Instant Pot: Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches

My son's upcoming Cub Scouts banquet has me in preparation mode these days. I'm making a few side dishes, a dessert and also bringing a few two liters of drinks. While grocery shopping for things I need, I noticed root beer was on sale. There's something about root beer that's a little more special than the typical cola, lemon-lime or orange variety. Maybe it's the nostalgia or even the fact it's awesome poured over a mug of vanilla ice cream. But aside from it's obvious sweetness, root beer does well in savory applications too. For example, in these Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches, it's sweetness lends itself well with a homemade bbq sauce and tender, slow cooked pork. You'll be surprised how versatile root beer is after having one of these sandwiches!

When I saw root beer was on sale at the store, I immediately thought of making some root beer floats since we're going through a bit of an unseasonal heat wave for February. But to satisfy savory cravings, I used some rootbeer for this recipe. It's also a recipe that's perfect for the Instant Pot! So grab some root beer, pour some over a few scoops of ice cream, add some more to your Instant Pot with some pork and enjoy a no fuss meal...

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

1 (2 pound) pork butt or pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
BBQ sauce (recipe follows)
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
BBQ sauce:
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire suace
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Add the pork and rootbeer into the IP.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 60 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 60 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 60 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure.

When the display reflects 15 (which is 15 minutes since the IP has beeped), turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and transfer into a large bowl. Discard the remaining liquid in the IP and return the pork back to the now empty IP.

Whisk the BBQ sauce ingredients in a medium bowl; Add the BBQ sauce to the pork in the IP and shred as you toss to coat. Fill the hamburger buns with the pork and serve.


  1. This recipe is excellent. Kids will love it. Serve with a side of cold slaw and a dill pickle for each.

  2. Why put the cooked pork back in ip? Vs just leaving in a bowl and shredding and adding sauce? Does it need to cook more? Confused here

    1. You are welcome to leave the pork in the pot with the cooking liquid, however after adding the BBQ sauce ingredients, it may be too loose/liquidy and the flavor seems washed out (at least for me). Also, depending on the cut of pork used, fat is rendered while pressure cooking, resulting in fatty cooking liquid. I prefer to discard the liquid so the BBQ pork isn't too 'wet' or makes the buns too soggy.

    2. Additionally, when serving for a group, I prefer to return the pork in the IP to keep warm. You can remove from the IP, add the BBQ sauce separately.

  3. For a time saver I used about 1/2 tsp of granulated onion instead of grated onion.