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Crazy Delicious Pulled BBQ Beef (Easy Instant Pot Recipe)

This scrumptious, fuss-free Crazy Delicious Pulled BBQ Beef Instant pot recipe is a crowd pleaser, perfect for everything from an easy family supper to a dinnertime gathering of friends. Tender shreds of beef coated in lip-smacking good, made-from-scratch BBQ sauce and piled high on toasted buns make for mealtime perfection. Grab an extra napkin or two and dig in!

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Pulled BBQ Beef piled on a bun

A Few Notes about the Ingredients for Pulled BBQ Beef

  • A note on the roast cut: Many people wonder what cut of meat is used for BBQ beef? This recipe was developed using a boneless chuck roast, but I’ve also made it with a bone-in arm roast. Just increase the cooking time by 15 minutes if your roast has a bone in it and be aware that you won’t get quite as much meat off the same poundage of roast. (For a super informative article on beef cuts, check out this article from Spruce Eats.)
  • A note on the beef broth: If you don’t have beef broth on hand, substitute 1 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon of beef or vegetable bouillon (Better than Bouillon is my personal favorite for depth of flavor).
  • A note on the pickle juice: pickle juice is the secret ingredient that makes this BBQ Beef amazing, but not all pickles (and pickle juices) are created equal. For best results, use the juice from the brand of dill pickles that you enjoy the most (I prefer Great Value Hamburger Dills for their yummy flavor and simpler ingredients).

How to Make Pulled BBQ Beef in the Instant Pot

Begin heating the Instant Pot (or another electric pressure cooker) using the sauté function. Add the oil and swirl with a turner spatula to cover the bottom of the pan, heating just until the oil shimmers. Add the roast and sear the meat on each side when the oil is hot (but not smoking!). Be careful as the oil may spatter a bit. Using a splatter guard is an excellent idea if you have one on hand.

Saute the roast in your instant pot

When the roast’s sides are nicely browned, remove the roast from the cooker and set it aside. Add the beef broth and pickle juice to the pot, bringing to a simmer as you deglaze the pot, scraping up all the tasty brown bits. Once the pan is deglazed, turn off the sauté function.

Crazy Delicious BBQ Beef requires that you deglaze the pot
Use the broth and pickle juice mixture to deglaze the pot

Return the meat to the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the roast with garlic powder, dried onions, and freshly ground black pepper. Using the pressure cook function, set the cooker to high pressure for one hour for a boneless roast or 1 hour and 15 minutes for a bone-in roast.

Meanwhile, while the roast is cooking, stir together the ingredients for the barbecue sauce. Set aside until ready to use.

All the ingredients for the BBQ sauce
The powerhouse ingredients for Crazy Good BBQ sauce

When the time is done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then press the release button to complete the pressure release. Remove the roast from the Instant Pot, and reserve the cooking liquid in a separate container.

As soon as the meat is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the meat, removing any extra fat. Once the meat is shredded, mix the BBQ sauce into the meat. Add some cooking liquid back in, a little at a time, until the meat reaches the juiciness you prefer. Return the beef to the pot and set the Instant Pot to the keep warm function.

Shred the meat
The meat is pulled, mixed with the BBQ sauce, and ready to eat!

Keep the BBQ beef warm in the cooker until ready to serve.

Serve shredded BBQ beef piled high on a toasted hamburger bun spread with mayonnaise, sliced dill pickles, and a slice of cheese. Add a handful of potato chips to your plate and a side of coleslaw for a complete All-American summertime meal!

You’ll also want to try Quick and Easy Creamy Chili

BBQ Beef piled high on a bun

FAQ about Crazy Delicious Pulled BBQ Beef

  • Do I really have to toast the buns? I’ll let you in on a little secret. Even though toasting the buns makes BBQ beef sandwiches even yummier, I usually can’t be bothered with that step. Do what suits your tastes and energy level!
  • What goes good with BBQ beef sandwiches? We love to eat these sandwiches with a little mayo, cheese, and pickles on the bun, and a serving of potato chips on the side.
  • I’m not in the mood for sandwiches – What else goes with pulled beef? Shredded BBQ beef is fantastic served with rice, as a side with salad, or dolloped over polenta and topped with a sprinkling of sharp cheddar cheese (our family’s favorite!).
  • Can I freeze Instant Pot BBQ Beef? Yes! This meat freezes wonderfully! I usually serve this for a meal for our family of six and have enough left over for another meal. I stick it in the freezer for a super quick and easy supper meal on a busy weeknight. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Yikes! My roast is not shredding easily! No worries: it probably just needs a bit more cooking time. Return the roast to the Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for another 15 minutes. Cooking time can be affected by whether or not your roast was completely thawed before cooking, whether there was a bone in or not, and how large it is.
  • I’ve got a favorite BBQ sauce in a bottle…can I use that instead of making my sauce? Absolutely! I’ve been known to do that myself when I’ve got bottled BBQ sauce on hand!
  • I need to serve a crowd – can I increase this recipe? Yes – as long as you have plenty of room in your pressure cooker. I have a six-quart Instant Pot, and I have successfully cooked two 3 lb. bone-in arm roasts at the same time. You can increase the liquid by up to half if desired (i.e., 1 ½ cups of broth instead of one).
  • I’ve got all this delicious broth left over – what can I do with it? I love to freeze any of this amazingly delightful broth in quart jars (make sure to leave plenty of headspace for expansion). Then the next time I make soup, I add it in, and voila! Instant incredible flavor!
Pulled BBQ Beef piled on a bun

Crazy Delicious Pulled BBQ Beef

Cara
This scrumptious, fuss-free BBQ beef recipe is a crowd pleaser, perfect for everything from an easy family supper to a dinnertime gathering of friends. Tender bits of beef coated in lip-smacking good, made-from-scratch BBQ sauce and piled high on toasted buns is mealtime perfection. Grab an extra napkin or two and dig in!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 10 half cup servings

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3 lb. arm or chuck roast boneless or bone-in, see note
  • 2-3 TBLS oil
  • 1 cup beef broth see note
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice see note
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated onion
  • Freshly ground black pepper

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce optional
  • 10 hamburger buns toasted if desired
  • Sliced pickles
  • Sliced cheese

Instructions
 

  • Begin heating the Instant Pot (or another electric pressure cooker) using the sauté function. Add the oil and swirl with a turner spatula to cover the bottom of the pan, heating just until the oil shimmers. Add the roast and sear the meat on each side when the oil is hot (but not smoking!). Be careful as the oil may spatter a bit. Using a splatter guard is an excellent idea if you have one on hand.
  • When the roast’s sides are nicely browned, remove the roast from the cooker and set it aside. Add the beef broth and pickle juice to the pot, bringing to a simmer as you deglaze the pot, scraping up all the tasty brown bits. Once the pan is deglazed, turn off the sauté function.
  • Return the meat to the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the roast with garlic powder, dried onions, and freshly ground black pepper. Using the pressure cook function, set the cooker to high pressure for one hour for a boneless roast or 1 hour and 15 minutes for a bone-in roast.
  • When the time is done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, and then press the release button to complete the pressure release. Remove the roast from the Instant Pot, and reserve the cooking liquid in a separate container. As soon as the meat is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the meat, removing any extra fat. Return the beef to the pot and set the Instant Pot to the keep warm function.
  • Meanwhile, while the roast is cooking, stir together the ingredients for the barbecue sauce. Once the meat is shredded, mix the sauce into the meat. Add some cooking liquid back in, a little at a time, until the meat reaches the juiciness you prefer.
  • Keep the BBQ beef warm in the cooker until ready to serve.
  • Serve shredded BBQ beef piled high on a toasted hamburger bun spread with mayonnaise, sliced dill pickles, and a slice of cheese. Add a handful of potato chips to your plate and a side of coleslaw for a complete All-American summertime meal!

Notes

  • A note on the roast cut: This recipe was developed using a boneless chuck roast, but I’ve also made it with a bone-in arm roast. Just increase the cooking time by 15 minutes if your roast has a bone in it and be aware that you won’t get quite as much meat off the same poundage of roast.
  • A note on the beef broth: If you don’t have beef broth on hand, substitute 1 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon of beef or vegetable bouillon (Better than Bouillon is my personal favorite for depth of flavor).
  • A note on the pickle juice: not all pickles (and pickle juices) are created equal. For best results, use the juice from the brand of dill pickles that you enjoy the most (I prefer Great Value Hamburger Dills for their yummy flavor and simpler ingredients).

If you make this this recipe and love it, please leave a rating and share it with a friend. Thank you!

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