Kalua Pork

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  • Perfectly tender kalua pork with the best Hawaiian flavor. Takes only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep!

    Pork is the perfect type of meat to slow cook or pressure cook. It gets super tender and has tons of flavor. If I’m not making this kalua pork, then I’m usually making my sweet pork recipe or slow cooker carnitas. All are so delicious!

    kalua pork in a white bowl

    Slow cooker kalua pork

    Kalua pork (also called kalua pig or luau pork) is a staple weeknight dinner at our house. It takes only 3 ingredients to make and 5 minutes to prep. Plus it has amazing Hawaiian flavor and is incredibly tender. Doesn’t get easier than that!

    I’m always on the hunt for easy instant pot and slow cooker recipes, so this kalua pork is at the top of my list! It can be made both ways and turns out perfect every time.

    It also makes enough for my family to have 2 meals. The first night we usually serve it over rice with roasted vegetables. Then the second night we like to mix in some BBQ sauce and serve in a Hawaiian roll. It also makes a great freezer meal for busy weeknights!

    Only 3 ingredients!

    Pork shoulder: Make sure to buy pork shoulder butt roast. The butt roast is a bit fattier and is perfect for slow cooking/pressure cooking. It gets super tender and will basically fall apart when shredding.

    Liquid smoke: No need to wood smoke on the grill! Using liquid smoke is the perfect way to add a delicious smokey flavor without the work. :)

    Hawaiian sea salt: This is the traditional salt used for kalua pig. It has a red tint and is a bit saltier.

    raw pork in the instant pot with red Hawaiian salt on top

    How to make kalua pork

    What I love about this kalua pig is that you can make it in both the instant pot and slow cooker. Both ways taste amazing – so it really depends on preference. If you’re in a hurry, the instant pot method is quite a bit quicker.

    Instant pot kalua pork

    1. Wash pork. Wash pork and then pat dry.
    2. Cut and pierce. Cut into 4 chunks, pierce with a fork, then place in the instant pot.
    3. Add remaining ingredients. Add 1 cup water, then pour liquid smoke over the top and then sprinkle salt on top.
    4. Set to high pressure and cook. Place lid on top and set to high pressure. Cook for 60 minutes and then do a natural slow release for 25 minutes.

    Slow cooker kalua pork

    1. Wash pork. Wash pork and then pat dry.
    2. Place in crockpot and pierce. Place in the slow cooker and pierce pork several times.
    3. Add remaining ingredients. Add 1/2 cup water, then pour liquid smoke over the top and then sprinkle salt on top.
    4. Cook low and slow. Cook on low for 12-14 hours, or until it easily shreds.

    To shred:

    Remove pork from slow cooker or instant pot and shred with 2 forks. Remove an excess fat. Place back in the pot and let sit in the juices for 15 minutes, or until ready to serve. Serve over rice, in tortillas or a salad.

    kalua pork in the slow cooker with a wooden spoon

    What to serve with kalua pork?

    What I love about kalua pork is how versatile it is! There are plenty of ways to serve it that taste delicious. Check out our favorites below:

    Have leftover pork? Try making:

    • Tacos: Add kalua pork to corn or flour tortillas and top with red cabbage, pineapple salsa and jalapenos.
    • Sliders: Serve on Hawaiian rolls with BBQ sauce and coleslaw.
    • Nachos: Make nachos in a skillet or sheet pan by adding tortilla chips, kalua pig, cheese, guacamole, pico, jalapenos and cilantro.
    • Salad: Make a big salad with lettuce, pork, corn, avocado and pineapple.

    kalua pork slider on a Hawaiian roll with coleslaw

    It’s freezer-friendly!

    This kalua pork recipe makes a great freezer meal. To freeze, add pork to a zip top freezer bag (make sure all air is removed) and store in freezer for up to 3 months.

    Thaw in fridge overnight when ready to enjoy. I like to warm it up on skillet when reheating. It gets a little crispy and tastes delicious!

    More recipes with 5 ingredients or less:

    shredded kalua pork in a white bowl

    Kalua Pork Recipe

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: hawaiian pork, kalua pig, kalua pork
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour
    Resting Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
    Servings: 10
    Calories: 164
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    Perfectly tender kalua pork with the best Hawaiian flavor. Takes only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep! 

    Ingredients

    • 4-5 pound pork shoulder butt roast
    • 1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
    • 2 teaspoons Hawaiian sea salt

    Instructions

    • Wash pork and then pat dry. 
    • Slow cooker kalua pork: Place in the slow cooker. Pierce pork several times. Add 1/2 cup water. Pour liquid smoke over the top and then sprinkle salt on top. Cook on low for 12-14 hours, or until it easily shreds.
    • Instant pot kalua pork: Cut into 4 chunks, pierce with a fork, then place in the instant pot. Add 1 cup water. Pour liquid smoke over the top and then sprinkle salt on top. Place lid on top and set to high pressure. Cook for 60 minutes and then do a natural slow release for 25 minutes. 
    • Remove pork and shred with 2 forks. Remove an excess fat. Place back in the pot and let sit in the juices for 15 minutes, or until ready to serve. Serve over rice, in tortillas or a salad. 

    Notes

    • When cooking pork in the slow cooker, don't take the lid off before 12 hours. You need the steam to make it tender.
    • To freeze, add pork to a zip top freezer bag (make sure all air is removed) and store in freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in fridge overnight when ready to enjoy. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 164kcal | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 553mg | Potassium: 377mg | Vitamin A: 0.1% | Vitamin C: 1.1% | Calcium: 1.5% | Iron: 7.5%
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    shredded kalua pork in a white bowl

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