Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce (Paleo + AIP)

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As I type this, I am looking at our grill. Ours is an old fashioned grill, one that needs wood and plenty of coaxing and time to get ready. And that is just how my husband likes it. When we first bought our house, I cringed at the sight of it: the rust streaking across its lid and underbelly; the deteriorating wooden handle. At the time, inexperience and naivete made me believe I somehow had the right to own “new”. If something was old, my motto was, “replace”. Thankfully, Mike (and our financial circumstances), have helped me see otherwise. I’ve come to appreciate – even strive for – continuing to work with something many might consider “disposable”. We live in a country where too many of us have this “toss it” mentality. Our grill may be old, but she still makes a mean BBQ. Just not in 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Irony alert: this recipe is (mostly) about speed. It isn’t made on a grill, 20-year old or otherwise. (Though it could be!) It comes together with a handful of ingredients and everyone’s beloved Instant Pot . But let’s be honest: isn’t there room in our lives for both? Convenience has its place, but so too does slow. Perhaps, that is even the very thing that makes living today so exciting. We can actually have both.

IP Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

But let’s talk this recipe! Hands down, my favorite part is the sauce. This sauce is magic, friends. Everyone who ate this, even the SADers among us, were mucho impressed. And of course, Mike and Corrina, who collectively represent my litmus test, gave it two very enthusiastic thumbs up. (Incidentally, Corrina has been going through a phase where she uses her thumbs to indicate everything – good, bad or mediocre. That bok choy? Began as “meh” but quickly was given a hearty “thumbs down”. This Blueberry BBQ sauce? Ding ding ding – two thumbs pointed up, along with a thrilled smile.

IP Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

She loves blueberries, and she loves shredded meat of all varieties. So it was a no-brainer for her, really.

For me, finding a BBQ sauce that’s homemade that I love is HUGE. I used to adore BBQ sauce before switching to AIP, but for a while, I felt finding an alternative would be impossible. Enter KC Natural Cherry BBQ Sauce. I felt I had found heaven! But sometimes, one still craves homemade. Especially where BBQ, such a deep-rooted American tradition, is concerned. And so I set out to create a homemade sauce featuring blueberries, one that would be equal parts sweet, tangy and smoky, with just an ever-so-subtle spice. I knew of other BBQ recipes that used carrots to add bulk and thickness, but they just didn’t seem like quite enough. Then, sweet potatoes came to mind. They work beautifully here – lending the right amount of thickness, a subtle sweetness… plus, the flavor of sweet potato does not come through. A truly delicious discovery!

IP Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ sauce

If you don’t own liquid smoke, I highly getting your hands on a bottle. You’ll want one made with just the smoke captured from woods like hickory and water, without any additives. It adds the perfect smoky flavor. If you have smoked sea salt you can use that but I can’t vouch for total “smoky flavor” success, as I have not tried it myself.

This will be perfect for those days you don’t feel like firing up the grill. It also will be enough to feed a family, with plenty of leftovers. The way I’ve written the recipe, you can start the sauce and, about midway through while it’s cooking, get the pork going. By all means, make the sauce can ahead, or do the same with the pulled pork, make it ahead, freeze it, make the sauce at a later time…it’s easy that way (and incidentally that’s another big plus to the IP! Convenience)!

Enjoy this Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce!! Perfect for Memorial Day, parties, or just a weeknight dinner! I even plan on sending my daughter to school with it, because I know she’ll enjoy.

What You Need to Make this Recipe:

  • Instant Pot : you will likely discover this kitchen tool will become your BFF in the bone-broth-making and meat-making departments. I use it at LEAST once a week. In the summer, plenty more! I have the 6 quart and love it, although I would like eventually to get a second, larger size, great for when we have larger gatherings!
  • Sea salt: I use this Real Salt brand every. single. day. Mama loves her trace minerals!!
  • Liquid smoke: use it to give instant BBQ to your meats or sauces!!
  • Immersion blender: if you don’t own one, you want to! It is ideal for pureeing sauces, soups, blending beverages and more, all without having to transfer hot liquids to a separate blender! I use this daily!

If you make this, don’t forget to #letscreatethesweetlife. It brings me complete joy to watch others enjoy these recipes!

Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Blueberry BBQ Sauce

If you are making this recipe for same day, I suggest beginning the BBQ sauce and following the directions below for beginning the pork (about midway through the cooking process). Of course, if you are doing it all ahead of time, you can make the sauce first (it keeps very well for about a week in the fridge, longer if frozen). 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 cups (roughly)
Author Alyssa Reaves

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces sweet potato
  • 1 Tablespoon solid cooking fat
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Instructions

  1. Bring medium pot of water to boil. While water is heating, roughly chop the sweet potato and then cook until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes.

  2. While sweet potato is cooking, roughly chop onion, garlic and carrots. 

  3. In a separate pot, heat fat up over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and carrots and cook another few minutes. Drain sweet potato and add to pot, along with remaining ingredients.

  4. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes. 

  5. If making pork, remove from fridge, dry with paper towels and make spice mixture described below. Allow to sit while you finish the BBQ sauce.

  6. After roughly 10 minutes, puree using either a blender or an immersion blender (highly recommended here)

Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

This juice and tender pulled pork comes together with just a few steps and the Instant Pot! Perfect for feeding a party, friends, or for a BBQ family night. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Author Alyssa Reaves

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 pound pork shoulder roast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon solid cooking fat
  • 1 cup bone broth or filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Instructions

  1. Cut roast into 3 smaller pieces.  Plug in Instant Pot and set to "saute"

  2. Mix sea salt, garlic and onion powders together. Spread liberally all over the pieces of pork.

  3. Put fat in Instant Pot and sear one piece of pork at a time, removing to side while searing remaining pieces. When done, put all pieces in Instant Pot and add 1 cup broth or water. Add liquid smoke.

  4. Put lid into "locked" position and set to pressure cook on High. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. You can either let it depressurize naturally or, if you are in a hurry like I was, do it manually.  

  5. Remove pork to large bowl and shred using two forks. Pour liquid over to keep pork moist. 

Recipe Notes

NOTE: If you are making this to serve on the same day, I suggest starting the Blueberry BBQ sauce first, and make the pork when the sauce is about midway through, during the cooking stage. If you have more time, you can either make the sauce ahead of the pork, or vice versa. 

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