Sorry I don't have an actual pic of the pulled pork yet, but I will take one this evening.
I've always been apprehensive about making pulled pork. What if it doesn't come out tender enough? What if it doesn't have enough flavor? But not anymore. What has changed my pulled pork world? My pressure cooker. I've cooked pork shoulder in my Instapot 3 times- and it has been perfect every time.
I don't think there's any one right way to do this. You can adjust it to your tastes.
In my opinion, the secret to good pulled pork is the dry rub. There are tons of brands on the market, but I like to make my own. Here's my basic combination: brown sugar, granulated garlic, granulated onion, finely ground black pepper, salt, and smoky paprika. Amounts? Depends on how much butt you're rubbing and what flavor profile you like. I like more brown sugar and garlic.
However, for this party, I went a little crazy and cleaned out my spice pantry.
I order most of my dry spices from Penzey's. Every time I order, they always include little sample bottles of different spice blends for me to try. This is cool, but those little plastic jars pile up in my spice pantry- and I hate plastic. So I went on a rampage! Here's what I put in the rub I used this time: Turkish seasoning, Greek seasoning, Bangkok seasoning, brown sugar, granulated garlic, granulated onion, smoky paprika, salt, and black pepper. It made quite a bit of rub, but then, I cooked about 20 pounds of pig for this party, so I didn't have any left!
As for the actual cooking, it's almost too easy. I cut the pork shoulder into smaller chunks (because I can't overload my Instapot, I cooked the pork in 2 batches), rolled each chunk in the dry rub, then put it in the icebox for about an hour. Half an hour before I wanted to cook it, I took it out and put it on the counter.
I placed half the chunks in my Instapot, then poured in a root beer. I added a wee bit of water to make sure the liquid almost covered the meat. I closed the lid and set it to manual (pressure cook) for 75 minutes. It takes about 15 minutes for the temperature to build up before it seals and begins cooking, and it takes about 25 minutes after it cuts off for the temperature to come down and the pressure to drop.
When the alarm goes off after cooking (75 minutes), I turn off the pot and let it sit for 25 minutes. Then I release the pressure valve and open the cooker. The pork is soft and tender. I shredded it, put it in a foil pan, and poured the juice from the cooker over it. It is sitting, covered, in my icebox waiting for 25 people to show up tonight and devour it.