This EASY 3-ingredient Slow Cooker Kalua Pork recipe is a staple in my house! We make it at least once a month because it’s SO easy and it makes enough for several meals!
What is Kalua Pork?
Kalua Pig is popular Hawaiian dish served at luaus where a whole pig is smoked in a sand pit with sea salt, banana leaves and koa wood. This simple crock pot method mimics the smoked flavor of using natural liquid smoke and the results are an easy, mouth-watering, juicy pork recipe anyone can make at home.
What goes good with Kalua Pork?
Boiled cabbage and steamed rice would be the most traditional way to eat Kalua Pork, but we eat it it so many different ways. We love them in lettuce wraps with rice and hoisin sauce pictured above, over rice with hot sauce, as a great big salad (pictured below) and we even make pork tacos with corn tortillas and a simple slaw. For Keto and Whole30 diets, serve it over cauliflower rice, with cabbage or salad. Enjoy!
I used a lean boneless shoulder blade roast, trimmed of all fat and Hawaiian sea salt which I found at Trader Joe’s.
A pork loin roast would also work, although it’s a bit leaner and therefore drier. This slow cooks in your crock pot for about 12 to 16 hours so I often start mine at night and let it cook all night long.
And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!
Crock Pot Kalua Pork
- 2 to 3 lb trimmed pork shoulder blade roast
- 1 tbsp liquid mesquite smoke
- coarse red Hawaiian sea salt, any sea salt would work
- Place pork in the crock pot and stab it all over with the tip of a knife. Rub sea salt all over pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over and set crock pot to low; cook until the meat is tender, about 12 to 16 hours.
- Remove from crock pot and place on a large platter. Remove any fat you may have missed and shred pork with two forks. Discard liquid reserving a little as needed to keep pork moist.
332 comments on “Slow Cooker Kalua Pork”
I have, I also add 2 cans of chopped pineapple to it juice and all. Soooo good.
I have a 7 lb pork shoulder roast. How much liquid smoke should I add?
This was an excellent, easy recipe! In fact, it could scarcely be easier, and it’s also versatile. My only comment is to be careful not to oversalt it. I used the Hawaiian red salt rubbed on liberally – didn’t know how much I was supposed to used – and it came out saltier than we’d like, but still very edible. The shoulder can be fatty, and I did trim off the fact per instruction and glad I did.
There’s another recipe that I combine with this one and the recommended is to use ¾ teaspoon of medium-coarse salt for every 1 pound of meat. Hope that helps!
I’ve made this several times for my family and they love it!
This sounds amazing! Could you use chicken instead of pork?
Never tried honestly
I use this recipe but I also set a banana in its peel on top of the pork while cooking (I do it in the crockpot). The banana gives it that banana leaf flavor that you would get from a traditionally cooked kalua pig. Pull the banana out before shredding and enjoy!
Should I cut the string netting off before cooking? Thanks in advance
Super simple and quite delicious. While this was stewing, the entire apartment began to smell of a mesquite bbq. I served this over iceberg lettuce and fresh tomatoes, and my husband ate it as a sandwich using King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls.
How much sea salt would you suggest that I use for a 2.5lb. pork butt sized roast? Being from Hawaii, I am so excited about trying this recipe.
I have made this so many times over the years and each time I make it my family still gives rave reviews! This recipe is a keeper.
I was very skeptical about this recipe but pork is cheap so I gave it a shot. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. unbelievably delicious.
This was so easy and delicious! My daughter loved it and said it smelled great while cooking. We will make this again and again!
My family (and I) loved this! And it was soooooo easy
I don’t like the smoked taste. What else would be good as a replacement?
I’m cooking for two people. Can I use a smaller piece of meat, and if, would the cooking time change?
You can. Time should be the same. 🙂
We were finally able to find pork in our small, rural grocery store this week (a pork butt, not loin, but still happy to have it), so I made this today and it was sooo good. The whole house smelled delicious all day long, and at about 8.5 hours in the crockpot, it came out perfectly. I made the slaw and sauce from your cod taco recipe to serve with in, and just some rice to pad it out for my husband. A family favorite for sure!
I’m not sure if my slow cooker (have had both crockpot brand and currently have a different brand) always runs hot or what but after 10 years of making kalua pork and going up to 5 lbs if I cooked it more than 9 hours it gets dried out. Otherwise, liquid smoke, Hawaiian salt (really any salt other than table salt NEVER TABLE SALT) and pork butt (it’s actually the shoulder) and it’s fabulous. Thank you for teaching more people about an accessible way to make such a delicious dish. 🙂
can you use high setting for shorter time?
Winner Winner – Kalua pork dinner! First time making this and it for sure won’t be my last. I could not find Hawaiin salt so just used regular sea salt. I did cook a 3 lb shoulder blade pork roast for the full 16 hours. Was nervous about that but it worked! Can’t wait to make it again – thanks Gina for another great recipe!
So delicious! Used the leftovers the next night for pork tacos. Also delicious! Another skinny taste keeper!
Thank you for the recipe. Since I have a pork loin roast should I put some liquid in the crock pot or no?
This is one of my family’s favorites. Thank you so much! I just got an Instant Pot and I was wondering if this can be adapted to that.
Can I use pork tenderloin? Would I need to adjust cooking time?
This was delicious! I made it with hickory liquid smoke, as that is what I had on hand. I forgot to trim the fat on the pork before I cooked it, but it was fall apart delicious when it came out, and was easy to take the fat out of most of the dish. I served this with cilantro lime cauliflower rice and the Peruvian green sauce. My husband was so impressed and asked me to make this again! Thanks Gina!
Help… I wanna do a Turkey kalua in the crock pot. Much Mahalos
How much Hawaiian red salt for the 3 lb roast in the recipe???
You can easily use 2-3 tablespoons. We don’t even measure any more. Just use enough to moderately cover the whole piece of meat, like it saltier pack on a bit more. Don’t forget to knife some slits into the meat and rub some of the salt into the pork. Likewise, getting some liquid smoke into the meat adds more flavor as well. You’ll be amazed at home much liquid you end up from the pork’s own juices and fat. Having a liquid fat separator is helpful when you’re done. Happy Kalua Pigging!
Kalua pig should not be made with mesquite. Regular liquid smoke is best. It also doesn’t need to be in the crockpot that long. Also, it is cooked in an imu, which isn’t a sand pit. It is an underground “oven”. We do NOT use koa wood, we use kiawe. Please make sure you post accurate information concerning whichever culture you are referencing.
Hello! I absolutely love this recipe. We recently are watching our sodium intake and I noticed there is no sodium information on the nutritional information. Can you tell me how much sodium is in each serving? Thank you!
Yes thank you, I will add that. It is 65mg of sodium.
What kind of salad dressing do you use when putting this pork in salad?
I use my Peruvian Green Sauce! 🙂 https://www.skinnytaste.com/peruvian-green-sauce/