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Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

14 Reviews

Kalua pork is so tender, juicy and flavorful, and it is made with just 4 ingredients in the slow cooker. Oh my deliciousness!!

We had neighbors in Vancouver, where I grew up, that were Hawaiian, or Samoan, actually I can’t remember, but either way, they would have the whole neighborhood over and cook a giant pig in the ground.

It. Was. Delicious.

I’ve never had so much good food before, but the Hawaiian pulled pork was for sure my favorite. It was so tender, juicy and flavorful and they really didn’t season it much at all. At least not the way we think of seasoning things, which as Americans tends to be loads of seasoning, sauce, ingredients etc. Theirs was so simple and oh so delicious. So I created my own, in a slow cooker.

This pork really is wonderful and it happens to be one of the many recipes that I’ve made/tried with no intention of photographing it or using it on the site, and then it turned out so wonderful that I knew I had no choice but to make a whole new pork roast. Needless to say, we ate a lot of pork for two weeks. It was fantasterific.

a photo of a rectangular wooden platter full of kalua pulled pork, herbed rice, tropical fruit salad and golden Hawaiian rolls.

Or at least our little C. thought so. She’s obsessed with pork. It’s her ultimate favorite food next to pancakes with the absolute best homemade syrup ever and strawberries, oh and garden fresh peas. I love that she loves the peas. Phew!

It’s perfect for these killer nachos with pina colada sauce the next day, or pulled pork sliders. It also goes really well with coconut rice.

a photo of a tender pork roast starting to be shredded in a white baking dish.

What Ingredients are in Kalua Pork?

As promised…only 4 ingredients needed:

  1. Pork butt/shoulder
  2. Liquid Smoke
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Pink Hawaiian Salt

That’s it! So simple. All the measurements can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

What is Pink Hawaiian Salt?

Hawaiian pink salt is sea salt from Hawaii. It gets its pink color from Hawaiian red clay. The red clay gives a subtle flavor to the sea salt.

So, this pork really just has four ingredients, but the star or key ingredient is the pink Hawaiian salt. It’s actually not as hard as you would think to find. Multiple stores around here carry it, and we usually buy ours at Harmons

a photo of a rectangular wooden platter full of kalua pulled pork, herbed rice, tropical fruit salad and golden Hawaiian rolls.

How to Make Kalua Pork

Slow Cooker Method

Basically you stab the pork (I know, gettin’ a lil’ crazy), rub both sides with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Let the whole thing slow cook on low for 8 hours. I’m serious, don’t try to rush this. Shred after 7 hours and then place back in the slow cooker and cook for the remaining hour. That’s it. It’s amazing.

Oven Method

Prepare the pork butt the same way by stabbing it and rubbing with olive oil and then salt. Place in a baking dish and then cooking in a preheated oven fat side up for 12-15 hours. You want an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 1 hour and then shred it.

Smoker Method

Same prep as the other two methods and then place in a smoker set to 225 degrees. You’ll want to place it fat side up. Add a pan of water to the side of the pork or underneath the rack to help the pork keep its moisture.

a perfectly roasted whole pork butt in a white baking dish sitting into its juices ready to be shredded

How Long Will Pulled Pork Keep?

Leftover home-made pulled pork will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

It should be covered or placed in an airtight storage bag.

Can You Freeze Kalua Pork?

You can freeze pulled pork to be used at a later time.

Wrap well in plastic and foil, or place in a heavy duty freezer bag and freeze.

Pulled pork will keep for 6-8 months in the freezer.

a photo of tender, juicy kalua pulled pork on a wooden serving platter

What to Eat with Kalua Pork

I’m going to link you to exactly what you see in these photos because it is really the perfect spread!

And our macaroni salad is not in the photos, but it is perfect with this pork as well!

 

Sometimes it is best to just let the ingredients speak for themselves. That’s why this kalua pork recipe only has 4 ingredients. We let that pork sing on its own! You’re going to love the flavor and how easy it is to make!

More Pork Recipes to Die for:

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a photo of a rectangular wooden platter full of kalua pulled pork, herbed rice, tropical fruit salad and golden Hawaiian rolls.

Kalua Pulled Pork

4.15 from 14 votes
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 2 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Kalua pulled pork is so tender, juicy and flavorful, and it is made with just 4 ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Boneless Pork butt/shoulder bone in will require additional cooking time, up to 1 hour
  • 1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Pink Himalayan Salt

Instructions

Slow Cooker Method

  • Stab the pork on all sides a few times, 3-4 is good, and massage in the olive oil.
  • Sprinkle each side with salt and place in a slow cooker with the liquid smoke for 8-10 hours, remove from the slow cooker and shred using two forks, place back in the slow cooker for 1 additional hour and enjoy.

Oven Method or Smoker method

  • Place the oven on 225 and prepare as normal.
  • Place the pork in a roasting pan and bake, fat side up for 12-15 hours. If in the smoker add a pan of water off to the side or under the rack to help retain moisture.
  • Remove from oven to rest for 1 hour and then shred.

Notes

If you cannot find pink hawaiian salt you may substitute another salt but the flavor will not be as authentic.
Pulled pork will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator
Nutrition Facts
Kalua Pulled Pork
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 330 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 136mg45%
Sodium 2479mg108%
Potassium 769mg22%
Protein 42g84%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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a photo of a rectangular wooden platter full of kalua pulled pork, herbed rice, tropical fruit salad and golden Hawaiian rolls.

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating




54 comments

  • Can this pork be cooked in a pressure cooker…I have an Instapot. It would need some liquad…any idea of what and how much? Thanks!!!!

    • Reply
  • Would have to make this in the oven as I don’t have a pressure cooker or slow cooker, what temp/time do you think would work?

    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, I would do 250 degrees. 🙂 And just do the same amount of time. Most important is to have a lid or foil over the meat. 🙂

      • Reply
  • sounded all wonderful until you mentioned olive oil is that because its in the slow cooker? cause polys (hawns, samoans, tongan, fijian etc) no use olive oil for traditional cooking, there usually is enough oil from the pork fat. which is were the flavor comes from. and there are 2 kinds of hawn salt one is pink which is a little stronger and the other one looks like rock salt. which is the one i mostly use cause that is what my tutu’s used. it is best cooked in the ground but one doesn’t always have all the necessary items needed to imu da pig living in the mainland now, especially the lava rocks, i usually pressure cook it now and it only takes 1 and a half hours and turns out yummilicious but need one more ingredient cause its not in the ground with the fire, which has already been mentioned in other replys. and i do use water in the pressure cooker cause it would burn if you don’t. my family loves when i make Kalua Pig, especially with the poi on da side. people call it kalua pork on the mainland cause i was told they don’t like to think about actually eating a pig. but in hawaii it is called kalua pig. i hope someday your able to visit the islands and sample da flavas.

    • Reply
    • Hi Laurie,
      Our goal is to come to the islands one day, hopefully soon!! Our neighbor cooked kalua pig in the ground every year for our neighborhood growing up. It was amazing!! Unfortunately many pork roasts aren’t as high quality and don’t have the fat needed for a moist pork dinner so the olive oil helps solve that problem. 🙂

      • Reply
  • Cooking this now. I was wondering what type of sauce, if any, did you serve with this?

    • Reply
    • Hi Denise,
      We don’t usually serve it with any sauce, just yummy rice or macaroni salad as a side. 🙂

      • Reply
  • Making this now. Did you serve a sauce with this?

    • Reply
  • I know you said the recipe serves 6, but roughly how many cups of meat does it make? I’m doing a variety of dishes for 60 people. Also, does this freeze well, and if so, for how long?

    thanks in advance

    • Reply
    • Jennifer, I’m so sorry but I’ve never measured it in actual cups. I would guess but I would hate to be wrong. I’ve frozen the meat a few times, but anything over a week we didn’t enjoy much.

      • Reply
  • Hi there, I have the same question as Jody J. Here in Australia we get Himalayan pink salt but not Hawaiian. Are they the same? I’m really keen to make this as the shredded beef is so delicious. I love that you have recipes with so few ingredients!

    • Reply
    • Yep! Basically the same thing. I am so glad you like the simple recipes. I always wonder if it’s just me!

      • Reply
  • I made this today, and the meat was so incredibly tender! It was also extremely salty. We used red alaea salt. Should I have dumped out the liquid when I shredded the pork before adding it back in? I wonder if that would’ve helped. I’m definitely making this again and will try halving the salt.

    • Reply
    • I’ve found that the red salt totally leaves it saltier. Don’t dump out the liquid, just half the salt. I’m so glad you tried it though!

      • Reply
      • Can you use sea salt and get the same flavor or is the pink salt that much better?

      • the pink salt really is much better, but I’ve use sea salt when desperate.

  • When you cooked it for 8 hours was that on low? Would it be possible for me to cook it on high? Or would that not work out as well?

    • Reply
  • I think my hubby would LOVE me for this one. So simple! I’m reading through the comments and I’m with you on the liquid smoke, it’s never appealed to me for some reason. I am going to look for that salt!

    • Reply
  • Yes, I know the stuff is strong. I have seen recipes where after the kalua pig is cooked where they add a bit of water (just moisten) and then shred. Maybe you can add a drop or two of liquid smoke (as in an eye dropper) to a bit of water. At least you would have control on how much went in. Before I forget I’ve also done these recipe with a turkey hindquarter in a crockpot. It’s does wonders to the dark meat of a turkey.

    • Reply
  • Is pink hawaiian salt the same as hymalayan pink salt? That’s the only pink salt I see at Harmons.

    • Reply
  • There is nothing better than pulled pork in my opinion, especially Hawaiian 🙂

    • Reply
  • Aloha Sweet Basil, here in Hawaii a popular plate lunch item is Kalua pig and cabbage. Just chop up some cabbage about 1 inch size and cook in a skillet (not to brown just soften a bit) add your pork ( 1lb apx) and cook till everything is hot. Serve over hot short grain white rice (none of that fancy jasmine long grain stuff). the juices flavor the rice and it transports you to the Islands! Also Sams Club here sells a 3 1lb package, that I freeze for later last minute meals. And yes I fully agree that liquid smoke is de rigueur here!

    • Reply
    • gah! I’m kicking myself that everyone looooves the liquid smoke. I struggle since it’s so strong, but I totally need to experiment now!

      • Reply
  • My hubby would be all over this!!! We will definitely have to try this sometime!!

    • Reply
  • Oh my, this looks good and I bet it smells good too!

    • Reply
  • I have to try this! I always use so much liquid, but I love the idea of just some olive oil and salt. Beautiful 🙂

    • Reply
    • I seriously gave up on liquid. My meat just never turns out right. I think someone needs to teach me that way.

      • Reply
  • looks great! i’m from hawaii and i love kalua pork (what we call this hawaiian pulled pork) but i would agree with a couple of the commenters above – no need for the olive oil and some liquid smoke makes a big difference to mimic the smokey flavor you would get from cooking the kalua pork in an imu. here’s a recipe i use to make kalua pork – http://heymikiheymiki.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/crockpot-kalua-pork/ aloha!

    • Reply
    • That’s a great idea to add a little liquid smoke. I cannot wait to try that! Our pork is always quite lean since we buy it locally so maybe that’s why we need the olive oil, plus I like how moist it stays. I wish we could go out to Hawaii and really learn about the culture and food! It’s soooo good!

      • Reply
  • I love, love how easy this is!!

    • Reply
  • Obsessed!! Love the flavors here 🙂

    • Reply
    • Thanks, Kiran! We are too!

      • Reply
  • I’m obsessed with pork too. It’s a good thing to be obsessed with!

    • Reply
    • seriously! Me too. It’s just so delicious!!!

      • Reply
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE! I’m doing pulled pork week on blog this week. Don’t you just love how you can get so many meals out of one cut of meat? Loving the ‘Couve shout out too! 😉

    • Reply
    • ohhhh, I cannot wait to see everything! ANd yes, I love the possibilities!

      • Reply
  • Sooo making this for dinner some time this week! I love pulled pork!

    • Reply
    • yay!! I hope you do! It’s so easy and lovely. Nothing over the top, just juicy meat.

      • Reply
  • I adore pulled pork! This look so good and I need to get my hands on that salt!

    • Reply
    • oh gosh, best salt ever next to Real salt. Have you had that?

      • Reply
  • I love making Hawaiian pork using liquid smoke. Of course, the best is fresh from the pit in Hawaii. 😉

    • Reply
    • I’ve never used liquid smoke. I totally need to try that!

      • Reply
  • Oh yummy!!! Love pulled pork!!!

    • Reply
  • I want this in my face! Carrian, you are amazeballs! Love this!

    • Reply
    • especially using leftovers for nachos. MMMMM Nachos

      • Reply
  • One of my neighbors does a pig roast every year…

    it’s amazing!

    • Reply
    • you’re so lucky!! I want to come!

      • Reply
  • I was literally just mulling over doing a luau this summer! Of course, the pork is the absolute most important part. This looks tasty!

    • Reply
    • booyah! Now you can!

      • Reply
  • This is a family favorite at our house too.

    • Reply
    • oh man, don’t tell me you make it in 5 min in the pressure cooker! JEALOUS!!

      • Reply
  • I grew up in Hawaii! And just had kalua pork last night actually. My step dad and “da boys” often cook in an imu (which is the underground youre talking about) when theres a large party. You’re right, there are not a lot of ingredients, just salt and the hot rocks and banana leaves help steam and cook the pork for hours. Because the pork is so fatty, you dont really need olive oil, just the coarse Hawaiian salt. I hope you visit the islands one day…it’s really a beautiful culture!

    • Reply
  • LOVE THIS!! I just did Hawaiian yesterday. You and I are always on the same page! This looks awesome!

    • Reply
    • We should be neighbors and pass food back and forth since we are always so in line 🙂

      • Reply

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