Kalua Pork is a classic Hawaiian favorite, made easily in your slow cooker with just a few ingredients. Eat it on its own, or in sliders!
With only a few ingredients, this Kalua Pork is great for dinner or any BBQ! Serve it up with some Coleslaw, Broccoli Salad, or even Baked Potatoes and it will be a hit!
A Classic Hawaiian Delicacy
If you’ve ever visited the Hawaiian islands, you’ve probably tried Kalua Pig (Pork). It’s on almost every menu.
At counter service restaurants and food trucks, you can get Kalua Pork as part of the “Two Scoop Lunch Plate” with a scoop of rice and a scoop of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad on the side.
We think you’ll love this Kalua Pork recipe that literally takes minutes to prep and is so delicious!
It’s definitely an island classic and a recipe I wanted to make at home!
what is Kalua Pork?
At luaus and family gatherings in Hawaii, it’s quite popular to roast a whole pig in the ground. Yes, you read that right. An entire pig!
A hole is dug and the pig is rubbed all over with Hawaiian Sea Salt and placed in the hole. Kindling is added and lit on fire then insulated with leaves or branches, like banana leaves, ti leaves, and coconut palm fronds, and covered with dirt.
The pig cooks in the underground oven for most of the day – at least 8 hours. The result is a delicious, flavorful, tender Hawaiian Pork that everyone loves!
How to make Kalua Pork
Of course, you probably aren’t going to dig a pit in your backyard to roast your own pig. All you need to make this Hawaiian Dish is a slow cooker, some Hawaiian Sea Salt (or kosher salt if that’s what you’ve got), and some Liquid Smoke.
SEASON. Place pork roast fat side up in your slow cooker. Rub all over with Liquid Smoke and salt.
COOK. Cook on low for 9-10 hours (I like to let mine cook overnight). Shred meat in the slow cooker and serve hot.
use an instant pot
If you’re in a time crunch, your Instant Pot is a quicker option that yields the same result.
- Select sauté on the instapot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sear all sides of the pork roast.
- Turn the Instapot off. Remove the pork roast and add ½ c water and liquid smoke.
- Return the roast to the pot and add salt.
- Cover with the lid and select “manual”. Set the timer for 90 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to naturally release before removing the lid. This will take about 20 minutes.
What cut of Pork to use. Choose a pork roast with lots of marbling such as pork shoulder aka Boston butt or pork butt. I used bone-in, but you can use boneless if you prefer.
Cabbage. A traditional side that is served with Kalua Pork is cabbage. All you need is a head of cabbage and the juice from the slow cooker.
- Cut the cabbage into large chunks and add it to a saucepan.
- Pour 1-2 cups of the liquid that was produced when you cooked the pork over the cabbage.
- Add a lid and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the cabbage until it is soft.
Kalua pork vs shredded pork. These two dishes are both slow-cooked until the meat becomes tender enough to shred pork with a fork. Pulled pork is classically mixed with bbq sauce while Kalua Pork is served without sauce.
Using in other recipes. Enjoy Slow Cooker Kalua Pork recipe on its own, or put it inside Rolls to make sliders. You could also use it on Tacos, Nachos, and Quesadillas, or put it on top of a salad. It’s full of flavor and pretty versatile!
STORE. For optimal storage, keep the juices from the crock pot to use when storing leftovers. Put pork and some juice from the crock pot in an airtight container, if applicable freezer safe container.
Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
more delicious slow cooker meals:
- Slow Cooker Pork Chops
- Crock Pot Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Almond Chicken
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- Crock Pot Roast With Potatoes And Carrots
- Honey Glazed Ham
- Crock Pot Brown Sugar Ham
Kalua Pork Recipe
- 7 lb bone in pork butt or shoulder
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Place pork roast fat side up in your slow cooker. Rub all over with Liquid Smoke and salt. Cook on low for 9-10 hours (I like to let mine cook overnight). Shred meat in the slow cooker and serve hot.
It’s not authentic without the cabbage.
You can certainly add cabbage to the recipe if you like.
How long would you cook a 14.5 lb pork butt in a slow cooker? 16-20 hours on low?
This is by far the best Kalua Pork I’ve tried since leaving Hawaii!!
This will be my go to recipe this summer!
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