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3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

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Aloha my friends! I’m so excited to be sharing one of Hawaii’s most beloved dishes with you today – kalua pork made simple and delicious in the slow cooker. As soon as the intoxicatingly smoky, garlicky, and salty aroma hits your nose, you’ll be transported right to the islands with just one whiff. And when you take a bite of the insanely tender and succulent meat that has soaked up all those wonderful flavors, get ready for your tastebuds to do the hula dance!

Though traditional kalua pork is roasted for hours in an underground fire pit called an imu, my version captures that same essence of the islands in half the time. With just a few ingredients, you’ll have the ultimate porky treat to pile high on coconut rice, slider buns, or eat straight out of the bowl with your fingers. Aloha spirit guaranteed after one mouthwatering bite – no grass skirt required!

So let’s get started on recreating that Hawaiian magic right in your kitchen. I can’t wait for the sweet, smoky pork deliciousness to begin!

Let’s start with the FAQs:

What cut of pork works best?

The best cut of pork to use for this slow cooker kalua pork is a Boston butt roast or pork shoulder roast that’s about 3-4 pounds. These cuts come from the shoulder area and have more fat marbling throughout which keeps the meat moist and tender during the long cooking time. The fat renders out, bastes the meat, and adds flavor. Leaner cuts like pork loin would dry out.

Do I need to add liquid to the slow cooker?

No additional liquid is needed. There is enough fat within the Boston butt or pork shoulder itself that will render out during cooking, creating plenty of moisture. Adding another cup of liquid could make the pork mushy and less flavorful.

What makes it taste so Hawaiian?

The keys to infusing this pork with a true Hawaiian kalua flavor are the liquid smoke and sea salt. Liquid smoke provides that smoky, charred flavor you would get from cooking in an underground oven or “imu”. Using natural Hawaiian sea salt, like Alaea red salt, also mimics the traditional preparation.

Now, let’s get cooking! For this simple preparation, you’ll need:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours on LOW
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes


  • 1 (3-4 pound) Boston butt pork roast
  • 1⁄4 cup liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Hawaiian sea salt


  1. Start by poking holes all over the pork shoulder with a fork. This helps the flavors permeate the meat.
  2. Rub the liquid smoke all over the pork until it’s completely coated. I like wearing gloves for easy application.
  3. Sprinkle the Hawaiian sea salt evenly over the pork. Massage it in slightly.
  4. Place the seasoned pork in your slow cooker. No need to add any liquid!
  5. Cover and cook for 8 hours on the LOW setting. The meat should be very tender and shred easily with a fork.
  6. Shred the pork with two forks, adding some of the rendered cooking liquid to moisten as needed.

Cooking Tips

  • For added flavor, rub 1 teaspoon of brown sugar into the pork along with salt and liquid smoke.
  • Skip the liquid smoke and use 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth with a few dashes of smoked paprika.
  • Not using right away? Let cool slightly and store pork and juices in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • How to serve: Pile pork on rolls for sliders, tacos, nachos, rice bowls, or eat as-is for a taste of the islands!

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