it won't switch to "warm", which could cause your pork to overcook. If the pressure cooker has not completely depressurized after 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the meat from the pressure cooker to a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook until thickened (you can do this right in your pressure cooker, just don't put the lid on). Add the liquid smoke and salt and pepper to taste.
- Shred the pork and return it to the sauce, tossing to coat. Serve on buns with coleslaw, if desired.
Cook time includes time to pressurize and depressurize the pressure cooker and make the sauce. Prep time includes time to shred the meat.